Comparison is the thief of confidence

You wake up on the right side of the bed, your pesky pimple faded overnight, it’s a good hair day, you’re wide-eyed and ready to slay the day. 

Until you tap on Instagram to find Barbie’s doppelgänger has posted a selfie. 

You start to notice other blemishes, how your hair is slightly frizzy and realize you look like Barbie’s manufactured error. 

The self-confidence you woke up with immediately dimmed once you compared yourself to someone else. 

This is an experience most of us deal with daily, yet we continue to indulge in our social feeds. This led me down a rabbit hole to answer: How do we praise others without inevitably comparing them to ourselves? 

I was taught self-confidence from as early as I can remember. My mom would place me in front of the mirror while doing my hair and sing, “Who’s the prettiest girl I know? Sadie, Sadie, Sadie Jo.” My ego grew as I did, and I dressed the part. 

She installed self-esteem rituals in me and allowed me to present myself the way I wanted. I wore obnoxious colors, glitter, sequins and sparkles, flashy earrings and a vigorous side part. I never doubted myself; I believed what my mom told me: I was pretty. 

Along came the storm of puberty. I questioned everything. Why do my cheeks resemble chipmunks when other girls’ don’t? Why is my nose as big as their feet? Why are they growing and I’m the same height? Why do they get to wear braces and I’m left to chomp with my buck teeth?

Fast forward to the following decade of my life — my questions multiplied with every year I aged. The more women I encountered within the physical and online world led me unable to think highly of myself. The parts of me I loved the most were invisible once I saw them look better on someone else. 

I thought I was taking all the correct steps, but once I chose confidence rather than simply wanting it, I leapt. 

I remember sitting face-to-face with a mentor of mine and finally breaking my seal. I told her about each part of me I poked and prodded. She didn’t see what I saw, but she listened. She slipped me a piece of paper and told me to write down every single flaw I saw in myself. It was hard and humbling, but then she gave me another sheet. She told me to write down what I loved about each flaw, and how they made me, me

It completely changed my perspective.

Each time my inner dialogue caught me comparing, I forced myself to say something good. Each lingering insecurity was placed next to a security; each compliment I gave, I sent a compliment through my own head. 

I was able to appreciate the beauty in someone else while embracing my own, which is entirely the point. Confidence isn’t believing you are better than others, but rather sharing a pedestal with them. We are all individuals for a reason, and what makes us unique is what makes us special. 

Coming to terms with this isn’t as simple as a click of a button, but once you realize there is enough room in the world for each of us to shine individually, confidence finds you.

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at

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