Confidence and the Black Hole of Comparison

So, I would like to share a somewhat funny story. I say somewhat, because at first it was absolutely horrifying and I felt pretty lousy about myself. Yet, it taught me a great lesson about comparison and how we need to give ourselves a break.

Orion and I won a free photo and video shoot for our bridal pictures. Anyone who has had to pay for wedding pictures before knows what a sweet blessing and huge financial relief this was. Even better, was the fact that our photographer and videographer were incredibly talented individuals.

(Check them out here and here.)

We were so excited! When the day rolled around to take these pictures, we ate some Taco Bell and drove up the windy road to Squaw Peak.

Let’s stop and think a moment. Windy road. Taco Bell. Oh, did I mention that after getting my dress altered, it fit like a glove and I could barely breathe? That wasn’t really a good combination, and I spent most of the photo shoot on the verge of vomiting, and, uh, I actually did end up vomiting once. Whoops.

Sweet Orion held my hair back and we had to unzip my dress halfway so I could survive the whole shoot. It was definitely not a pleasant experience.

A few days later, our photographer sent us a sneak peek of our bridals. I was so incredibly ecstatic! I gave a little squeal, and went to open the picture, and found this:

My eyes were instantly drawn to that mammoth-looking arm of mine. That wasn’t my arm! What kind of photoshop wizardry was this?! I instantly became defensive. I got up to look at my arm in the mirror, and kept grabbing it to see how fat I could make it look.

I started to mentally beat myself up because I was so nauseous that day that I had forgotten to suck my tummy in, and stand up straight. I couldn’t believe that I would let my nausea cause me to look so terrible in my wedding pictures! How could I do this?! We had such a wonderful opportunity to have free wedding pictures by extremely talented people, and I blew it!

How would we hang these on our wall?! What would our children think of their mother on their wedding day?

I was completely and utterly appalled. I knew that was not my arm. And I was terrified to see the rest of the pictures.

I quickly pulled out a Photoshop app and worked some magic to get my arm down to a more reasonable size.

I was much happier with my personal edit of it, yet the original image still haunted my mind. Some days I would sit and look at it, and just mentally chew myself up. I eventually threw it into the ‘Hidden’ album of my iPhone so I wouldn’t have to deal with it, but could still have it just in case.

I spent days looking in mirrors, analyzing my arm. Trying to do more tricep dips, arm circles, and whatever else I could to make myself feel better.

Then finally, it hit me.

I was being absolutely ridiculous!

I knew that that wasn’t my arm. It was just a weird angle. The photographer did not edit it to make it look fat. And I did not suddenly gain ten pounds. It was simply a bad angle.

But it was a bad angle that sent my confidence in a downward spiral, and sent me straight for the black hole of comparison.

Why is it that we get so caught up in comparing ourselves to others? That we feel the need to be as skinny and fit as the women we idolize on Instagram? Why is it that we need to have better wedding pictures than our friends or at least a prettier dress? Why do we need to put ourselves above others to feel good about ourselves?

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?!

Is there a reason that we can’t just simply love the skin we’re in? That we can’t be happy with who we are and the unique qualities and talents that we possess? Why does it have to be a constant game of comparison?

And above all else, the worst is comparing oneself to… well, oneself. We compare ourselves with how we used to be, and the perfect image of how we want to be, the imaginary standard we hold ourself to. It’s simply not fair.

I saw that bad angle of an arm, and instantly was beating myself up because it wasn’t in line with the perfect arm I had sculpted in my imagination.

Comparison is mentally and emotionally degrading. You tear yourself down just ’cause. That is not fair for one minute.

You my friends, are beautiful. You are good. And most importantly, you are doing your best.

Give yourself a break. Stop trying to be perfect. Because as much as the people around you might seem like they’re perfect, they are battling their own internal wars.

So choose to be you. Choose to be happy. And definitely choose to be confident.

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