Body Image

The Comparison Trap

September 24 2013 | CeCe Olisa

“Am I the biggest girl here?” is a torturous game I used to play with myself when I was growing up. I would ask myself if I was the biggest girl in the room and then look around to see what the answer was. 99% of the time, the answer was yes. What did I do with that information? I just used it to fuel the flames of insecurity that burned quietly inside of me.

At BlogHer, Jennipher Walters, creator of fit bottomed girls discussed something called The Comparison Trap. She mentioned how it can be detrimental to us because it can really skew the way we see ourselves. Her words really hit home for me because I’ve spent years caught in The Comparison Trap and I think it might be at the core of some of the issues I’m working through on my #PSPfit journey.

I’ve mentioned before that in the past I’ve gained and lost 50 pounds and had absolutely no idea. I can’t help but wonder if I missed changes in my body because I was too busy pitting myself against others. I didn’t notice my actual size because I could only see that I was bigger than the girls around me. So even though the girls around me were growing up and changing, I still only saw them as “small” and me as “big”.

Being stuck in The Comparison Trap kept me away from an understanding of my body and what worked for me. The Comparison Trap made me feel inadequate because I didn’t have the metabolism or “discipline” that other girls had. The Comparison Trap had me rushing to buy every diet book that “really worked” for a coworker.

I’m using weight to describe my Comparison Trap issues, but its something that creeps into all aspects of my personal and professional life. Comparing ourselves to others is natural. We want to see how we “measure up” against other people, coworkers, neighbors, couples… but I take comparing myself with others to an unhealthy place and that’s a habit I’m working really hard to break.

Now I’m learning to compare myself to different versions of myself. I’m learning to compare my relationship to my relationship. Instead of looking at other relationships, I can stop and say “Wow, this time last year we were at point A. Look at us now, we’re at point C and we’re happy!” Comparing myself to myself is a much more healthy way for me to measure my growth and evolution as a person. I can look back and say “okay, I’m doing this a little better”, or “I’m still messing up here” but I’m running my own race.

Do you struggle with The Comparison Trap? How do you run your own race?

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46 responses on “The Comparison Trap

  1. vanessa jackson

    There was a moment when I said that about the department I work in. I was like the biggest female and my boss the biggest male. Also the only people of color. I use to think they must think we all are like this. Then my boss did the HCG and lost weight and I felt like I was left alone. But I arrested those thoughts and began to focus on the person I was/am and my other assets I brought to the table. One thing I found is that I was the only one focusing on my weight. My co-workers were constantly questioning me about fashion, style, complimenting me on an outfit, hair, make-up or my look that day. Never once did I hear the cliche’ oh you look nice or have a pretty face for a big girl. No…most of the time it’s just us beating ourselves up. As I’ve aged … I’ve become even more secure no matter what size I am. I’m always working on me from the inside out NOW.

  2. vanessa jackson

    There was a moment when I said that about the department I work in. I was like the biggest female and my boss the biggest male. Also the only people of color. I use to think they must think we all are like this. Then my boss did the HCG and lost weight and I felt like I was left alone. But I arrested those thoughts and began to focus on the person I was/am and my other assets I brought to the table. One thing I found is that I was the only one focusing on my weight. My co-workers were constantly questioning me about fashion, style, complimenting me on an outfit, hair, make-up or my look that day. Never once did I hear the cliche’ oh you look nice or have a pretty face for a big girl. No…most of the time it’s just us beating ourselves up. As I’ve aged … I’ve become even more secure no matter what size I am. I’m always working on me from the inside out NOW.

  3. lilshine7@gmail.com

    There was a moment when I said that about the department I work in. I was like the biggest female and my boss the biggest male. Also the only people of color. I use to think they must think we all are like this. Then my boss did the HCG and lost weight and I felt like I was left alone. But I arrested those thoughts and began to focus on the person I was/am and my other assets I brought to the table. One thing I found is that I was the only one focusing on my weight. My co-workers were constantly questioning me about fashion, style, complimenting me on an outfit, hair, make-up or my look that day. Never once did I hear the cliche’ oh you look nice or have a pretty face for a big girl. No…most of the time it’s just us beating ourselves up. As I’ve aged … I’ve become even more secure no matter what size I am. I’m always working on me from the inside out NOW.

  4. lilshine7@gmail.com

    There was a moment when I said that about the department I work in. I was like the biggest female and my boss the biggest male. Also the only people of color. I use to think they must think we all are like this. Then my boss did the HCG and lost weight and I felt like I was left alone. But I arrested those thoughts and began to focus on the person I was/am and my other assets I brought to the table. One thing I found is that I was the only one focusing on my weight. My co-workers were constantly questioning me about fashion, style, complimenting me on an outfit, hair, make-up or my look that day. Never once did I hear the cliche’ oh you look nice or have a pretty face for a big girl. No…most of the time it’s just us beating ourselves up. As I’ve aged … I’ve become even more secure no matter what size I am. I’m always working on me from the inside out NOW.

  5. Vanessa

    That’s very interesting. I know I’ve done that, when I was like 10-12 y/o. However, I can proudly say I don’t really catch myself doing that anymore. Funny thing is, I have skinny friends who do it all the time. So it’s not necessarily a “big girl thing”,.

    1. CeCe Olisa

      I agree. Its not just a big girl thing… or a weight thing… like I mentioned towards the end, comparing yourself to others can be a slippery slope for anything in our lives (relationships/jobs/appearance)

  6. Vanessa

    That’s very interesting. I know I’ve done that, when I was like 10-12 y/o. However, I can proudly say I don’t really catch myself doing that anymore. Funny thing is, I have skinny friends who do it all the time. So it’s not necessarily a “big girl thing”,.

    1. CeCe Olisa

      I agree. Its not just a big girl thing… or a weight thing… like I mentioned towards the end, comparing yourself to others can be a slippery slope for anything in our lives (relationships/jobs/appearance)

  7. vanessa.babin@gmail.com

    That’s very interesting. I know I’ve done that, when I was like 10-12 y/o. However, I can proudly say I don’t really catch myself doing that anymore. Funny thing is, I have skinny friends who do it all the time. So it’s not necessarily a “big girl thing”,.

  8. vanessa.babin@gmail.com

    That’s very interesting. I know I’ve done that, when I was like 10-12 y/o. However, I can proudly say I don’t really catch myself doing that anymore. Funny thing is, I have skinny friends who do it all the time. So it’s not necessarily a “big girl thing”,.

    1. nycece@gmail.com

      I agree. Its not just a big girl thing… or a weight thing… like I mentioned towards the end, comparing yourself to others can be a slippery slope for anything in our lives (relationships/jobs/appearance)

  9. Naomi Designa Fulton

    Hi, Cece
    I’m 18
    When I was about 16 and 17 i was doing all the time not just with my skinny friends but my plus size friends(sad right? Lol). But listening to my family really change my point of view and now I don’t do that anymore. So I can absolutely relate to this article.
    XOXO
    designachic

  10. Naomi Designa Fulton

    Hi, Cece
    I’m 18
    When I was about 16 and 17 i was doing all the time not just with my skinny friends but my plus size friends(sad right? Lol). But listening to my family really change my point of view and now I don’t do that anymore. So I can absolutely relate to this article.
    XOXO
    designachic

  11. vnanar@aol.com

    Hi, CeceI’m 18
    When I was about 16 and 17 i was doing all the time not just with my skinny friends but my plus size friends(sad right? Lol). But listening to my family really change my point of view and now I don’t do that anymore. So I can absolutely relate to this article.
    XOXO
    designachic

  12. vnanar@aol.com

    Hi, CeceI’m 18
    When I was about 16 and 17 i was doing all the time not just with my skinny friends but my plus size friends(sad right? Lol). But listening to my family really change my point of view and now I don’t do that anymore. So I can absolutely relate to this article.
    XOXO
    designachic

  13. Atiya_BK_Chick

    I havd done thiz many many times over the course of my life. it is so self destructive!! I am either too fat, not pretty enough, hair isnt done enough, face ain’t “beat” enough or my clothes ain’t stylish and couture enough- why? Becausd I don’t have enough money!!!! I wasted alot of time and alienated folks because of my insecurity. I am more aware of it now so I am not that bad but I still have a long long way to go. Also I am trying much harder to work on my insides because there are aspects if my personality that needs improving…more so than the outer stuff. So I totally relate to this!! Thanks so much for this!

  14. Atiya_BK_Chick

    I havd done thiz many many times over the course of my life. it is so self destructive!! I am either too fat, not pretty enough, hair isnt done enough, face ain’t “beat” enough or my clothes ain’t stylish and couture enough- why? Becausd I don’t have enough money!!!! I wasted alot of time and alienated folks because of my insecurity. I am more aware of it now so I am not that bad but I still have a long long way to go. Also I am trying much harder to work on my insides because there are aspects if my personality that needs improving…more so than the outer stuff. So I totally relate to this!! Thanks so much for this!

  15. atiyahornebailey@gmail.com

    I havd done thiz many many times over the course of my life. it is so self destructive!! I am either too fat, not pretty enough, hair isnt done enough, face ain’t “beat” enough or my clothes ain’t stylish and couture enough- why? Becausd I don’t have enough money!!!! I wasted alot of time and alienated folks because of my insecurity. I am more aware of it now so I am not that bad but I still have a long long way to go. Also I am trying much harder to work on my insides because there are aspects if my personality that needs improving…more so than the outer stuff. So I totally relate to this!! Thanks so much for this!

  16. atiyahornebailey@gmail.com

    I havd done thiz many many times over the course of my life. it is so self destructive!! I am either too fat, not pretty enough, hair isnt done enough, face ain’t “beat” enough or my clothes ain’t stylish and couture enough- why? Becausd I don’t have enough money!!!! I wasted alot of time and alienated folks because of my insecurity. I am more aware of it now so I am not that bad but I still have a long long way to go. Also I am trying much harder to work on my insides because there are aspects if my personality that needs improving…more so than the outer stuff. So I totally relate to this!! Thanks so much for this!

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