Compliments and Confidence

By Allison.

She’s pretty, but she’s probably dumb.

She’s a great dancer, but I definitely did better than her on the SAT.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who’s walked into a room and immediately compared myself to every other girl there, trying to justify why I’m somehow better than each of them. It’s a sick competition, and I’m beginning to think I’m not the only one who’s participated.

She’s skinny but there’s no chance she’s athletic. 

Her average in school is awful, I don’t care if she has a cute boyfriend.

It took me a while to realize why all these sick thoughts were at the forefront of my mind each time I made a new friend, met a new classmate, or encountered a stranger. Initially, I justified it to myself. I love myself, that’s why I’m always realizing why I’m better than other girls. I told myself it was great self-love that turned me against each girl I met, and great confidence which caused me to always justify why my qualities were better than someone else’s.

But this kind of twisted self-praising criticism was ugly. It wasn’t coming from a good place, and it definitely wasn’t coming from love.

When I finally realized what was happening, it took me a long time to accept it. Ultimately, it was my own self-hate generating this disgusting thinking. My own discomfort with myself was subconscious, but it’s undertones played into every part of my life. I was unaware of how much I disliked the person I had become, and outwardly convinced myself I was better than everyone. But this defensive, egomaniacal thinking grew out of an insecurity that I wasn’t beautiful, or smart, or good enough.

When my own self-love grew, I stopped needing to be jealous of other girls. I no longer need to hate them for having something I don’t. They may have thin legs and be a well trained dancer, and I may have pretty eyes and be incredible at math, and neither has to be better or worse than the other. I am assured and content in who I am, and I don’t need to destroy someone else to be confident.

Recently, I’ve been finding myself meeting other girls and being struck by their beauty. By their laughs. By their resilience, passion, and strength. I am amazed by how talented girls are, how gifted, how creative. I’ve found friends with amazing smiles, great experiences, and unbelievable lives. I suggest you begin to do the same. Begin finding girls you love, finding qualities you love about them, and finding a true, honest love to do this with. Just remember to start by loving yourself.