Sunday, November 11, 2012

On Looks

Alternative title:  I Don't Look Like a Beauty Queen Every. Single. Day.

I live with 8 other women. For those who are not majoring in math that makes 9 of us total.  We have the time of our lives together. We watch movies and chat about everything and eat food and chat about other things and go running and chat and chat and chat. And I love it.
We are all so different from each other which makes for some of the best conversation I have ever had because I am always learning something new about the people I live with. And sometimes I compare myself to my roommates. And that is where the trouble starts.
Living with 8 other women has it's pros and cons. Pros: what I already said.
Cons: comparing!
Everybody knows that we all compare ourselves to those around us. It is what we do. It is human nature. We find our strengths and say to ourselves, "man...I really have my life together compared to that guy".  And we feel good about ourselves for 15 minutes until our mind takes us somewhere else.
And sometimes we compare our lacking to someone else's abundance. And we ask ourselves, "how could they possibly have that when I am much more normal/smart/kind and I don't have it?" ("it" being looks, smarts, significant others, significant accomplishments, etc.). And we think about it for a bit and we muse with those around us that so-and-so just did this and they don't deserve it but I do deserve it because I am a somewhat better person.  And then we move on.
And then we find our weaknesses. And we compare them to someone who happens to excel at whatever we don't excel at. And then we dwell on it. And sometimes it eats at us. And then we smack ourselves in the head and realize that we have different qualities that may not be the same but they are equivalent. And we are just as good. And then it happens again. And this is the vicious cycle that I have been trying to rid myself of for as long as I can remember. I think a lot of people do this too. I do not think I am alone in comparing myself to others. I have had church lessons on it, school lessons on it, and roommate chats about it. We all deal with it to some degree.  At least I think we do.
I think girls compare looks the most. I know I do. I live with 8 beautiful girls and comparing is the easiest thing. She has better hair than me, she has the perfect figure, her make up always looks perfect, and on and on.
And while I compare myself to them they compare themselves to me. We even talk about it sometimes.  One roommate has the most voluminous hair I have ever seen- and it always looks beautiful.  She doesn't seem to think so. And wouldn't ya know that just the other day she commented that she wished she had hair like mine.  The grass is always greener on the other side I guess.
Anyway- what I am getting at is that we all compare ourselves wishing we had what other people have without realizing how beautiful we are in our own way.  I have this idea of what is beautiful in my head. When I don't match my own idea of beauty I see it as a fault of mine and then I compare myself to an ideal. It is like comparing a seed to a sunflower! I know that it is ridiculous yet I still do it.  I don't think I am the only one who does this.  Please tell me that I am not.
So in a rather abrupt conclusion: I don't look like a beauty queen everyday and I still receive compliments from those around me.  And one of my biggest weaknesses is being unable to accept a compliment from anyone.  I get shy and blow them off like they have no idea what they are talking about.  Nice shirt? Compared to what, a wife beater? Nice eyes? Surely you are blind! So this is my new goal: accept the compliments and see myself as others see me.  For I am beautiful.  Maybe not ideally beautiful, but still beautiful in my own way.  I will not compare my weakness to your strength.  I will be happy with who I am now.


Bri said...

Just so you know, you are not the only one :)

And it took me a long time to accept compliments, too. Finally one time a girl just said to me, "Just say 'thank you' and take the compliment, ok?!" So I did. And I've done that ever since, whether I agree with their compliment or not.

In sum, you're right. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and should refrain from comparing our worst to their best. What a novel idea, right?

Florencia Gonzalez said...

Love this, it's so true.
And I am awful at accepting compliments too!
I am glad you're still blogging, love reading your stuff!
Let's get together soon!

TJ said...

I read this recently (might have been something Joliene wrote?) The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence, the grass is greener where you water it. Somehow I fit this idea into your musings in that we should try our best to be our best and then we forget about ourselves and move on. Nice thoughts today.

Yuki said...

I love reading your blog.
You are beautiful!!!

A couple years ago a song called "the only flower in the world" was very popular in Japan.

It says
"All the flowers are beautiful. They don't fight over which one is more beautiful.
I wonder why people must always compare and judge one another. It seems so unfair.
We are all so special and unique.
You don't have to struggle to be Number 1. You are the only flower. Just be yourself."

carissav said...

This is so true, we all do it and we all shouldn't. Thanks for reminding us to stop.

Kelly said...

So am I the roommate with the great hair or the perfect body? Because honestly, I think it could swing either way...Love ya Jenna!

-k8 said...

yeah..., seriously lets just be open with everyone and get it out there. which roomates which? ( I need to know so that I can judge some more!) ;) good blog post, but I still think you look like a beauty queen everyday, probably cuz of how your hair does that spontaneous zig-zaging in your(my) sleep....or how your nails change color overnight too! thats crazy

also you know what I think about when I think about judging, comparing, and the like?...I like to compare they both have great traits, but which is better? which brings more joy? which is more adorbs? I just can't stop thinking about it...hmmm, maybe you could blog on these topics and open it up for further discussion, eh?

Michelle Anne said...

Love this. And love you!

Joliene said...

I identify with this. I often feel like the system is rigged against us with how much our media places emphasis on looks, but it can be really hard not to get down on ourselves and to avoid comparing ourselves to others, whether it's people in our families, our friends, or celebrities. We always manage to compare the best of other people with the worst of ourselves, which isn't really helpful and is hard to remember in the moment. When we are so often comparing ourselves to our ideals, it's hard to stay in reality. I've been told, like Bri, to "just say thank you!" but I'm still terrible at it I'll probably always be.

Anyway, I feel like it's important to remember that we're always our own worst critics, although good luck with that because I can never remember that when it matters. BUT YOU WILL BECAUSE YOU ARE AWESOME.

Jen said...
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