When his head was turned by a flat stomach and a bigger cup size, naturally that played into some of my most historically rooted insecurities. It hit me like a bus at first: my inadequacy, my not-good-enough. All the disgust and self hate, all the hurt from all those times I had ever punished myself for not being enough came flooding forward like a tidal wave and floored me.

But after that storm cleared, there was a lot of clarity.

I feel no hate, not for myself or any other girl. There is still no competition. Everybody knows you can’t lose a game you were never playing.

A lifetime of insecurity and internalising other people’s behaviour, believing others’ actions had anything to do with my own worth.. It’s so obvious now how wrong I’ve been in believing that every problem lies with me. It’s so obvious how wrong I’ve been not to deeply, passionately love myself.

I’m aware that a lot of girls would be crushed in this situation, but I honestly feel more strengthened in my self-esteem than ever. I don’t need to start questioning my value, because it’s fucking obvious. I have it on miles of reliable authority that I am a pretty universally loved person, and the only way you achieve that is by being halfway decent and making an effort. To be irreplaceable, you have to make yourself that way. Of course I’ve made mistakes and done shitty things I’m not proud of but I’ve always owned my actions, looked at my shortcomings and learned from them. I do good things for people I care about, not out of obligation but because I feel deep love for everyone that means something to me.

Fundamentally there’s just a lot about me; I finally feel more comfortable in that fact than I ever have.

I feel more strengthened by friendships than I ever have. I realise that I’ve been surrounded by fuckingmagnificent women of late, all of them wise and beautiful and uplifting. All of them inspiring in their own rights, kind and warm and fiercely loving.

And that’s the real measure of someone. Putting yourself in competition with your sisters is futile, because all of us with any sense have grown way past playing that game. It’s like you’re congratulating yourself ‘cos you think you’re winning Monopoly, when us Queens are chilling over here with our heads buried in a Scrabble board. They’re just two different mindsets, and I know which one I prefer.

You can’t run from pain in life, and you shouldn’t want to. I don’t run from pain in the gym – if it hurts, I go through it because I know it makes me stronger and fitter and more capable. Life is the same. I’ve gone through a rough month but I’ve stared it straight in the face – it’s all been entirely necessary to get to the girl I’m growing into. Without it, I’d have remained in a very dusty, boring comfort zone, and nothing worthwhile ever comes out of a comfort zone.

I will continue to love and celebrate the girls around me, just as enthusiastically as I love and celebrate myself.

I’m down for a year of building myself. No more compromising the best parts of who I am – no more shrinking or watering myself down.

This year is for fearlessness: living even bigger and loving even harder.

Remember, ‘comparison is the thief of joy’. Next time you feel like you’re not measuring up, remember that the scale only exists in our heads. We’re probably all just as intimidated by each other, we just never admit it.

Shawn Sanderson
Contributor 

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