How do you get there?
Someone asked me this today on Instagram.
The particular “there” in this context was not comparing yourself to others.
My answer began with; it’s a deliberate effort.
I believe we choose, and to choose requires recognising the ways that society primes us, particularly as girls and women, to feel inadequate, unworthy and all that gross feeling stuff.
I do not believe it is inherent part of our DNA to feel shitty about ourselves. Nope.
Once more for those up the back;
I do not believe it is an inherent part of our DNA to feel shitty about ourselves!
Rather, I think we are bombarded by cultural messages that have us growing up looking for external validation.
If we can get mum or dad’s approval, if people tell us how pretty/cute/sweet we look, we receive the message that we are enough.
If we behave.
If a boy notices us.
If we are a “good girl”.
If we are helpful, accommodating, and quiet.
If we smile.
If, if, if…
Danger, Will Robinson!
As we grow up, we notice other girls being told they are good girls.
Somehow we believe there’s a limited amount of praise to go around, and perhaps quite unwittingly, we crave that limited edition praise only for ourselves.
And so it begins…
If only I had her hair.
Her pretty dress.
What can we do about it though? Isn’t this just the way it is?
Aren’t girls naturally a little competitive, kinda bitchy? Let’s be real here.
That belief might be – oh who am I kidding – it is prevalent, but it doesn’t make it true.
Commonly repeated lies don’t become facts, no matter how often they are repeated. (Take note ScoMo.)
If only I had…
Her easy life.
If only I wasn’t so stupid/flat chested/fat/awkward/gross/tall/sensitive.
Any of this ringing any bells?
I want you to think about something big here.
Who benefits from girls growing up feeling this way? Hint: it’s not girls.
Who tells you they’ve got the answers? Hint: their answers aren’t free.
Who packages those magical answers up in shiny boxes and offers them to you for the low, low price of eleventy billion instalments of $29.95?
Until we wake up to the fact that we are being stealthily primed to compare ourselves to others, we have no hope of ever conquering the urge. We can’t overcome something we believe is internally defective, we can only scramble to patch over it, hoping others won’t notice.
Here’s what I know: the fight isn’t with other girls and women.
Having her easy life, her boyfriend, her body, her dress size, it’s not what we are truly seeking is it?
How do you get there?
Deliberately. With effort.
Are you up for it?
I am 100% in, that’s why I’m writing this tonight.
8 thoughts on “How do you get there?”
I’m in! Brilliantly put, I’m so glad you did the put-ing of this tonight.
You inspire me!
I’m glad I did too. I want more of this. Love you Sair xx
Brilliant. I think we need to start working on this early with girls. So so important. I’ve just gone full time at work because I need more time to say all the things I need to say to them, without telling them what to do. Just talking and osmosis! It’s a tricky thing! 🙂
That’s exactly it – start early, talking and osmosis. You are 100% on to it Edie xxx
A brilliant piece Annette.
I want to be in, I really do.
I have much work to do.
You’re in! Once we see the patterns, we can begin to demolish them. Revolution!!
I was the biggest person I ever knew from 14 yrs till 2 years ago so comparing myself to others was rediculus and now I know what a blessing that was. I love learning about history and other cultures……when you do this you realise 40 years ago ‘my’ hips would make me ‘Perfect’ but now they make me chunky, if in another culture my chunkyness would make me the desire of men because I was queen because I’m more likely to survive but in my own culture I’m just fat and undesirable. I don’t know why but being totally unable to attain the ‘perfect’ me for the culture I’m in …..has freed me…… I’m free I think?
I definitely think that being outside the current “norms” of the culture can free us. I think that’s part of why I don’t ever recall comparing myself to others. I already knew I was different than most people.