“Who is that girl I see, staring straight back at me? When will my reflection show who I am inside?”
When we were kids, we loved this movie. A girl being pushed to be someone she wasn’t, pulled herself together to save her family by being someone no one expected her to be. She ends up saving the entire world. WHO RUN THE WORLD? GIRLS
But as kids, we couldn’t comprehend the dilemma that Mulan had before going off to save the world.
At the beginning of the movie, Mulan was being tucked and pulled in so many different directions to go before a woman who would connect her with a man in the town. The other women had it all together. No clumsiness and not a single hair out of place, but Mulan on the other had, was looking absolutely crazy trying to FIT IN with these other women. She ended up embarrassing herself and her family trying to be someone that she wasn’t. When she finally got a moment to herself, she wiped away her makeup and took off all the extra things that wasn’t her. She didn’t even recognize herself. In her quest to please everyone else, she lost who she really was.
Comparison can do that to you. Comparison can make you lose sight of who you are meant to be. It can cause your internal flame to be dimmed because you feel as if your light isn’t as bright as the other lights around you. When you live in the constant state of comparison, you forget the amazing purpose and vision that you possess because it doesn’t seem the match up with the others around you and what they look like. For some reason, we feel as if those we see on social media have lights that were meant to dim our own, when in reality, we all have lights that were meant to shine in different place, different times, and for different purposes.
But if I’m constantly comparing myself to others, I can’t see or understand how my purpose is meant to be fulfilled. I can’t see the beauty that I possess. I can’t see the uniqueness and value that my talent has, just because someone else has the same one. I can’t look in the mirror and see success if my view of success is altered because of what social media shows me success is.
We place all that we are created to be in the hands of others who, without knowing, make us feel less than amazing because they themselves are amazing. We start to question if this is what we really want in life. We start to question our dreams and talents and wonder if they’re really any good or make sense. We deny ourselves the place in this world we’ve been given, just because we think someone has taken all the space available for that “thing”. By the time we’re done comparing ourselves, we’ve lost sight of who we are and wonder when the REAL US will be reflected back.
I believe it’s when we take time to look in the mirror and realize that we aren’t who we know we’re meant to be that change comes. When we become dissatisfied with what we see in the mirror, then we can jump start our lives and who we were meant to be.
I leave you with this personal testimony. It was my junior year in college and I was trying my best to fit in. I wanted the college experience some of my friends were having. By this time, I had been giving up the goods to a few guys on campus. My freshman year, I promised myself that I would never sleep with a guy who I wasn’t in a relationship with or didn’t like... but I had just been dropped off to my dorm room by my new Friend with Benefits. We had no connection, no relationship, no nothing. But we were sleeping together.
When I got back to my dorm room, I looked in the mirror. Not to see if I had a zit, but I finally took a GOOD look in the mirror. I looked directly into my eyes. They weren’t mine. I took a minute to examine my face. It wasn’t mine. I had no idea who I was looking at.
I stepped back and asked her “Who are you?”. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. I had gotten to a low place, a place where the REAL ME knew I didn’t belong. It was in that moment I realized that I had to change. I had to get myself together. I wasn’t reflecting who I was created to be inside. I don’t know WHO that was looking back at me!
Take a moment. Look at yourself. Look into your eyes. Do you recognize that person? Is that who you were meant to be? Are you reflecting who you TRULY are inside? Or has comparison pulled you far away because you’re not living up to who everyone else is... even though you were never meant to do so?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”
It’s funny when we start to scroll through social media, start comparing followers and likes with other we follow, we internally start to make decisions about what we’re going to do next... especially if we’re desperate.
I follow a few of my students from Baltimore on social media sites. I have watched some of them transform right before my eyes, doing things that go against everything I know they have been taught at home, and especially by me when I was their teacher. Twerking on camera, lifting up their shirts, wearing a bra and dancing seductively for IG. I know they weren’t taught that... they’ve seen that all over social media from other women who do the same thing for likes and followers.
Many times, when we’re not getting the attention that we want, we begin to ask ourselves the following questions :
1. What am I not doing?
2. What are others doing that I’m not doing?
3. What can I do to gain more followers and likes?
4. How far am I willing to go?
Question 4 is the one that causes us to create an alternative version of ourselves to gain the attention we want. We could have a set of internal morals and values that we are willing to put on hold and push aside just so we can get what we want, when we want it. We’ve done the same thing in real life too.
We’ve compromised our character to fit in. We’ve put aside our beliefs just to fit in... when we were never born to do so! We create a false identity and begin to live as someone else completely. It gets to the point that we try to figure out who we are and what we’ve done with the REAL us.
I can remember compromising who I was for years just to gain friends in school and in my city. I stuck with it for so long because that’s how I was getting the attention and recognition I wanted. But when what I was doing was put on hold, I had to backtrack to pick up who I was because I had lost her somewhere among the friends, recognition, and acceptance that I was receiving. I had to pray and seek God on my purpose and who He had created me to be because I didn’t know anymore.
Comparing yourself to others can cause you to look at yourself through different lenses. You’ll start of changing small things, not because you want to, but because you feel you NEED to do it to be accepted by others. You’re putting your life into the hands of those who don’t know you, but for some strange reason are the ones you’re looking to accept you! The problem is that we don’t realize that at some point, the audience will move on after you’ve done your tricks and impressed them for a while. Now you have to go back and pick up the pieces of your REAL life that have been scattered... and none of your audience members will be there to help you.
Stay true to who YOU were born to be. The one thing that you have going for you that NO ONE else in the world has... is the dimple fact that YOU are YOU. You’re unique. There isn’t another person in the world who is YOU. If you spend your life trying to be someone else, than you end up being a watered down version of someone else. But if you strive to be your best YOU, then you’ll never have to compare or compete. You’re in a category all by yourself.
“There she goes again!”
“She has posted some new photo of her and her fiancé out and about in the city on ANOTHER date night. She just HAS to flash that ring doesn’t she.”
“Whatever. He’s ugly anyway and she looks like she’s gaining weight.”
Does that sound familiar? It may not be anything you’ve said out loud of course. You don’t want people to think you’re hating right? It’s just an internal conversation between you and your inner comparative hater. Whether you’ve had this exact situation or you’ve had an alternative situation, the end result is still the same: Hateration.
This world has taught us that when we see someone else doing well, we don’t immediately support them or encourage them. We break down the situation to find something terrible about it to feel better about ourselves. We feel threatened at times by other’s successes because we don’t feel that we have successes of our own.
We hate on the girl who has a fiancé because we’re tired of being single. We talk about the guy who settled down and found a wife because internally we want that to be our story and it’s not. We’re mad that they’re traveling again to a new country and having great experiences, when in reality we wish we were there with them. We face the fact that our life isn’t as great as the other person’s SEEMS to be, so we compare lives, and instead of getting up off our behinds and doing something about it, we hate.
And the killer part?
We like the picture. We comment “You look good together”, when in our mind we just called them both ugly and internally hope that it all comes crashing down. Internally, we don’t wish divorce on anyone, nor do we hope and pray for someone’s demise. But in that moment of comparing where that person is to where we want to be, that comes up and out of our heart.
For a while, I had to remove myself from Facebook, IG, Twitter, and SnapChat because that’s what I was doing. I had to have a heart check. I had a problem. These people had done nothing to me personally, and some of them I didn’t even know! It was an internal thing I had to pray about. The obvious thing was that I wasn’t happy with where I was in some, if not all areas of my life. Someone innocent came along who was celebrating something in their life, and at the moment I saw the picture and their joy, I compared my life of little to no joy to theirs. Instead of me praying for more joy, I internally hoped for the loss of theirs. That’s not good!
You have to take some time and analyze YOU. Analyze why you aren’t where you want to be? Why are you threatened by their experiences? Why does seeing them excited make you miserable, to the point that your want them to join you in your misery? It’s a heart issue! We have to deal with matters of the heart.
I leave you with this story.
I had traveled with a group of people from my college to sing in a national HBCU choir. One of the people I traveled with use to be my best friend. There were tryouts for solos, and one of the solos was one that I had back in high school, so I knew I was going to get it. But for some reason, my voice was not acting right! I was losing my voice on the day of my audition!
I went to audition for the solo and it didn’t go that well. My best friend went in to audition for a different song and she did well. Later on that day, they offered her the solo that I auditioned for! One that she didn’t even ask to audition for! I WAS HEATED!
We were roommates, so we still hung out and laughed and talked. But internally, I was wishing for her to lose her voice. I wanted her to get up on stage and her voice crack. I was hoping she was going to get sick.
But I realized that my heart wasn’t in the right place. I needed to get it together but I was so angry. I prayed about it and had a friend of mine pray for me. Later that day, God had me CONFESS to her what I had been hoping would happen to her. She sat there with a stunned look on her face. But I felt a weight had lifted for me. I challenged the evil in my heart towards her and confessed it aloud so that God could deal with it.
Now I’m not saying go around and tell everyone who you’ve been hating on that you’ve been doing it, but I am saying you need to go to God and ask Him to start dealing with you on it. You don’t want to have a bitter heart because of something YOU are dealing with. Others are just trying to enjoy their lives, not please you and make you feel comfortable by being less than they are.
And step two? Take the necessary steps to become better than who you are now! If you’re not happy with your life, then start making moves! Write something, say something, do something!
That’s how many makeup brands exist in the world. From small, dollar store brands, to the expensive, arm and a leg brands you can only find in the fanciest of department stores.
Yet that didn’t stop Rihanna from starting Fenty Beauty in 2017. Can you imagine her watching all of the YouTube videos from beauty gurus doing videos discussing the makeup products that they love? Can you see her going to the store and seeing the hundreds of products on the shelves... and even seeing the empty shelves of the products that continually sold out?
It’s hard to think that Rihanna didn’t compare herself and her products to the millions of others that already existed... but through the comparison, she still understood that her make up had a place in the world. Now every time you go to a Sephora, things are continuously sold out.
But what if she decided to give into the other makeup companies successes? What if she said to herself “I shouldn’t do make-up. Everyone else is already doing make-up.”
I have experienced this myself on a daily basis. I’ve had to overcome comparing myself to others to push towards my own dreams and passions. Using the right hashtag, you can probably find 100+ people doing the same thing you dream about doing... and some of them might be doing really well at it! The problem isn’t that someone “stole” your idea or that they’re better than you at carrying it out. The problem is that you use that person as an excuse to not do what you KNOW you were born to do.
I sometimes wish I could see the fruit of my labor in the future, which could show me exactly why I HAVE to do what I know I’ve been called to do. Even if someone else reaches 1 million followers and participants, I have access to BILLIONS more. There is enough room for everyone to be great in this world, in the same time period, and even in the same country, state, and city!
There is a reason why you have that drive. There’s a reason why you had that dream. There’s a reason why even after you seen hundreds of others doing it, you can’t stop thinking about continuing your dream and making them your goals and life achievements.
You have to fight past feeling like your dream isn’t good enough, because it is. You have to move past comparing yourself to others and learn to appreciate what they are doing while also appreciating what it is that makes you different than what they’re doing. At one point, they were also in your shoes, watching others do what they wanted to do... but they were able to push past that, and so can you.
Don’t let comparison kill your dreams. There may be hundreds of people doing what you’re doing. But the BIGGEST difference... and your BIGGEST asset...
They’re not you.