Falling Into The Comparison Trap

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Hi, guys!

Today, I want to chat about something that I feel is super important – falling into that ugly little rabbit hole, the comparison trap. Now, I’m not opposed to some healthy motivation – and watching someone else kick-ass can inspire you to do the same. It actually inspires me ALL the time! The problem comes when we start living for “keeping up with the Joneses” and forget all of the awesome (and imperfect) things that make our lives as wonderful as they are.

I love that social media gives me the opportunity to connect with all of you in real-time. It also allows us to share ideas and support – I’ve made some truly amazing friends through the Internet, and there is not one day that goes by where I don’t learn something new from my Instagram feed. But, as with most things, there is a downside.

It’s like being at the gym, working out next to someone who is killing it and using their energy to inspire you. I’m not opposed to this kind of motivation at all. In fact, I want to surround myself with people who bring out the best in me, both in the gym and out. But while you can leave the gym, social media can’t be turned off. It’s always accessible on your phone, laptop, and tablet – anyone else guilty of the nighttime scroll? It’s so easy to come across glimpses into people’s health, weight loss, and fitness journeys at all times of the day – meaning there is always someone to compare yourself to.

One of my favorite quotes is “comparison is the thief of joy,” and you’ve probably heard it before. There is so much truth to it, but it’s also stealing so much from us and we might not even be aware. That said, below are a few of the things that we’re allowing comparison to take when we let it get out of control.

It’s the thief of progress

Comparing yourself to others can be a major time-suck. And, before you know it, you’ve wasted hours focusing on someone else’s accomplishments instead of your own. Time and energy are limited resources in our busy lives, and it takes a whole lot of both to constantly worry about what other people are doing. Don’t waste those precious resources – spend them on achieving your own goals, whether it’s personally, professionally, or in the gym. The only person whose progress matters is your own!

It’s the thief of self-confidence

Earlier in my fitness journey, there were plenty of times where I’d kill a CrossFit workout and feel super proud of myself for pushing myself. But then… my eyes would stray to the next person’s score on the white board, and I would immediately begin comparing myself.

“They lifted more than I did.”

“They finished faster than I did.”

“They look fitter than I do.”

In the matter of minutes, that happy feeling of crushing my own workout was deflated, and instead of leaving the gym feeling proud, I’d head home defeated.

Over time, I realized how silly and unproductive these thoughts were. We’re all in different parts of our journeys, and my best is not going to be the same as someone else’s or vice versa. Now, I’ve trained myself to consciously keep my eyes on the prize – my own progress! My new motto in the gym is:“I’m just here to work out.” 🙂 Comparing ourselves to others in the gym or out can seriously affect our self-confidence, and we should be working to boost ourselves up, not tear ourselves down!

It is the thief of ambition

There will always be someone better than you at something. There. I said it. Sounds harsh, but it’s the truth, and the sooner we accept it, the easier our lives will become. We can’t always win at everything, all of the time, and trying to will ultimately be a huge waste of time because there are just some things that are just beyond our control. On the flip side, it could be easy to throw in the towel and tell yourself: “I’m never going to be the best anyway, so why even try?” That’s a huge self-defeating mindset and can prevent us from doing wonderful things in our lives. Focus on working hard and do your best – and trust that everything will fall into place. Even simply having a positive mindset can change how things will go! 

It truly is the thief of joy

Comparison can lead us to become totally consumed by thinking that someone else is better or someone else has it better. The truth is that no matter how perfect someone’s life looks, it’s not. We all have struggles, some are just more hidden than others. I mean, social media, in particular, is just the highlight real of someone’s life. We all have our own sh*t to deal with, and I hope more people will realize this. 

When I find myself falling back into the comparison trap, I pause and think about all the things I am grateful for – my health, my family, the opportunity to wake up and do what I love everyday. Our lives are wonderful because of imperfection, not in spite of it! Instead of comparison, we should practice compassion for ourselves and others. We don’t know what others go through, but what we do know is that we all face difficulties and a little kindness can go a long way.

Question of the Day

Your turn! What are your thoughts on the comparison trap? 

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8 Comments

  1. I couldn’t love this post more!!!! It is SO hard not to compare ourselves to others when it’s constantly around us. It’s hard to just use ourselves as the measuring stick, but much more productive! It’s a constant battle for me. <3 Thank you for this post and the reminder that all of this comparing really does steal from us!

  2. I saw this quote on FB the other day… “A flower does not think about competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms” Maybe you even posted it? I tell my kids all the time that comparison is a happiness killer. As adults we should know that social media only highlights the best of everyone’s experiences but kids don’t quite get that yet. No one snapchats about the test they failed, or the party they were not invited to, or the pimple they have. It’s all the good stuff. Even as an adult, I always need to keep myself in check as well. I’m learning to just be happy for others and their achievements. They have their journey and I have mine. Their successes are not my failures. Great post.

  3. I wrote a blog post on this too last year from a Christian perspective. Comparison and coveting do not lead to gratitude and thankfulness. http://Www.simplysatisfied.me

    I hope more people realize this!

    It’s why I’m not on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. My mind wasn’t in a healthy place on those platforms. I pray more people can have a healthier view and if they need to cancel their accounts to save their mind and fight for joy then do it!!

  4. This is a great reminder for all of us! Thanks.
    On a different note, in your Instagram post about the Athleta shirt Mal encouraged you to buy, can you tell me where you got that great tote bag?

  5. I try to remember this when I work out. I’m fitter now at 42 than when I was younger. I go to the gym for me and to keep moving.

  6. I think posts like this are really important for people to read right now – comparing ourselves to others doesn’t help us grow and be the best we can be!! So natural to be inspired by others, but sometimes it can be hard to apply that in a healthy way to our own lives.

  7. THANK YOU, TINA! This is so much needed for me right now. I know I am a bit late on catching up here but life has been a bit crazy lately. I used to be super active on Instagram with my yoga community and following and then all of a sudden, I found myself terrified to even open the app on my phone for fear of comparison and depression. I think reading this post and what you wrote is the inspiration and motivation I needed to open it again. The truth is, I must focus on all of the positivity and energy that my Instagram connections give me instead of seeing it all in jealousy and frustration that my health and strength and journey is not where I want it to be right now.
    Again, thank you, and keep shining like you do!

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