Whether I know you in person or not, I am proud of you, even if only for trying. I concentrate on being supportive, motivating, and encouraging to others, as well as genuinely happy for others’ accomplishments. I was once so very guilty of comparing myself with others, and I strive today to not do so. This is not to suggest that I never engage in this comparative behavior, because I do, and that is clear in many of my other written ramblings, but it is something that I continually work to correct in myself. Comparison is a damaging habit, not only to your own well-being, but it can also potentially leave a ding in the contentment of the other individual (the victim of your analogy). Until recently, just yesterday in fact, I was unaware that I was the object of comparison; when this tidbit came to light, it irked me, and here is why . . .
(Were you on the edge of your seat with wonder, distressed that I was not going to provide further explanation?)
Yesterday, a woman with whom I work, I will call her C, had just returned from a walk outside at about the same time that I was making my way back to my office from my Monday gym session. (Word on the street is, you should never skip a Monday. Challenge accepted; I ran 7 miles. BOOM!). C happily reported that she was already at her 10,000 steps for the day, and Leola stated that she (C) and Miss Amy are putting her (Leola) to shame (I’m “Miss Amy,” btw). C proceeded to state that I likely get 20,000 steps a day, and Leola reiterated that we are working on two different journeys and reminded her that I am training for a half marathon. C then indicated that it is easy for me because I am 20 years younger than she is, and that is what annoyed me.
Why undermine my drive, my hard work, and my commitment? On days that I get 20,000 steps, it’s because I push myself and then I push myself harder and then I push myself just a little bit more. Do not diminish another’s progress in order to build yourself up. If you are unhappy with 10,000 steps, then push yourself to take more steps. If you feel unfulfilled with your work in the day, then do more work. I may be 20 years younger than C, but there was once a day when running 7 miles seemed like merely a pipe dream. Several years ago, I was still 20 years younger than C, and running even .25 miles nonstop was an immense accomplishment. Although I was left feeling unfulfilled with that .25 after a while, I did not compare myself with someone who could run longer, nor did I encapsulate their abilities: he’s younger than I am, she has more time than I do, he has a more natural athletic ability, and so on and so forth. The excuses for not performing as well as somebody else are endless, but it should not matter how you perform compared with another. There is a lot of truth to the quip, “Compete with yourself, not with others.”
So, since 2015-ish, I have been counting calories, going to the gym, running, running, running, and running some more, drinking more water, working on my food related choices and behaviors, pushing myself . . . In other words, I work damn hard, so. damn. hard. So, I do not take kindly to my weight loss or my step count being credited to my age. I can only assume that C is not happy with where she is at, but that did not give her an appropriate cause to minimize me, more specifically, where I am at in my own journey. For the record, there is an 80-ish year old man (that is 50+ years older than I am) who absolutely smokes me every year at the Safe Voices 5K. So, you see, C, MY age has little to do with YOUR performance.
I am well aware that soul searching is burdensome and that it is painful to be truthful, particularly when we feel that we are falling short and have to admit to ourselves that yeah, this one is on me. I sat on this encounter all of yesterday afternoon and evening before writing it up this morning; I thought it of the utmost importance to analyze why this bothered me so. Why am I so sensitive to this remark? Am I justified in my feels? What I’ve concluded is that . . . I am justified to feel any sort of way that I want to about it. My feelings are my own, and they are valid whether someone else “gets” them or not. However, I usually do make sure that my perspectives aren’t fueled by hanger, and in this case, they most definitely were not. I was (am) sensitive to her remark for exactly the reasons that I outlined: I work hard, and I did not appreciate my hard work being surmised that it is easy because I am 33.
So, I urge one and all to just . . . STOP. Stop comparing yourself with others for any reason . . . whether it’s a number on the scale, a distance you’ve run, the size of your residence, the make and model of your car, your marital status, your parental status, the brand of your clothes, your level of education . . . just STOP. Instead, engage in self-reflection, and keep it just that: SELF-reflection. When I began to self-reflect as a means to counteract my nature to compare, compare, compare, I learned several key points, and here they are . . .
(Were you on the edge of your seat thinking that I was not going to share them with you?)
- Comparison is the thief of joy.
- I am exactly where I am meant to be, and I have two options while I am here:
- a) be happy where I am while I work on bettering my situation and / or myself
- b) be miserable. *The latter will assist me in the accomplishment of . . . being miserable.
- Sometimes, someone else just wants it more.
- A lot of work remains ahead of me.
- Although I fully understand that when I compare myself with others, I am allowing my joy to be thieved, I have yet to learn how to keep others from pirating my joy.
- I referred to C as such because her first name begins with a C; this letter selection was not to imply derogatory name calling.
- Most days, I do not achieve 20,000 steps. So, C’s comparison is based solely on her own assumption.
- Larceny is a Part 1 crime.