The Comparison Game

What happens when you do your best, and it just doesn’t feel good enough?

You lift a new PR. You receiving a standing ovation at your recital. You cook a tasty dinner.

But that weight on the barbell isn’t nearly as much as your sister’s deadlift. And your throat did creak a little on that last note. And the sweet potato fries come out a touch burnt. You’re left feeling: I should have done more. I should have done better.

I’ve tried to get away from comparing others’ successes to mine. Not going to lie, it’s hard. Sometimes, it’s near impossible. But this week, I found some great articles and links that are helping me on my journey to unconditionally loving myself.

Five Tips for Stopping the Comparison Game:

1. Appreciate the struggle. 

“You have to learn to appreciate the moments along the way that you DID feel ‘good enough.’ There are ALWAYS going to be people that are better than you, especially in the sport of CrossFit…. You went through the struggle to get there. You put in the work to get there. Be proud of what you have done. I am proud of myself and my accomplishments no matter how they compare, because I know what it took to get them.”

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I’m not personally into CrossFit, but this article spoke to how we neglect our efforts. You put in hard work, day in and day out, to get where you are today. Maybe you’re not completely all the way to your personal “finish line,” but that doesn’t mean every little success has gone to waste. We are buildings, constructed of blocks that are cemented into place slowly–not all at once.

2. Don’t apologize for your body.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to friends say how much they admire someone else’s body, only to  say, “Oh, but I wouldn’t like to look like you.” Whether it’s because you’re “too” skinny, muscular, curvy, busty, etc., someone else’s comments shouldn’t make you have to justify what you look like. Don’t apologize for who you are. Gabby sums it up eloquently: “Own that shit.”

3. Take a reality check.

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What you see isn’t always the complete truth. This Instagram picture by one of my favorite bloggers over at eatmoveimprove.fitnessguru.com shows a lovely transformation that happened in… 30 seconds. Yep, all it takes is a new pose and some lighting to make your “before” picture turn into an “after.”

Like Antonia says: “What people tend to forget is that on Instagram and other social media, people only show their best, most flattering side. People on social media only show the second picture, the one that will get the likes…I am beautiful on both of them and I accept myself unconditionally on both of them!”

4. Focus on who you are right now, and find friends love that too.

Stress is as familiar to us as our own names. We allow negative comments and thoughts to pile up. We think if we spend just a few more minutes at the gym, if we don’t let ourselves have that cookie, if we lose maybe one…or two… or five more pounds then we’ll somehow be more lovable.

Not true. People should love you for what you can do this very instant. Not who you might one day be, or what you might one day do. You shouldn’t measure your success based on future plans, but on what you’ve already done. I’m not saying to abandon your dreams, but don’t stress yourself out over the little things. One meal isn’t going to undue your life. Those numbers on the scale aren’t going to magically drop to a number that will guarantee love. One misstep isn’t going to mean you can never be successful again.

5. Make a list of all the reasons you deserve to love yourself.

I’m all for writing things down. By putting down reasons you are amazing, you have physical proof to help you through the times when those fantastic qualities are hard to see.

Antonia, just like in her above Instagram picture, discusses her recovery from an eating disorder. She wrote down a life list, detailing all the reasons she deserved to get better. The same could work for anyone. It may seem corny or cliche, but the written word has lasting power when our thoughts become a jumble.

Do you struggle with comparing yourself to others? What are some ways you stop the comparison game? 

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