We don’t like to talk about it, but many women often compare themselves to other women. We don’t talk about it because we live with the fear of being judged, and the shame of knowing we should be happy for other women’s happiness. It makes sense, it’s hard to be honest about these internal experiences when the external world only shows the side of woman to woman relationships as women’s empowerment and sisterhood.
But if we’re being real with ourselves that’s only half the story. I want to talk about the other half.
Many of us are in self-denial about our actual feelings which makes us liars. We project happiness for other women’s success on the outside, but on the inside, another woman’s success feels like our failure.
We look at other women and wonder if we’re as pretty, successful, or good at life. This goes beyond looks – it’s about everything, like jobs, relationships, and even how they act around others. Sometimes, we even question our self-worth in a world that seems to prefer everyone to be the same. Let’s go down the list shall we?
Ways We Compare Ourselves To Other Women
We often find ourselves comparing our physical beauty, body shape, and style to models, actresses, fitness influencers, beauty influencers, etc. But it doesn’t stop there. We also engage in these comparisons with our loved ones, such as friends, family, and coworkers. This sets us up for a perpetual cycle of self-hatred. One moment we might feel more attractive than someone, and the next, we’re back to self-criticism. It’s an absurd pattern because the truth is we’re all meant to look different, and that uniqueness is what makes us beautiful.
It doesn’t stop at beauty. We also compare our career accomplishments, academic success, or creative endeavors. This can sometimes be a good thing. It can leave us inspired and drive us to strive for excellence. But there is a shadow side. It can also make us feel inadequate and like we’re failing. One thing I tell myself, that I heard a Tonal coach say is “ Don’t be intimidated, be inspired”, so when I start to feel intimidated or behind another woman in my journey, I choose to turn that intimidation into inspiration, and it fuels me to keep working hard towards my goals and dreams.
*Pro tip: The moment you feel intimidated by another woman’s success, immediately go work on your craft*
We often judge the quality of our relationships with friends, partners, and family by how they compare to our friends’ relationships. This can influence how we interact with the people we care about. But it’s important to realize that it’s ridiculous to compare our relationships because we can’t know everything about other people’s relationships, and what works for one might not work for us. Many of us waste time and energy pining for an illusion that wouldn’t make us happy in reality, and we suffer unnecessarily.
I’m a dog mom, and that’s likely the only kind of mom I’ll ever be. But I don’t have to be the mother of a human to know that NOT ONE mom out there is doing the job perfectly. That’s because it’s impossible to perfect anything. I know Moms compare their parenting skills, children’s milestones, or work-life balance with other mothers, but this only leads to feelings of inadequacy or overtly inflated pride. But the truth is, every family is different, and there’s no one right way to be a mom. What’s important is to love and care for your children.
Another aspect we like to compare is our lifestyles. This includes comparing material possessions and travel experiences. I’ve never been big on material possessions, but seeing everyone on my social media travel used to eat me up like I was an M&M starring in an M&M commercial.
*** Spoiler alert: the M&M’s always get eaten in those commercials.***
I was consumed by envy and discontent. I know I am not alone. Often times we look at other women’s lives and end up feeling like something is missing from our own. The pro tip I gave earlier is how I changed this reality. Now, I travel every month out of the year. So the lesson is, don’t waste time being envious of someone else’s life, instead use that energy to build one of your own.
Don’t waste time being envious of someone else’s life, instead use that energy to build one of your own.Arielle Davis
Social Media Comparison
The nature of social media can lead to unhealthy comparisons in terms of likes, followers, and the seemingly perfect lives of others. I know I struggled with this for two reasons. One, I wanted to know that my work was valuable, and two I wanted to know that all the hard work I was putting in was yielding results for my business like it “seemed” to be doing for others. But my followers were low, and my engagement was almost non-existent.
I thought people didn’t like my content. But then something happened. I started running into them in person, and they told me how much they loved my content even though they have never interacted with it. This taught me that your value and impact is not always visible, but it’s always there.
Personality and Behavior Comparison
We don’t talk enough about the comparisons of our personalities. Contrary to popular belief, comparison is not just about the way we look or what we have, but it’s also about the way we act and carry ourselves. For example our confidence, extroversion, or assertiveness can influence how women perceive their own personalities and whether they feel socially accepted.
Someone shy, introverted, and laid back might wish to be something else. But I would argue that subtle, soft spoken and slightly insecure women are just as compelling and intriguing as the fiery feisty ones. We don’t have to all be the same to see our value, we just have to accept that we already have value just the way we are; without changes.
This may be the most neglected on the list, but I’d argue it may be the most important because it’s so insidious. Comparing your level of self-worth, self-love, and self-acceptance can have a profound impact on one’s mental and emotional well-being. Nothing will make you feel more hopeless and like a failure than comparing your healing journey to someone else’s. Ever asked yourself why you’re the only one who just can’t seem to get their shit together?
That means you’re comparing your growth to someone else’s and trust me, it’s not worth it.
Your self love and personal growth experience is as unique as a fingerprint. Because it’s based on the wounds you’ve picked up, the harsh words you’ve said to yourself, and the ways in which you have been taught to hate and reject yourself. This part of the journey is not linear nor is it exactly like anyone else’s. So beating yourself up for not valuing yourself, loving yourself and accepting yourself based on another woman’s timeline is the worst form of comparison. Don’t do it. You deserve better.
Now that we’ve covered all the ways we compare ourselves, let’s work on shifting our perspective so we can reduce the practice of comparing ourselves to other women.
Shifting Your Perspective: How Women Can Stop Comparing Themselves to Other Women
We usually compare ourselves because at our core we think there’s not enough good things to go around – not enough beauty, success, love, or happiness. This way of thinking makes us feel like we’re not good enough and always missing something.
To change this, we need to start thinking differently. We have to choose to believe there’s plenty of good things for everyone, and success and happiness aren’t limited. Here’s how we can do that:
Start your day by thinking about the good things in your life. It could be a small success or a kind gesture from another woman. This helps you see that you have plenty of good things.
Set Realistic Goals
Make goals that you can actually achieve and that mean something to you. These goals should show your values and dreams. This way, you can measure how successful you are without comparing yourself to others.
Be Kind to Yourself
Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. If you catch yourself being hard on yourself or comparing yourself to others, try to be kind to yourself instead. You’ll definitely notice a positive change in your life by building self-compassion habits.
Find Supportive Friends or A Supportive Community
Be around women who make you feel good about yourself. Talking to friends and mentors can help you stop comparing yourself to others.
| Related: How to Ask For Help When You Need It
Your Path to Success and Happiness is YOURS
The key takeaway is that your path to happiness and success is unique, valid and most importantly YOURS. No one can take it away from you. Comparing ourselves to others only distracts us from our authentic journey. It’s crucial to understand that our worth is not defined by how we measure up to others but by how we honor our truth by having the courage to live as we are; imperfect.
It’s crucial to understand that our worth is not defined by how we measure up to others but by how we honor our truth by having the courage to live as we are; imperfect.Arielle Davis
As women, we have the capacity to uplift and inspire each other. By supporting one another, we can collectively break free from comparison and walk a path of authenticity and self-acceptance.
So let’s take this newfound perspective and celebrate the incredible women we are, appreciating that our unique qualities and imperfections are the very essence of what makes us remarkable. Together, we can build a world where women are honest about our internal struggles while empowering each other to be the best versions of themselves.
If you want to join a community of women who are doing this work, sign up for the waitlist for my next online course + international retreat cohort.