You are SPECIAL
How to focus on your own image and avoid comparing yourself to others
SIYANDA and Amaya Morgan are identical twins. Growing up, the sisters were inseparable, did almost everything together and saw themselves as one. They chose the same subjects in high school and even played the same sports. Both sisters wanted to study architecture. However, only Siyanda was granted university entrance at the University of Cape Town (UCT) to study architecture, but Amaya was accepted at the University of the Witwatersrand to study drama. Amaya declined the offer as she felt she wouldn't be able to cope in an unfamiliar environment without her sister.
COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
It's clear that Amaya was struggling to find her own identity without comparing herself to her sister.
When you compare yourself to others, you constantly measure your strengths, weaknesses and sometimes even your physical qualities to other people and you try to find to what extent you are similar or different to the other person.
This can be a celebrity you admire, a friend or even someone in your family. Comparing yourself can easily turn into an obsession and you may find yourself working hard trying to become like that person so much that you even start to critically observe how they do things, what they wear, the places they go to and how they look physically.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T COMPARE YOURSELF
Barbara Lancaster, a child and family therapist based in Johannesburg, says it is important to know that we are all from different backgrounds, raised differently and we develop differently.
Even twins are individuals. You are one of a kind and therefore you can never become like the next person.
When you are constantly looking for your own qualities and strengths in someone else, you can never be able to develop and strengthen your own. You may even start thinking that you are not good enough when you fail to reach where there other person is.
IS IT ALWAYS A BAD THING?
There are ways in which comparisons can be done right. This means that you look up to the next person, not to criticise yourself but to build yourself. You draw inspiration and motivation from them to become a better you. They might have achieved things like better grades in school or gotten fitter, so you also start to develop a healthy lifestyle and work harder towards improving your academics.
“You should be prepared to pay the price for achieving the good things. For example, if you want to improve your grades, you should be willing to work hard and if you want to live a healthier lifestyle, you should be prepared to exercise and eat healthy food,” says Barbara.
BUILD YOUR OWN PERSONAL IMAGE
Acknowledge that you are an individual, with your own strengths and weaknesses and nurture your skills and talents and never stop believing in them.
Kashiefa Gool, an intake specialist, at a rehab and counselling centre, We Do Recover, says it is better to compare yourself with yourself because what you think of yourself is not dependent on others.
“Take control of how you understand social media, do not let it control you,” warns Kashiefa.