How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Unrealistic Beauty Standards

We live in a society where appearance is everything. As much as the body-positive movement has had a great impact on the lives of many, the unrealistic beauty standards we see in the media can still affect how we look at ourselves. And, sadly, social media has just exacerbated this (via Total Wellness Magazine). All you need is to scroll through Zendaya's Instagram, for example, and one can't help but ask themselves, "Why can't I look like that?" Asking yourself this doesn't mean you can't find some beauty in your looks, but just the fact that you're questioning it and, ultimately, comparing yourself is proof that our culture's idea of what's beautiful will always be ingrained in us. As much as we may try to rise above and shake it out of our system.


"We all compare ourselves to others," writes Yanet Vanegas Psy.D. for Psychology Today. "It's a default of human nature." While it's the default of human nature, it's still something we should strive to overcome — not only for our own mental health but also because it gives the middle finger to the culture that has manipulated us into thinking that their idea of beauty is the only type of beauty that matters.

Realize there is no one way to be beautiful

As the old adage says, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this is very true. While there will always be those who fit into society's ideal about beauty (hello, Timothée Chalamet), it doesn't mean that his beauty is for everyone. While Timothée is a real work of art in the eyes of many, there are also others who don't agree — and that's how beauty works. Also, beauty is, as much as this is a cliché, only skin deep.


"When a person has a positive body image, they understand that their sense of self-worth does not depend on their appearance," writes Yvette Brazier for Medical News Today. Brazier also goes on to quote The Body Positive organization, which focuses on people breaking the habit of comparing themselves to others: "Beauty is not a single image, but the active embodiment and celebration of the self."

This is something everyone should take to heart. You will be beautiful to many, and you won't be beautiful to others — just like you will find beauty in some and not find an ounce of it in someone else.

Try to see beauty from a different perspective

You are here and alive. You're taking up space in the world, and you matter. You have eyes that have seen so much, a brain full of memories, and a body that's gotten you here, there, and everywhere in between — that, alone, is beautiful. The fact that you have a heart in your chest that pumps blood into your arteries is beautiful. Thinking this way will give you a different take on beauty.


As you try this approach to beauty, also realize that comparing yourself to edited images is doing far more damage than you may realize (via Insider). It affects our mental health in ways that we may not be even cognizant of. "Being exposed to these images, even briefly, can trigger body shame, body dissatisfaction, depression, anxiety, and eating disordered attitudes and behaviors," Renee Engeln Ph.D. writes for Psychology Today. And, as Engeln also notes, even if we don't want to compare ourselves to the images we see in the media and don't think we actively are, they're still having an impact on us.

No one is perfect, nor should anyone strive to be perfect. Perfection isn't just overrated but is actually boring. It's our idiosyncrasies, our quirks, the freckle below our eye, our uneven smile, and our loud laughter that comes from our bellies that's beautiful. It's about getting to that point where this idea of beauty is the only one that's at the forefront of your mind. When you do, you'll see that comparing yourself to unrealistic beauty standards is no longer something you do; you've decided to see past that and that, in itself, is beautiful.