Comparison and women - where do we fit?
It would be very interesting to zoom into women’s brains in the first milliseconds when they meet each other. Seemingly, two women meet with an openness, but at the same time numerous checks are taking place.
How does she look?
What kind of clothes does she wear?
What does her skin and body look and feel like?
Is she happier than me?
Why does her hair shine more than mine?
I wonder if she is in a relationship or single?
The list goes on and on... As we women know well! Let’s be honest, women, this is what's often going on underneath our skin, when we meet another woman or even a good friend!
But what happens first? Do we register something deeper when we meet another woman that we become immediately aware of and instead of connecting to that deeper sense, we tend to smuggle everything we feel through a filter of judgement, that then naturally leads to those constant and busy thoughts of comparison with the outside world?
Why do we lace ourselves in a straightjacket of judgement like this?
My experience and observation of myself and others in the past years has shown me how much we as women live in and define ourselves through comparison.
We can feel better about ourselves when another is not doing very well, or when another is in fact doing well in themselves we can be jealous or envious of that person. Women are not valuing the fact that we are role models to one another and instead of reducing ourselves to comparison because someone has something we want, whether that be contentment within themselves or looks or material things like family etc, we could actually be inspired by another and allow others to be inspired by our choices too.
I realised that, through the constant, automatic-comparison, I was never truly content in my life. In addition it was very exhausting to always be better than someone. This was apparent in all different kind of areas of my life- starting with relationships and ending in my workplace. The grass was always greener on the other side; I was chasing what I thought I did not have or what seemed better than what I had.
I did not search first and foremost within myself, but looked outside of me to fill the gap that I created in the first place. Becoming aware of that has been my first steps-out of the hamster wheel of comparison. It did not stop the patterns immediately but it supported me to become more conscious about what is truly going on and looking at the core issue.
Appreciating myself, who I am and the unique quality that only I can bring to the world was calling to be accepted and allowed, because this is what’s needed! Like a puzzle every puzzle piece is needed. If one denies being the shape that is needed then the whole puzzle will never be complete.
What a great responsibility every puzzle piece has!
Another beautiful realisation that came with that was: I don´t need to do it all on my own. I can do what ever I am good at and there are other women who are equipped to do the other parts. Every part is needed - there is no better or worse. It actually shows even more how ridiculous it is to compare as everyone and every part is equally important.
I had lost myself in my self-created prison, which was very painful. Although I rarely felt obvious pain during that time, as I often "won" the comparison, which then covered the hurtful feeling of actually needing to compare in the first place.
I asked myself clearly: Is this how life is meant to be lived - to be constantly dependent of the outside and filling ourselves up through what comes from there?I answered: NO!
I was deeply missing a kind of stability and self-confidence in my life, a foundation that I could live life and act from. Although I had many "high" moments, these moments fell on unstable ground, as there was no settlement in me. In fact I isolated myself from people, because it was exhausting and draining to be the "version" of myself that I needed to be, to get the recognition and acceptance that I wanted and pursued and even sometimes demanded from others.
I had the privilege to meet women, who reflected something different to me.
They showed me how powerful it is to be content and still with yourself and from there be and live in the world. Being THE puzzle piece, because they said YES to themselves, not staying in any condition or version of themselves and not wanting to please anyone or being what the world around them wanted them to be.
To me, a woman is truly sexy, beautiful and powerful when she does not conform to any ideal or picture but instead expresses in a naturalness from her inner stillness and honesty in everything that she does.
Women are not tough, hard, functional robots, female ‘Speedy Gonzales’ or emotionally unstable by birth.
That does not mean that we are not able to create amazing things in this world, the question remains though; in what quality?
Do we just function through the day, ticking boxes and getting through or do we bring ourselves in full to those daily tasks? Do we do things out of the deficit of not being enough, feeling we have to perform and achieve or by the impulse of our inner core? The place of transparency, vulnerability, delicateness, stillness, our sharp observation and sense of what is needed at that time.
Fragility and vulnerability have become true strengths and mean true self-confidence for me now. I was a master in defining and measuring myself through comparing myself with others, through achievements and success - but never through appreciating or valuing myself for who I am.
When you look at the word appreciation in German WERTSCHÄTZUNG- there is the word SCHATZ included in it. It means treasure in English. I had chosen, as many women do, to abandon that great treasure within myself.
YES to myself, my appreciation of me, going hand in hand with the most beautiful love story I´ve ever had - the one with myself. It is a pure joy and the meaning of life for me. It is a process and a development, that never ends, which is neither perfect, but gets explored innocently, like a child explores with totally fresh eyes and no expectations.
Embracing myself with every step I am making towards that YES and allowing the same tenderness and understanding I wish to be treated with by another towards myself, not only opens myself up for me but for others as well. I couldn't ever give myself and the world a greater treasure than this.
Thank you Natalie and Simone Benhayon for being great role models and an absolute gift to always inspire me.