Ever since I was young, I always found myself comparing myself to those around me, be it intellectually or physically. I always found myself wondering whether or not I was as beautiful as my peers, and upon encountering a bright student, I would not embrace their intelligence, but rather critique my own. In my mind, the presence of another’s accomplishments signified the absence of my own.

Although I’ve, for the most part, outgrown this mindset, I still find myself coming back to it time and time again-no matter how much effort I try to put into ridding myself of it.

I tend to be proud of my achievements. However, whenever I see somebody else who might be doing just a tad bit better, I feel threatened. I immediately go into fight or flight mode. I turn into a predator who has just caught a glimpse of its prey.

It’s disgusting. I acknowledge that it’s disgusting. Everything about that mindset is repulsive. Yet, why is it so widespread in society? Why am I not the only person who reacts to others’ success in such a way? Could it be something that we’ve been indoctrinated with?

Upon thinking about it, it seems so. It seems as though these morals are something that we are subconsciously taught by our environment. The values that we hold are a result of surrounding influences.

Once a parent compares their child to their peers in order to get them to behave, that’s all that they will know how to do.¬†Once somebody has grown up constantly being faced with unrealistically photoshopped models on magazines, and are taught that those models are the epitome of beauty, they will believe it. Once a child begins to be told that only the smartest and the prettiest survive, they will knock anything and anybody that might be in their way of achieving their goals, without a care in the world as to who gets hurt.

Whether these comparisons be for the wrong or right reasons, they definitely do end up harming the individual and consequently those around them as well. You see, I’ve come to the realization that a person is aware when one is comparing themselves to them. It’s not something that they are blind to.

At the end of the day, they know. They also might not appreciate the idea of their peers-maybe even friends-looking at them as competition. This competitive nature is not only dangerous but most definitely also ruins both potential and current friendships.

It’s time to put a stop to the cycle of this mindset that has been passed down from generation to generation. Especially in a world that already makes things so difficult for women. Rather than making things harder on us and tearing each other apart, we should be sticking together and embracing each other’s own unique qualities.