The Comparison Trap

Recently I went to a concert with my friends (Jonas Brothers for the win!) As the sun went down, the air grew crisp and the sky cleared — it was the PERFECT night for a concert. We made our way to our seats, passing group after group of young women laughing and taking pictures, excitement in the air. If you’ve ever been to a concert, then you know some people go all out. Crop tops, everywhere you look. 

I should have been swept up in the excitement, but instead, a part of my brain kept locking onto every woman I passed and thinking: I wish I looked as good as she does. Once I started, I couldn’t stop: in line for the bathroom, waiting to get drinks, even when we finally made it to our seats. I continued comparing myself to those around me to see how I measured up. Whose outfit was cuter? Who looked prettier? I told myself it was for “outfit inspiration” (good try, April) but we all know that’s not completely true. I tumbled down a hole of comparison. 

I KNEW this was toxic, but I couldn’t stop myself. Every time someone had an outfit cooler than mine, I felt bad about myself. Every time someone’s legs looked smaller or hair looked better, I wished I was more like them. I spent WAY too long at that concert wishing I were someone else instead of enjoying the night out with my friends. 

Soon enough, the lights dimmed and the show began. I was able to forget about all that for a while, but I wish I had turned off that part of my brain before I fell into the trap of constant comparison. It has become a habit for so many of us to look at another person and see them only in terms of how we compare. I’ll be honest — sometimes I do it without even realizing. Sometimes I even do it with my BEST friends. Changing this mindset comes from being confident in yourself, regardless of those around you. You have worth and value standing alone; it doesn’t matter how you compare to others. 

But I know it’s hard to see that sometimes, especially when someone else is out there living your dream. It’s hard to keep that bitterness from creeping in. In high school, I had a classmate that had a book published her senior year. It has always been my dream to write a book, but instead of being excited for this girl, I was jealous. I got mad at myself that she had achieved this before me. I felt like a failure. I WISH someone had told me then that, as women, we are not in competition with each other. We need to be each other’s community, where your win is my win. I should not have seen this girl’s success as a setback, but rather as inspiration that being an author is possible, even at a young age. Other people’s achievements can pave the way for future women to succeed. 

But that’s really hard to do, especially when my first instinct is to compare my success with someone else’s. However, I’m working on changing this mindset so my first thought is not, “Who did it better?” but “How can I be inspired by this?” 

If you’re looking for a group of women standing hand-in-hand as you work towards your dream, the DTC COMMUNITY is calling your name. For connection, inspiration, and dream-achieving resources, this can be your safe space to uplift one another, not compare. 

who is the author, April?

April Hooper is a public relations student at Messiah University, minoring in marketing and gender studies. She always has a coffee in hand and is rocking a thrifted outfit with handmade accessories. When she graduates, she dreams of living abroad, owning as many cats as possible, and writing for a living. 

Photos & wardrobe courtesy of Style N Motion.

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