One of the hardest things to constantly overcome is the comparing yourself to others. The feeling of not being enough and the second nature of jumping to comparing. It is a slippery slope that needs constant attention, so that you don’t go sliding into the abyss.
It can get so ugly, it starts off with clothes, job, finances. Then it gets even more dark and twisted as a parent when you have kids and the comparison game moves to breastfeeding, schools, etc. Then social media presents everyone’s best self and that is fuel to the comparison fire where reality is rarely presented *HIGHLIGHT REEL.
I struggle with posting my paces and finish times because I don’t want to people to decide what type of runner I am or compare my numbers to theirs. It feels like people are judging a book by its cover when they see XX miles with XX:XX pace.
Why am I so insecure about posting a mile/pace/time? So much is going on behind those digits that you don’t even see, it isn’t present nor explained. It is incredibly isolating, it brings up emotions of “I am not good enough” or “at least I am faster than him/her” or the dreaded “I could be doing more.” It is mentally unhealthy.
What the numbers don’t show:
- that I was up four times with a sick kid and only slept four hours
- I was emotionally exhausted from something that occurred before the run
- Something major has taken place and I am processing everything during the run
- I haven’t properly fueled my body for this workout
- Yesterday’s workout was a doozy and today my legs are still recovering
- I hit every stinking red light on this run and completely forgot to hit start a few times
- I forgot my ear pods, my phone died, no music.
- It was a struggle to just get out the door and I crawled to make that first mile even happen.
The numbers don’t show all of these factors, it just shows DISTANCE, PACE, TIME. But that is also how it goes with life, you only get things at face value and not the work/struggle/joy/frustration that happens behind the curtain.
NOTE TO SELF: Stop over explaining yourself. Just stop. There are no magic words that will make everyone happy with every decision you make. Just live your life and do your best. Don’t waste so much time justifying yourself.Nanea Hoffman
The hardest part is to wrap your brain around that it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to explain yourself each run or give excuses or explanations as to why the pace was faster than normal or slower. People don’t need to see behind the numbers, just digits, and giving your best for that day.
What you need to remind yourself when you begin to compare:
- Everyone goes through the same emotions, highs and lows at different times. But WE ALL go through the emotions.
- We all toed that start line with anxiety, fear, exhilaration. No one can escape these feelings, recognizing that we share this can battle comparing.
- Being vulnerable and showing my time is actually an act of courage and letting people see who I really am and how hard I am working. (super scary but the outcome is worth it.)
- I want to change this conversation and you can too. When you stop comparing and start putting your authentic self forward, you are showing others that it is okay to step out of the comparison shadow.
It is all the same distance, don’t apologize for your process and celebrate that we are all happy strong people who showed up for ourselves. It can be really difficult but going forward with grace for others and practicing not comparing yourself can only bring a freedom. Freedom to be yourself and to accept others as they are.
Do you struggle with comparisons? Do you have another way to combat the war on comparing? Let me know in the comments I’d love to hear it.