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.
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?