Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Don't Let Comparison Steal Your Joy

I've been really committed to losing weight this year and have been meeting with success, thanks to that determination.  As part of my endeavors, I've recently started to get back into running.  For me, that means slowly building my endurance back up through interval training (like the C25K program).  For the past week, I've been trying to do 4 minute running/1 minute walking intervals.

This is great for most of my route, but there is one section of hill that was totally kicking my butt.  It took me three different runs to be able to get through it, and on the second successful run, I was feeling pretty dang proud of myself. In fact, I was elated about how freakishly awesome I was.

Then, it happened.

Miss Athletic I-Don't-Even-Sweat ran by me like I was walking BACKWARDS, muscles in her shorty running shorts pulsing away, her hair still perfect.

Suddenly, my little 4 minute run up the hill didn't seem so pride-worthy. In one second, all the pride I had in my little accomplishment slid away, and I was filled with disappointment in myself that I couldn't run like her. What I had done no longer mattered.  All I could see was what I couldn't do.

Comparison is like that, always swooping in to steal your joy.  Always making you forget what is great about you, and making you see only what you aren't. The thing about comparison is that you will always lose. No matter your accomplishments, there will always be someone who has accomplished more.  Even Miss Athletic I-Don't-Even-Sweat shows up to her marathons and cringes because her times aren't as good as someone else's.  Even she allows comparison to steal her joy, instead of having pride in the things she has accomplished herself.

Your thing might not be running.  But whatever it is, if you are comparing yourself to someone else and not measuring up, you are stealing from yourself.  Because your accomplishments are important! Sure, maybe you're not as far along in your journey as someone else is in their's, but you are farther along in your journey than you were a year ago.  And the progress you've made is important and you should be proud of it.

We should all be proud of those things.

So, just you wait, Miss Athletic I-Don't-Sweat.  You may be lapping me today, but next month, you're going to have to run faster to do it with the same ease.

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