Comparisons

Like a lot of people, I compare myself against others. Are they a better runner than me? Are they faster than me? Stronger than me?

It’s almost automatic. Judgement. One quick look up and down. A flick of the eyes down a list of race results. A furtive glance in the gym. I’m sure we’ve all done it. Perhaps a sweeping generalisation, but I suspect women do it more than men. Is she skinnier than me? Is she prettier than me? But I’m certain men do it too. Are his arms bigger? Does he earn more than me?

I do try my hardest to run my own race. I try not to compare myself to other people. Who knows who’s having a good day or bad day? What training they’ve had. How healthy they are. I think it’s near impossible to stop completely. However, I am a lot better than I was. My achievements and the success I feel are not defined by how anyone else has performed.

The comparisons I’m talking about in this post are comparisons with yourself. How well am I doing compared with how I’ve previously done.

Comparisons

Oh sure that sounds healthy and much better, right? There will always be people faster than you, richer than you, prettier than you, smarter than you, slimmer than you…So it makes sense to compare like with like. Yourself with yourself.

I ran that 5 mile race on Sunday and despite achieving third female and working damn hard in that final stretch to overtake those girls, I was disappointed and annoyed. I couldn’t shake that feeling that I was a rubbish runner and should have done better. Anna last year ran so much faster! And surely I should be even faster now, right? A whole year’s worth of training, so many more races, more experience…what happened?

I now realise how ridiculous this all sounds. If I’d have had a good amount of consistent, injury-free training then of course I should be disappointed and should have pushed harder. But I didn’t have a stretch of injury-free training and I couldn’t push harder. Physically my body couldn’t have gone faster. I should be proud of what I achieved considering how my running had been.

Basically it takes a bit of perspective and a lot of shaking myself. You’re an idiot Anna. Get back on the horse and work hard and sensible for the next goal. Don’t dwell on coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Comparisons will never disappear. We’ll keep making them. But just remember to see the context. Did you put in a good amount of effort? Did you try your best? Maybe your best today wasn’t as good as your best last year, but it’s still your best. So accept it and move on. Learn from it if you can and see the positives of what you’ve managed to achieve. Because I’m pretty sure someone’s looking and wishing they were as good as you.

Do you compare yourself with others?

Do you compare yourself with yourself?

16 thoughts on “Comparisons

  1. Love this line >> ” Maybe your best today wasn’t as good as your best last year, but it’s still your best. So accept it and move on. Learn from it if you can and see the positives of what you’ve managed to achieve. Because I’m pretty sure someone’s looking and wishing they were as good as you. ”
    Mary recently posted…Less than stellar race prepMy Profile

  2. Great post and funnily enough I’ve just finished writing a post similar-ish to this for next week. As I think I commented on your post, it’s also about recognising where your strengths lie too. I definitely compare myself to others and have to put in some effort not to! I do also compare myself with myself, but that’s rarely in a negative way thankfully!

  3. This post reminded me of a TED talk I listened to recently. Basically this guy was saying that in his native tongue (I forget what country he’s from if I’m being honest, but it was somewhere in Asia) they don’t have the subjective case. In other words, the words should, would, and could don’t even exist! In their culture they don’t ever dwell on what could have been because they simply don’t have that language and never think about it. It’s an interesting concept to think about since obviously our culture is so different, but it’s something I try to remember when I’m feeling bummed about something that could have gone better.
    Chelsea @ Chelsea Eats Treats recently posted…Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud & Jamba Juice Winners!My Profile

  4. Great post Anna. I think it is always inevitable that people will compare themselves to others, but you are right, everyone is different, but also someone somewhere will be wishing they were you too.
    I have times when I get annoyed with myself, but then I give myself a talking to and use my realistic glasses and then I get things in perspective!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Laura’s amazing banana breadMy Profile

  5. Such a great post! I think one of the most important things you touched on is learning from it. You may not be as fast as you were last year, but if you are running smarter than you did last year, than yes – you are a better version of yourself. Sometimes our “betterness” isn’t reflected in numbers or something we can measure.
    Lora @ Crazy Running Girl recently posted…The Alter G ExperienceMy Profile

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