I saw a TikTok the other day of a group of girls bashing their friend’s ex’s new girlfriend, and as I scrolled through the comments, I only found more girls encouraging this behavior. It made me sick to my stomach.
Never would I look at someone my ex is dating, or someone my current boyfriend dated before me, and tear them apart — especially not for something as shallow as their appearance or fashion sense.
As a woman, I know how it feels to be insecure, to compare myself to others and pick myself apart, wishing I had a different body type or thicker hair or a less crooked smile. I’ve spent too much money on new clothes to somehow fit in better or appear more put-together, invested in makeup I barely even know how to apply. And I’d be naive to say I haven’t been judged behind closed doors, because I have been right in front of my face and even publicly on the internet.
I’ve spent hours, days, months, YEARS hating my reflection, until finally, I decided it was the least important thing about me.
What about the career I’ve busted my ass for since before college? What about the way I’ve overcome countless struggles since childhood? What about the apartment I rent by myself, the book I wrote and published, the amazing people I’ve attracted into my life?
For every “flaw” you find in yourself, there is a quality or accomplishment more worthy of your energy.
I genuinely can say I wish every woman the absolute best. I don’t care who you are to me, whether you’ve wronged me in some way, or how you feel about me — I never want a single woman to struggle with self-confidence the way I have.
Women are beautiful — and not just on the outside. We’re unique and interesting and intelligent and strong as hell. We’re artists and athletes and entrepreneurs and bookworms and friends, mothers, lovers, sisters, daughters. We are enough as we are.
And so, I hope you don’t spend a single second of your time in a self-deprecating spiral because of something as trivial as your appearance. I hope you know that stretch marks and wrinkles are a sign of living and growing, that perfect teeth are merely those that help you eat the foods you enjoy, that an uneven complexion is normal, and extra weight on any part of your body is not something to be ashamed of, rather something to embrace in this superficial world.
You’re not too tall or too short, too thin or too curvy, too pale or too dark. You can’t be too much of yourself.
And I hope those who spend their time mocking other women find some peace. I know they are just hurting. I have been in their shoes; I think, as women, we all have. It’s true that those who are unhappy with themselves tend to project that onto others. But I promise, no matter how much you pick someone else apart, it will never help you feel whole.
If we want to put an end to this toxic, shallow culture, women have to support each other. It starts with us.