Letter #126

Content Warnings: self-deprecation, body dysmorphia, social and academic stress, negative social comparisons 


Dear Friend,


I’m here to talk about comparing ourselves to others. Comparing your test scores to someone who may have scored a few points higher. Scrolling through your social media, wondering why you don’t have a flat stomach or a perfectly straight nose like the social media influencers do. The truth is, most of us have asked ourselves why we can’t be like the next person, and the next person is probably asking themselves the same question. It’s a toxic, self-deprecating cycle. And the worst part of it all? There’s never any good that comes out of it because we are all inherently different. We each have a separate set of talents and skills we have to offer. And it’s important that we credit ourselves for all that we are without worrying where we stand relative to someone else. This is a lesson that took years for me to grasp the understanding of, my early childhood marking the start of that change.


I was a very impressionable kid. Put me in a group of well-behaved children, I’d behave. Put me in a group with trouble-makers, and I’ll become one of them. I never had a sense of self. I wanted to be everyone else but myself. At the time, I didn’t notice anything wrong with it because, quite frankly, I lacked the self-awareness to understand that I was engaging in some seriously self-deprecating behaviors. It was only until the end of middle school when I started to recognize my overwhelming desire for social acceptance, and how it was hindering my ability to see and appreciate myself for who I was without considering outside opinions.


I am now a junior in college and over the past several years, I have been working on reconditioning my brain to stop comparing myself to the people around me. I’m not gonna lie, I still struggle with it sometimes. When I don’t do too well on an exam, or I’m just not feeling particularly attractive one day, my mind might subconsciously punish myself for not doing better. Being better. But like any mental adversity, it is a work in progress. Just be kind and patient with yourself, and the rest will fall into place.


A Friend



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