Avoiding the Comparison Trap

Not being able to run for the past few weeks has definitely given me a lot of time to reflect on where I’m at in my training: what’s working, what’s not, and what running goals I want to achieve in the future. As a newer runner, I feel like the sky is the limit at this point and there is a lot of potential that I have yet to tap into in order to find out how good I can truly be at this sport. At the same time, having the Type-A, competitive personality that I do can sometimes make things a bit more difficult for me in terms of respecting my body’s limits and appreciating my own abilities when it comes to goal setting. I see runners hitting certain paces or running “X” number of miles everyday and sometimes question why I’m not at that point in my life. Why I’m stuck icing an icky ankle every night after working on hip strength while some of my friends are putting in killer runs that are preparing them to run some amazing races this season.

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I compare myself to other runners without knowing their backstories and what work they’ve done in the past to get to the moment they’re at now.

As someone who has also dealt with an eating disorder in my past, it seems like this same comparative behavior tends to follow me around and from time to time can put negative thoughts in my head as to why I’m not “good enough” to be a certain way or achieve certain goals. That negativity immediately triggers my brain to think that I need to work harder at something to achieve some sort of perfection that clearly isn’t (or shouldn’t be) attainable for me.

This, my friends, is the comparison trap and I can honestly say that I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with it over the course of my life. What I’ve learned is that the only way to truly avoid falling victim to this trap is to continuously remember to show yourself unconditional love and respect.

In order to beat my eating disorder, I had to work hard on accepting my body for what it is and how it’s meant to look. Once I was able to do this, eating became much more natural over time and I was able to put my health ahead of any body image issues that may have crept into the forefront of my mind from time to time. I finally found some self-respect and actually began to appreciate parts of my body that I had at one time considered flaws. I quit worrying about what others looked like and wishing I looked a certain way and just focused on being my best self.

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In society, it can be so very hard to avoid comparing yourself to others. With social media as prevalent as it is today, it can seem like some people lead perfect lives and cause us to wonder why we haven’t had similar achievements ourselves. But we must always remember that no matter how perfect someone may seem, we all have our struggles alongside our achievements. Instead of comparing and competing with each other, we should build each other up and love ourselves for the beautiful people God has made us to be.

So as I approach the day when I’ll finally lace up my running shoes and go all-in with my training, I’m vowing to continue to find grace and appreciation in my body’s ability to perform as it does and heal as it has to allow me to do a sport that I’ve come to love. You can bet I’ll push myself in training and racing and set very lofty goals, some of which I may never achieve. But I’ll do all of this to just try to be the best version of myself and reach MY full potential, not to match the full potential of others.

And as long as I maintain this focus, there’s no way I can lose:)

Thanks for the link up Amanda!
 

 

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12 thoughts on “Avoiding the Comparison Trap

  1. Loving your perspective! It’s incredibly difficult to avoid comparing ourselves to others, especially as females when we’re constantly told “this is how you’re supposed to be.” And it’s all a lie!

    The great news is that social media can be an incredibly positive tool, as well – building confidence and inspiration in others… just like this post!

    Thanks for being vulnerable and being a positive part of the conversation. 🙂
    XO, Jessica
    http://www.semisweettooth.com

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    • Thanks so much Jessica! And yes I totally agree–social media can have such a positive impact on people as well. I think it’s just so incredibly important for people to realize they should take pride in who they are rather than trying to mimic someone else. Thanks so much for reading and being part of the conversation!! 🙂

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  2. Sometimes it’s so difficult to not compare yourself, but you are so right. Everyone’s backstory is different and unique so you really have to focus on your strengths and be inspired by others. This is so hard in the age of social media, but that also makes it easier to get motivated from what others are doing. You gotta focus on you! You go girl!

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  3. I love the way that you worded this; I am in the same predicament right now with having to take time off from running, which is something I adore and falling victim to comparing myself to others. It does take a lot to step back and revaluate my mind set as well as put into perspective the situation and circumstances. But like you said, it will be worth it and we will get through it!

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  4. I agree, society makes it very difficult not to compare. Social media makes it even worse. For me it’s so hard to see someone running a 50K race and not second-guessing myself. But I’ve only run one marathon so I know it’s not possible and it’s ridiculous for me to compare myself. It sounds like you’ve got the right attitude (which a lot more people should adopt) to pull you through and steer you in the right direction.

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    • First off, congrats on finishing a marathon!! I think that’s a huge achievement in itself and can’t wait to get there in my own running career! I totally agree that it’s hard not to set high standards for ourselves when we see what other people are doing, but focusing on doing what’s right for me in terms of training has made such a difference and refocused me on what really matters in my life. Glad you recognize how important this is too 🙂

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  5. Love this post! It’s so easy to compare yourself to someone else, however, what we always need to remember is that we’re NOT supposed to be like anyone else! If we were all the same, the world would be a boring silly place!

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