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?