Updated: May 20, 2020
“Women most often experience shame as a web of layered, conflicting, and competing social-community expectations. The expectations dictate who we should be, what we should be, how we should be.” - Brené Brown
I am almost 100% positive most of us have experienced the feeling of comparing our lives to others, and feeling like we dont quite size up. Maybe even a bit shameful, embarrassed, even sad. If you haven't, dang are you lucky. Congrats!?
You probably already know that Mark Twain quote: "Comparison is the death of joy"-and ain't that the truth. You probably already know this isn't a good way of talking to yourself. But, we are taught to be competitive, marketed to at a very young age, and probably hear our friends and family say things that sound similar. "I need to lose weight, I should be thinner", "I need those capri pants or else I wont fit in" (this is a real one for me, 5th grade, Mervyns), "I should be doing.....", "I should be....", or my favorite: "I should have _____ by now...". Ugh. I can't STAND it. Obviously, there is no one in your brain to remind you, sweet friend, that you deserve better, except for yourself.
If you asked me 10 years ago where I SHOULD be right now, this is probably what I would say: married, career that allows me to take care of myself and family, a loving husband, a nicer car, and hopefully that career is in Psychology like I had planned. I would have money saved. Some kids! I would go to the gym in my free time, and probably have my own practice. I would wear really "professional" clothes, and have lots of friends. I would take fancy trips, and eat at fancy restaurants.
THAT GIRL was wrong. ME! I am none of those things. I have none of those things. I will be 32 in June, and I am not married, I have no children, no savings, no college degree, and I dont go to the gym.
Please, please, please know that if you dreamed of those things, and you have them now, I am just so happy for you, as long as you're happy. I do know, however, that I am grateful I dont have those things. Ok, maybe that's not completely true. Of course, I'd like to be married; but I am glad that I am not married to any of the people I dated (they weren't for me). Of course I'd like to have kids; but I haven't found the right person to share that with. Maybe I won't. That won't stop me from adopting.
I am trying to say that I am where I am suppose to be. Those things weren't meant for me. Those things I "should be" and "should have" no longer align with who I am NOW. I am tired of comparing my life to everyone else's. I am tired of this culture of tearing each other down. It is is exhausting. I have literally gone into my social media accounts and deleted any one that made me feel bad in any way. Exhausting.
If you want to do something, do it. If you want to be something, be it! I read something recently that said to think back when you were a kid, and think of something that you used to do that made you really happy. Do things that make you feel like that! Hang out with that kid. You know that kid was cool!
You are a wonderful human being. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to have people in your life who support your dreams. You deserve people who think you are amazing as is (in that beautiful body you were born with). So do me a favor: please, get rid of the word should from your vocabulary and replace could with CAN. I know that it can be scary to actually listen to what you want instead of playing by the rules you were "taught" or conditioned to believe were the "right" things to do either by your parents, friends, the media, or society. But you know what I say to that? FUCK IT. (sorry Mom).
Let me be vulnerable with you for a moment, if that's ok. I "should" shave under my arms and other areas, but guess what? I dont. Why? I dont want to. I shouldn't HAVE to. I "should" get a more reliable/dependable job. But guess what? I dont. I am currently working on getting my health coaching certification, and then building a business. I just spent the last decade (probably longer) working hard in the food industry, learning a lot of skills, and decided to change industries. I am NOT sorry that it doesn't align with what you see as "normal" or what I "should" be doing. I am doing it because it makes me feel happy. Ok. Last thing I'll share: I haven't worn a regular bathing suit in public in probably 10 years. Want to know why? I feel ashamed that I have cellulite. That I have a bigger bottom. Why do I feel ashamed? Society tells me that I "shouldn't " be that way. Having cellulite and a bigger booty disqualify me from being "beautiful" according to their standards. How dare people try to make me feel LESS than beautiful in MY body. This year, I have decided to no longer listen to what I "should" be wearing on my body. I WILL WEAR WHAT I WANT.
This post could be so many more words. I could write about this subject for decades. (I am over exaggerating). The point I was trying to make is so, so simple. DO YOU. BE YOU. Do the things that make you happy and feel good in your body. Please, please stop comparing yourself to others. YOU ARE WONDERFUL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.
“Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don't let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory.” ―Jim Carrey