It’s really amazing how many thoughts the female brain can pack in within a matter of 60 seconds. (And no, this is not going to be a post bashing the low capacity of the male brain.)
This past saturday, I just wasn’t feeling 100%. (Then again, when do we ever feel 100%?) Let’s just say it was a low start to my day.
This is my brain in a moment-by-moment play on a recent Saturday, leaving the house to pull up to Starbucks, feeling not-so great:
Thought #1: Wow - I feel like crap.
#2: Why didn’t I put a bit of thought into what I just threw on?
#3: Because it’s Saturdays, and Saturdays exist so you don’t have to always think about such things.
Back to #2: Eh, I think need nicer ‘casual’ clothes.
And, again to #3: It’s freak’n Saturday! Stop thinking and just enjoy a Saturday.
Thought #4: Gosh, I’m so shallow that I care about clothes this much and this is even bothering me!
(Welcome to an off-day in the head of Kristin Crosby.)
The moment I’ve come to this concluding thought and am comfortable with the idea, I step out of the car and walk up to the Starbucks’ entrance just as a leggy, beautiful blonde walks out, alongside one clean-cut, good-looking guy with the physique of an athlete. This blonde just happens to be Kate Upton. You know, you’re every day average passing by a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model and her all-star pitcher boyfriend (of the Tigers - and yes, Lakeland is a Tigertown during spring training). You know, just average.
Back to # 1.
“Wow. I feel like crap.”
Granted, I’ve been through this mental cycle a time or so before. And I can say, I’ve come to find it is about the worst place for my head to be. Because it’s all about comparing.
Comparing is a little game you could say we females like to play on a regular basis. Actually we’re are quite pros at it. It’s kind of how we function. It’s often why we dress how we dress. It’s why we eat what we eat. It’s why we’re on Facebook. It’s why we’re on Pinterest. It’s why we are on Instagram. It’s why we’re her friend. It’s why we’re not her friend. Yeah, actually we’re pretty much all-star players here.
Comparing seems to be the vehicle many of us women use to transport us to the woman we want to be. We think it will work, we really do.
Yet no matter how good we get at this comparing-game-thing - rating our state of health, sense of style and overall identity to her (whoever she may be on a given day) - I’ve come to find that it is about the most self-deprecating, pointless waste of our time.
Not to downplay any insecurities of men, or to be sexist and say that it’s altogether a different ball game for you guys, but... I’ll just be sexist - and call it that.
Females deal with a grand amount of insecurities on a completely different scale, that frequently fills our head, than most men can imagine. Sure, guys can deal with insecurities over imperfections or physique, but rarely do they feel their identity is based on the outward appearance to the level most women deal with on a daily basis. Rarely is a man looked up and down at as a sign of approval or “welcome”. (As if such a gesture is suppose to be remotely flattering, or becoming. Sorry, guys - it just is NOT.)
As visually driven as we all are, men and women, do you know what I think? (And, guys, you can call me out on this if I’m way off). I think guys don’t have a set standard for beauty, like women think do. The majority of them. (Because, honestly, the modern-day guy is an ever-evolving stereotype - so, who are we kidding?) But, I’ll be gracious and assume it’s the majority. But we certainly set standards for ourself. While we women are so wrapped up in looking perfect (even when it's the I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-looking-like-this) guys aren’t always looking for this picture perfect, bronzed-head-to-toe look we think they want. We may think that looks is all they care about, but I can guarantee you that (though the Victoria Secret types may turn their heads) they care about your self-confidence, as much as we care about theirs'. And I can guarantee you that allowing yourself to be so wrapped up in this comparing game is killing the real woman in you that is just dying to develop.
This all sounds so shallow, because it is so shallow. But it is so the culture we operate in. We are a visually driven society - and this will likely not change anytime in our near future. It is so much a part of our reality, that we haven’t the faintest idea as to how to not function this way. Not only is comparing our beauty to others’ the biggest hurdle that keeps most females from the ability to become this woman we want to be, it may be the thing that keeps us from the ability to fully be.
So what does one fill that head space with when not comparing? A lot that you that this way of thinking doesn't allow space for. While self-confidence and a solid assurance won't happen overnight (and if it does, it likely is shallow and fleeting), a genuine and humble confidence is attainable and well-worth quitting this game for. It is the only way you will ever become a woman you can live at peace with. While it may take a bit of a process and run on a few levels deeper than mere comparison, it all starts with our thoughts. So why don’t we start there.
The moment after passing the beautiful Kate Upton and sulking into my head of woes, a bright and beautiful individual (a.k.a my lovely sister) said something that just clicked for me:
“There are no standards for beauty.”
Live life for just a week without comparing yourself. Be free from this mindset of physical standards you hold yourself up against and let your head breathe a bit. And just be you.