'Comparison is the thief of joy'.
Truisms for life in general, yes? I can’t help but think, though, how apropos this statement is with respect to a person’s individual natural hair journey. A “code of conduct”, if you will, for the natural hair community. You cannot truly enjoy your own beautiful natural hair if you’re steadily comparing yourself to others.
Now, in no way am I saying that admiring someone else’s hair means that you don’t love your own. But it’s one thing to look at someone in admiration and another to constantly wonder why someone’s hair is so awesome and yours isn’t. Follow what I’m saying? The more you compare, the more you stress and beat yourself up about the plight of your hair which may not even be a plight in the first place. Not only is this a counterproductive practice but it causes discouragement and frustration.
I’ve Been There, Girl!
I’ll be completely transparent and tell you that I, too, had a bit of a struggle with comparisons. During my second year of wearing my hair in its natural state, I had what I now call “Growth Rate Envy”. I stared at natural hair vloggers, well, one in particular, who had major “hang time” thinking, “Wait! She’s been natural just as long as I have and her hair is THAT long?! WUDDUPWITDAT?!” It bothered me for a hot minute and I realized I’d better get it together quick! But how would I overcome this? How can YOU?
This helped a bunch! Instead of continuing to get bent out of shape that my hair was not as long as this particular vlogger, I thought of the reasons why we were not even close to having the same length even though we both “started from the bottom”. Lifestyle, diet and genetics are just some of the things that can affect growth rate. We’re not identical, so why should our hair be?
Reassess & Adjust
Instead of gazing longingly at the end results, think about what it took for these girls to get their hair to that point! Many started with a big chop just like you and have done research and developed a regimen to help them achieve and maintain healthy hair. Have you? In my case, I used this vlogger’s journey as a source of inspiration. I looked at her general hair care practices and thought about what I could do to get my own hair in the best shape possible, given my own circumstances. Ask yourself, “Am I really taking the best care of my hair? Is there anything I could be doing better or differently?” Be honest!
Stop Looking at Others
Out of sight, out of mind! In this age of social media, it’s easier said than done. But if you find that you just can’t switch off the hair envy, you may just need to go cold turkey and stop watching those YouTube vids or scrolling through IG pics to keep your mind off of what everyone else is doing. Keep the lusciously bountiful curls, fancy updos and effortless (looking) wash & gos out of your face and there’ll be nothing to compare yourself to. Just sayin’.
Learn and Love YOUR Hair!
If you love something or someone, don’t you do your best to care for it or that person as best as possible? The more you get to know your own hair, the more you will learn to love it and all the beautiful things it can do. You’ll be more encouraged to do what’s needed to keep it healthy, which is the most important thing.