I know you see her - the girl who seems like her whole life is together. She wears a full-face of makeup and a coordinated outfit every day to her 8 AM classes, so she must have it all figured out, right? Then you look at yourself—the one with the messy bun and yoga pants, and you feel less than.You start comparing yourself to a stranger without knowing anything about her. And you know what, sweet friend? She is probably doing the same as you. She might be looking at you at the bus stop wishing that she could be you, but you'd never know.
Instead, it's easier to assume that her glance in your direction is one of judgment, one of superiority. That's where the comparison starts, but it's also where it could end if we let it - the power to do so rests in ourselves.
Or maybe, you feel like just because your stomach isn't perfectly flat or your 000 pants from middle school can't quite edge up your thighs anymore, you don't quite measure up. Don't get me wrong. I hope with every fiber of my being that you love your body. I hope that you wake up and you're proud of who you are, and if you want to put on makeup, you put it on. If you want to wear that little black dress or sweatpants and a t-shirt from 2010, it doesn't matter. You do you! I hope that whatever you do, you do so with joy, but I hope you know that these things don't make up who you are. I hope you try your best in all things but realize you are enough regardless.
I hope you realize the pure miracle of your life, especially on days when you feel less than.
So often, we are geared to think that if another girl is pretty, that must mean that we aren't. If another girl is thinner than us, then we have somehow lost. The problem with comparing ourselves is that we make something that is not supposed to be a competition into one. We sacrifice our mental health and well-being just to have a sort of imaginary victory, and the cycle only continues. We see a girl in the checkout line at the store, and we comment on her smudged mascara. Then, we get in our cars and drive home only to see ourselves in the mirror, and what do we do? We beat ourselves up over a few pounds gained or a hair out of place.
How different would we be if we chose to love ourselves instead?
As you enter another semester at college, I hope you realize that you are made for a purpose. I hope you realize that who you are on the surface is only a fraction of the beautiful soul that you are. May you always remember that no one really has their life together, no matter how perfect they seem. Embrace the process of being good over being perfect. Wake up with frizzy hair and acne patches on your face with enthusiasm for the day ahead. Celebrate that your body does everything in its power to keep you alive without worrying about a number on the scale. Cheer other women on, but don't forget to cheer for yourself, too.
Most of all, though, may you take the bench in your imaginary competition. Let her win. You'll find that this life becomes so much more when we aren't chasing victory, anyway.
The Girl Still Figuring It Out (I promise.)