A Black Women’s Guide to Comparison

We all do it. Everyone is guilty of it, no matter how immune we think we are. It happens daily, subconsciously, and all too frequently. What is IT you may ask? Comparing yourself to others; specifically comparing yourself to other women.

Comparison can occur at any time. Church, grocery shopping, the freeway, during a meeting…24/7/365. However, it really rears its ugly head when we are scrolling through social media. We see another new engagement ring with #Isaidyes as the caption or photos from a perfectly planned Gender Reveal party. My personal “favorite” is a flooded Instastory from a college classmate I have not seen in about a decade and she is on ANOTHER fabulous vacation. As I said, we are all guilty of it so do not feel ashamed.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Frankly, he hit the nail on the head. Comparing yourself to others often robs you of a lot; mainly satisfaction with your other life. Now Auntie Iyanla (surname is Vanzant for those unfamiliar) takes it a step further and tells us “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” When we compare ourselves to others, we are both thieves and assailants. Who knew comparing ourselves to others could lead to a life of crime?

However, I am going to introduce what may be an unpopular opinion in the eyes of Teddy and our Auntie. Sometimes comparing yourself to others can be done in a healthy way. The emphasis is on sometimes. Spending too much time on social media is not good for your mental health. It can lead to things like “depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and isolation, and lower self-esteem.” I am not saying you should subject yourself to countless hours spent staring at photos and captions that make you feel less than. But the next time you feel a tinge of jealousy as you compare yourself to the Swimsuit Model/Olympic Athlete working out next to you at the gym, remember these tips for engaging in healthy comparison.

If you dare to compare, keep things in perspective!

I do not follow many celebrities on social media because their view of life is nothing like mine. Many of us cannot imagine the fabulousness that comes with incredible wealth and resources. Keep that in perspective when you scroll through your IG feed. Some lifestyles cannot be understood or attained and you have to remind yourself of that when you feel less than.

Compare your level of passion pursuit!

Instead of comparing yourself with people, compare your drive to theirs. Are you working towards your passions with all you’ve got no matter what others around you have? You may not have it all but you can give it your all as you strive to accomplish objectives. If you see another woman making incredible progress towards her own goal, give her kudos (with a compliment or double tap), then go back to focusing on your grind and pursue your passion!

It is ok to hit the “Unfollow” button!

A friend recently asked me if I follow Ayesha Curry on social media. My response was “I don’t follow people who make me feel like my life is not enough.” That statement is true for strangers, family, and everyone in between. I have nothing against Ayesha who is a wonderful wife, mother, entrepreneur and all around flawless black woman. I adore her, but when I saw her posts, I suddenly felt like my accomplishments were nothing in comparison. It was not productive so I hit “Unfollow.” She does not miss me and my self-esteem doesn’t miss her.

The only person you need to be better than is the “you” from yesterday!

Life is not a competition so do not spend time comparing your apples to someone else’s oranges. We are all unique so focus on making yourself better than you were before. Be the best you can be and turn on your blinders so you are not tempted to compare yourself to women around you.

Remember that social media is not a haven for black women as one study found that black & Latina women are the most abused groups on Twitter. Tell me why we should subject ourselves to an internal feeling of belittlement when the world is working against us already.

So let’s go back to quotes from the Roosevelt Family. Eleanor Roosevelt (Teddy’s niece) notably said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Sis, don’t ever give anyone permission to make you feel like you are less than incredible. They do not deserve the power and you do not deserve the self-doubt.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dana B. says:

    The Ayesha Curry comment hit me in my soul! I also think she’s fabulous, but that image is unattainable. Celebrities are endlessly coached on how to create an aura of perfection. No one knows what makes them cry themselves to sleep at night or what happens in their parent/teacher conferences or their relationship with their families. And sometimes, when I see a fabulous red carpet event I wonder how many of those women are suffering from menstrual cramps or sore feet from those stilettos. We’re all human after all. It’s best to concentrate on being the most fabulous version of ourselves.

  2. The C.E.O. says:

    Dana – I have never thought about the Red Carpet experience and how agonizing it can be for women! That is another great point to consider.

    But Amen to your perspective of being our most fabulous self!

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