You are SPECIAL

How to fo­cus on your own im­age and avoid com­par­ing your­self to oth­ers

Move! - - TEEN ZONE - By Bonolo Modise

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.

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