1. You’re comparing yourself to fake people
It’s expected that before we leave the house we at the very least, have showered, changed our clothes and fixed our hair. Most women, like myself, will put on a full face of makeup that looks nothing like we did when we woke up.
When you ask someone how they are, in north America at least, people usually don’t say “My life is a hot mess, I’m stressed, depressed, and I couldn’t fit into my jeans this morning because I had a massive serving of take-out last night as I cried over Facebook pics of people I went to high school with who seem to be doing so much better than me, so I feel like a fat looser and I’m embarrassed to be in public.” They say, “Good, you?”
In other words, aside from your best friends and family, you have not interacted with the authentic version of a person in a while. You have been interacting with polished, edited versions of people.
Nowadays especially, people put Photoshopped selfies online, and leave photos of that one cool 10 day trip they took among the other 355 days of "pure terrible" that the rest of the year had to offer. Since you only get to hear about their trip, and not the illness, debt, funerals and divorce, you think their life is better than yours.
2. You think other people see you the same way you see you
You are your biggest critic. You are hyper focused on things you perceive as flaws expecting everyone else to see what you see, but they don’t. A lot of the time people won’t even notice at all until you point it out to them in an attempt to mitigate the embarrassment.
The truth is that even if they notice something about you, nobody really cares anyway. They are all too focused on themselves. Even when they judge you, they are really judging themselves. People only judge others in comparison to themselves. If they judge you in comparison to a general standard, they would have to judge themselves in the same instance and that defeats the purpose. Judgment is a tool we use as humans to try to measure our standing in society and how likely it is that we will be accepted or rejected.
They're only looking at you in correlation to how they see themselves, and no matter how perfect or imperfect you may be people will see what they want to see. Even if the whole room agrees on what they are looking at, it's still not about you even if it makes you feel crappy... the good new is that you have total control over how you feel.
3. You have been taught to seek outer validation
As soon as you enter the school system, you’re taught that you need the teacher to tell you if you’re good enough. You have to act the way they want you to, dress the way they want you to, and not question their authority. You’re taught to compete with everyone around you, and in order to win the competition you have to be less of yourself and more of what you’re told to be. When you get to the workplace it’s more of the same.
TV and movies are full of characters who are richer, more successful, and more attractive than 90% of the population, and they all have flawless makeup and hair even while they are “sleeping”. Advertisements constantly tell you that you should hate yourself unless you buy their product to fix whatever fictitious life-altering problem they made up. Then you spend the rest of your life walking around in a sea of other people who have also been brainwashed to believe the same things.
We have been brainwashed into some mass form of body/life dysmorphia, and believe the only way to know where we stand is by the feedback we get from others. So we do things like get on tinder and feverishly swipe away to see what kind of people swipe right on us. The hotter they are the better we can feel about ourselves, for about 5 minutes until we realize that this hot profile picture who matched with us sucks as a person and might not even message us... because they are casting the same net for the same reasons.
4. You’re depressed or have trauma
Depression is caused by toxins, malnutrition, lack of vitamin D, sleep deprivation, sugar imbalance, dehydration, other causes of inflammation, and stress. Stress can be emotional, psychological, and physical. Stress can also be caused by trauma, and even if the traumatic incident happened along time ago it could still be causing you enough stress today to cause depression.
PTSD doesn’t only happen to soldiers. It happens for many reasons, especially abuse of all kinds. If you don’t heal the underlying cause of the stress, or PTSD, you may continue indefinitely to battle with depression and feelings of worthlessness and self-hate.
5. You have been disconnected from reality
You’ve been disconnected from the nature of reality and spirituality. You’re told the life you’re living is the only thing you’ll ever experience, you are your meat suit, only physical stuff is real and important, and that there is nothing beyond your tiny little box of understanding. Just make more money, buy stuff, and die.
The longer you live disconnected from greater purpose the longer you will have a gaping hole in your soul begging to be filled despite not knowing how to fill it. You’ll confuse the need for purpose with the need for validation, and admiration, and you will never feel whole. You will never feel enough.