I’m sure you’ve watched reels or read posts stating, “Don’t compare yourself to others.” Oh, okay. Thanks for the tip. I’ll quit doing that right now. While this idea sounds like heaven, I believe it’s a toxic statement that influence peddlers tout. It’s really bothers because it’s just not that easy. I’m pretty sure I’m even guilty of letting this lame statement fly out of my mouth a time or two. And for that, I APOLOGIZE. I’m sure I meant no harm. Honesty is the best policy. So, with total transparency, I’ll admit I’m guilty of comparing myself to others – on the daily. It’s not like I’m proud of this, but it’s true. I don’t intentionally seek out comparisons each morning when I wake up from a shoddy peri-menopausal slumber. Still, it’s pretty flipping hard not to go down the rabbit hole when your intentions are to better yourself. Comparison is part of human nature. So, while it’s really fucking annoying and harmful to one's view of self, I’m not throwing my hands up in failure. Obviously, comparing ourselves to others isn’t suitable for many reasons. We should continue to work on kicking this nasty habit. Still, it’s not easy to eliminate it from our lives… no matter how badly we want it. On the upside, knowing this shitty little behavior will undoubtedly creep into my thoughts is a big win for my self-awareness. Recognizing comparisons as they happen gives me the power to reframe my thoughts. I do this by peeling back all the layers until I can identify what I’m measuring myself against. I can then use that realization to better myself, i.e., set a goal, change a habit, etc. SIDE NOTE: Please keep this in mind, not every comparison you make is going to lead to a life-altering epiphany. When I see a young beauty on the beach, yep… I compare myself to her. Who wouldn’t love to have the boobs of a 25-year-old? I did have those boobs 20 years ago, and I should have loved them more back then. But I’m 45 years old and don’t want to undergo surgical intervention. So, guess what? I’m not going to do a damn thing about this except maybe get a better bra. I’m smarter than my inner critic, and you are too – don’t let it take control of your every thought. Imagine me walking over to the rack of dumbbells at the gym. I secretly side-eye my peers to see what weights they’re picking up and compare my choice to the woman in front of me. She picks up the 10 kgs (22 lbs.) as I grab the 7.5 kg (15 lbs.) weights – I think, “I’m weak.” While I should literally give no shits as to what other people at the gym are lifting, the real issue is that I want to be stronger. Yes, during those few seconds, I’m comparing myself to her because she’s the one with the ability to lift heavier weights. Still, I don’t necessarily want to be her… I crave the strength to work out with the dumbbells she chose. And to be quite honest… I want to confidently walk up to that rack of weights and choose even heftier ones than she did. My desire has nothing to do with her (I might add, there’s no doubt she’s a badass who's on her own personal journey to lift those heavy weights with pride.) – when I get to the source of my issue, it simply has everything to do with me wanting to be stronger. In the moment, I’m measuring my current capabilities against hers, and that’s not an apples-to-apples appraisal. Now that I’ve uncovered my true why – to be stronger – it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and act by stating a goal. I recommend making it a SMART one – SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT, AND TIME-BASED . I set my goal - To consistently use the 10 kg weights for all dumbbell snatch exercises within six months. Next, it’s time to figure out how to smash my goal. Maybe it begins by sprinkling heavier weights into my workout once a week for a month. Then, I add another day of heavy weights into my weekly workout plan each subsequent month. It most likely won’t be comfortable (growth never is), and there is a chance I will complain a lot. I might be the last to finish a workout or not finish at all – but dammit, I’ll be using the 10 kg weights and building my strength. As the weeks go by, I’ll begin to see results and know I’m making the gains I had initially wished for all those months ago. A side-effect of working to shift comparison is confidence building because goal setting pushes us out of our comfort zones. I don’t like to say things get easier because they usually don’t; we get better at or more comfortable with the task. Some days, the struggle is real, so we might have some backslides here and there. If this happens, we must remember our why (statement of purpose) to help put a spotlight on our goal’s importance and get us back on track. Two other aspects of smashing goals are consistency and accountability. In the case of my example, it wouldn’t be a good idea to start throwing around weights that are too heavy for me. I could hurt myself. But by working on it regularly, I’ll get there – maybe it will take more time than I thought (hey, shit happens). Just keep going. Also, I wholeheartedly believe that having an accountability partner can be crucial to success. By partnering with someone (a friend, a coach, etc.) and voicing my ambitions, the other person can be by my side for the journey and help nudge me when needed. So, here’s my theory… The next time you compare yourself to that perfect mom, co-worker extraordinaire, or Insta powerhouse who always seems to have their shit together, ask yourself this – WHAT IS THE ROOT OF MY COMPARISON? Challenge yourself to get past the topical BS and figure out your why. Oh, FYI – she’s probably fighting her own battles of comparison. Who knows… she might even be comparing herself to you. I bet your why will have little to nothing to do with the knee-jerk comparison you’ve just made. If what you discovered really gets under your skin, for the love of all things good in the world… do something about it. If it doesn’t, acknowledge the thought and move on – no need to dwell. But if the same comparison keeps popping up, that might be a sign you need to reflect more to reveal your true why. I always say doing the work is hard. I mean, what did you expect? Showing up for yourself consistently, building confidence, and leaning into the things that challenge you will bring you great joy. The work will teach you resilience and perseverance too. But the best part is the next time you encounter that person, you won’t compare yourself to them because you’ll be too busy focusing on you.
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