Comparison is the thief of joy. This is one my all-time favorite quotes. Have you ever been having an amazing day or feeling super great about yourself or something you accomplished and then all of the sudden, it hits. You compare yourself to someone else and you instantly deflate like a balloon that’s been poked with a needle? You suddenly don’t feel so accomplished and you start to question everything about yourself.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve had this phenomenon happen to me more times than I care to admit, in various areas of my life. There have been times in my life where comparison literally sucked the joy out of so many of my favorite activities. One example is powerlifting. I LOVE lifting weights. It brings me so much pleasure, relieves my stress, and makes me feel tremendously powerful. When I first starting working with a strength coach, it was awesome. My technique improved, and I increased all of my lifts. I was feeling so awesome about my accomplishments. I could squat 315 pounds, deadlift over 350 pounds, and bench press over 150 pounds. Pretty cool numbers right? Well then I started looking at what everyone else was doing. Following other female strength athletes on social media, paying attention to other women at my gym and how much they were lifting, and suddenly I wasn’t feeling so hot about myself anymore. It didn’t matter that I had accomplished some pretty cool stuff. Suddenly, I felt like I wasn’t enough. I felt insecure and totally bummed (clearly for no good reason). I stopped lifting for the joy of it and made it all about getting bigger numbers, mainly to try to keep up with other people. Long story short, I ended up completely miserable.
As women, I think it’s really easy for us to be susceptible to comparison. I absolutely love social media. It gives us the ability to connect with and meet people from all over the world. But, if we’re not careful, it’s an easy way for comparison to creep in. You’re scrolling through Instagram looking at women with perfect bodies, amazing hair, and flawless makeup while you’re in sweatpants, a t shirt, and your hair in a messy bun, and you can quickly begin to question yourself and your ENTIRE life. But here’s the thing about social media, it’s just a highlight ream. The majority of people show you their best. And I’m not saying that’s good or bad (because let’s be honest, I’m not posting any pictures of myself when I just rolled out the bed either), it’s just the truth. And it doesn’t just have to be about looks or strength. You can compare your career, your skills and abilities, your wardrobe, your relationship, heck just about anything. But the bottom line is, it’s totally counterproductive and downright stupid, if I’m being completely honest.
So how did I overcome comparison? For one, I had to change my mindset. I developed a mindset of gratitude and abundance. I had to decide to be grateful and appreciative of all that I am and all that I have the ability to do. I had to realize that my accomplishments are amazing regardless of what anyone else is doing. I had to understand and accept that I am enough. I had to decide to enjoy the journey and have fun! In terms of abundance, I had to realize that no matter what the area, there is enough for all of us. Someone else kicking ass doesn’t negate my progress. And vice versa. There’s enough space in the universe for everyone to kick ass! So really, l should be celebrating everyone’s successes, not feeling down about myself.
I have to be totally transparent with you though. I’m always working on this. I occasionally still feel myself falling prey to this wrong thinking. I actually had a moment today. I felt myself starting to compare and I literally felt myself deflating BUT I caught it. I actually said to myself out loud “comparison is the thief of joy.” I thought about it for a moment, decided to let go of the negative thinking, and I moved on.
Life is too short and you are too amazing to spend it comparing yourself to others. Embrace you. Love yourself. Focus on being the best version of yourself you can be.