The Red Jacket

I recently had the opportunity to observe two women try on the same beautiful little red jacket. This jacket was awesome. First, it was red. Second, it was leather. Third, it was cool.

I saw a mature woman stop and look at this jacket. She held it up and examined it. You could tell she really liked the jacket and was deciding whether or not she should try it on.  Of course, the jacket won out and she took it into the fitting room. 

While the mature woman was in the fitting room, a young woman (probably early 20's) was shopping with her mom, stopped at the red jacket, grabbed it and proceeded to try it on. She looked absolutely adorable in it. 

While the young woman was looking at herself in the 3 way mirror outside the fitting room, the mature woman came out of the fitting room with the red jacket on to look at herself in the same mirror. When she saw the young woman in front of the mirror with the identical jacket on, she immediately turned around went back into the fitting room, took the jacket off and put it back on the rack and left.

 Now both woman looked great it the jacket. It was just an awesome jacket. When the older woman saw the younger woman in the jacket, she immediately compared herself to the younger woman, decided that she didn't look the same or "as good", took it off and left. I felt so sad as I watched the mature woman walk away, looking defeated. She could not get leave fast enough. If she only knew how amazing the jacket looked on her. I wish she could have seen what others saw. She saw a young woman in a jacket who looked adorable. She didn't see a mature woman in the jacket that looked beautiful.

As women we are constantly comparing ourselves. We are all different and unique. That is a good thing yet we compare ourselves like we are comparing cake and ice cream. I love cake and I love ice cream. They are different. Yes, they are desserts, well, at least that is how they are classified, but I enjoy them both for different reasons.

We must fight to crush comparison. It does nothing but steal our joy. It has us look at what we don't have instead of what we have, leaving us feeling inadequate, not good enough, or even a failure. None of these are words we want to use to describe ourselves yet we use them more than we think. 

Imagine if we encouraged each other, cheered each other on, embraced our differences and used them to support and learn from each other. Think about the impact this would have not only on ourselves but on others.

It starts with us. It is not easy. It is a big task. It takes courage. It is a process that requires time and help. Most of us have years of baggage to unpack. We will backslide. I still do. The beautiful thing is I have people in my life that I trust enough and have permission to call me out when I do.

We need each other.   We need the strengths and gifts of others as much as they need ours. 

So be courageous. Take the first step in crushing comparison by encouraging, supporting, or complimenting another woman today. We don't know the baggage she carries. You may just lighten her load, even if it is only for a moment. And in turn, you will lighten yours.