Comparison: The Joy Thief

Have you ever looked at another person and thought, “Boy, they have it easy.”

Maybe it was one of your single girlfriends whose life seemed like a fabulous parade of dates, shopping, and fun travels. Maybe it was a married mom of two who shed the baby weight immediately upon leaving the hospital, and whose 6 week-old twins sleep through the night. Maybe it was your older sister whose kids are all in high school and is done with the feeding, diapering,and crying stage of child raising.

If you’re like me, it’s the runner moms who can crank out 7 minute “easy” miles  mere weeks after having a baby. While pushing a stroller. Ugh. Not fair.

Comparison is such a deadly trap.

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Because no matter how you look at it, every time you compare yourself to someone else, usually it’s out of insecurity or judgement. Those are not happy places to frequent. So why can’t we stop?

I partially blame social media. (Key word: partially.) When I log on to Facebook or Instagram and I see  everyone’s highlight reel of amazing races, or fantastic running times, I get jealous and frustrated with my own progress. Just scroll through Instagram and see not only the crazy high mileage but also the super quick times of runner moms!

Why is it I can’t just smile give them a mental high-five and keep scrolling?

Because, and this is a hard pill to swallow, the blame lies with me. I let my joy get stolen by the comparison monster.

I can come back from a really great run, have a pretty solid pace, and more importantly, feel good, and those good feelings can quickly dissipate the second I let myself think I have to be running as fast as someone else. That’s nobody’s fault but mine. Competition can be a healthy motivator and fun. We sign up for races for fun, right? There is some value to competition, but the second we see competition as an outlet for making ourselves feel better by “dominating” someone else, we lose.

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Don’t get me wrong, winning feels great! But we can’t base our self worth on whether or not we’re better than someone else. Eventually, someone will come along who is far better than we are, and there goes our joy.

Stop it! Just stop it! (I’m scolding myself.)

No more comparing! Turn off Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or whatever outlet is leading you to feel like you stink. Because the sooner we learn to stop comparing ourselves to others, the happier we will be.

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3 thoughts on “Comparison: The Joy Thief

  1. What an excellent posting! You are so right about that comparison stuff. I go through this myself (not a runner, that’s for sure) but other things. I love photography but when I see other people’s work, I decide I’m not going to enter mine in shows any longer; I enjoy singing in the choir until I hear someone else sing, and then I don’t want to sing any longer; the same with painting—I liked painting until I joined The Art Guild and found I was way out of my league. I still sing, I still take photographs but am seemingly over the painting. I am the mom who didn’t suffer with morning sickness, whose babies slept through the night from the word ‘go’, and easily potty trained. I keep that stuff usually to myself! Blessings on your writing and running!

    Liked by 1 person

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