Head Girl, Matric peer guide and much more
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall... Who is the fairest of them all?”
Whilst this famous line is taken from a fairytale, a story full of magic and fantasy, it got me thinking about a very real issues in society today: the way in which we often compare ourselves to others.
“She always gets full marks! No matter how hard I work, I’ll never be as smart as her.”
“Everyone loves him - he has so many friends. It must be nice to be so popular.”
“She’s so stunning and she has the nicest outfits ever. I wish I looked like her.”
This is something we are all guilty of from time to time. After all, it's only natural to take note of the differences between ourselves and others - however, when we start to devalue ourselves because of these comparisons, it can be extremely damaging. Whether we are comparing our fashion sense, the way we look, the amount of friends we have or our abilities, it's important to remember that we are all unique. As individuals, we need to acknowledge our own self-worth before we get so caught up in admiring other people’s lives that we forget to enjoy our own.
These type of comparisons can lead to jealousy, dissatisfaction with oneself or the feeling that you just aren’t good enough. In Snow White, the princess’s stepmother is extremely disappointed to discover that she is not the most beautiful maiden in the land. The queen’s own insecurities lead to a feeling of extreme jealousy - something that could have been avoided if she had learned to accept who she was instead of constantly comparing her beauty to the beauty of those around her.
And in reality, sometimes the glass making up our mirrors is obscured. We are often exposed to images of supermodels or celebrities that may not accurately represent reality. Magazines, advertising companies and social media are often guilty of manipulating images to make their subjects fit into the box labelled by society as “desirable” - even if this means they have to make bodies look skinnier, hair look shinier, teeth look whiter or skin look smoother. And consequently, we end up comparing ourselves to made-up figures rather than real-life people. We end up comparing ourselves to the impossible.
Of course, it's okay to have role models - there’s nothing wrong with a little inspiration! But we can’t forget to love who we are at the same time! And while it’s alright to aspire to be like somebody else, we shouldn’t try to become somebody else. If you admire somebody because they are extremely kind, healthy, intelligent or successful, nobody is stopping you from working hard to achieve those things. But we have to be careful not to sacrifice our own qualities - the things that make us special and the things people admire about us - along the way.
We need to embrace who we are and celebrate our differences! Perhaps instead of having the attitude of Snow White’s stepmother, we need to wake up each day with a smile on our faces, look in the mirror and say: “You. Yes you! You’re the fairest of them all!”