Stop Comparing Yourself To Others And Focus On You — Here’s How– by Lisa Quast via Forbes
Do you ever feel like you are standing completely still and the world is just whizzing by? Like you are sprinting as fast as you can but the peanut butter you are trekking through is slowing you down? It just won’t let you move any quicker than you are already going? Am I the only one who feels like I’m trying so hard, exerting all the efforts and doing everything I can the “right way” but still coming up a little short than others? Am I the only one who feels like they are stuck in a peanut butter swamp?!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my peanut butter; but I don’t love running in it.
We’ve heard it said before that comparing yourself to others won’t get you anywhere. It won’t make you feel better about yourself. It won’t make you more successful and it doesn’t mean you are better than anybody else. Comparison creates misery. It doesn’t matter what we are comparing ourselves to others on, whether it be our body, our job, our intelligence, relationships, cooking skills, friendships or anything else under the sun, it’s all so self-destructive and damaging.
Everyone is on their own journey in life. We are all in different places. Lately, I’ve noticed in myself that as I look at these snapshots of other people’s lives on Instagram or Facebook I feel a little discouraged. I see people around my age getting married or graduating (which I’ve done both), getting a job, becoming more physically fit, reaching diet goals, reaching life goals, having a baby, traveling and seeming to have these grand successes. And I’m happy for them! I truly am but I feel like I’m standing in thick peanut butter. I can’t seem to stop myself from comparing my life to theirs! What is wrong with me?! It’s not that I’m not content with where I am. I love my life and everything God has provided me. I think that at times I just feel discouraged because I feel like I’m trying as hard as I possibly can to get a job and just come up short. Or, I see other women my age having a baby and it starts to me nervous and think… “Oh, should I be trying to have a baby? Am I getting old?!” (I know that’s an irrational thought. I’m NOT old. I also know that starting a family right now is not a road I want to venture down. However, that doesn’t stop my panic every now and then.) Then I see all the ads, progress pictures or just already in great shape women I follow and think that I’m “letting myself go”. I begin to think that I’m not pretty enough, I’m not working out hard enough and I’m going to gain all this weight and not be happy.
Here’s where my history with an eating disorder does not work in my favor. When I’m stressed out (which I already am with working towards recovery) I originally found my eating disorder voice. When I felt like I wasn’t good enough I found myself masking my emotions and feelings aside and trading them in for workouts, food restriction and cutting myself off from others. I was scared just like I am now. I have to fight so hard to keep my mind away from those thoughts. Some days they get the best of me. Some days I have to coach myself and say, “It’s okay to eat. It’s not going to make you less of a person.” or “You don’t have to run more than 4 miles. Moving a little is better than not moving at all.” I’m so terrified by other’s success that I feel like my minor ones are insignificant or even worse, failures.
The fact that I can run 4 miles now, is a success. However, when I see these Instagram posts, “super fit pregnancy” pictures or Pinterest things with photographs of way physically fit women, I suddenly feel like less of a person and my confidence is shaken. I just start to wonder what I’m doing wrong or what else I could do to achieve their success. I feel like I’ve fallen behind. When I see someone else finally get the job they have been looking for, I begin that exact same cycle of comparison and wonder what I could do differently…..to achieve their success.
The two key words here are their success. Wait, why do I have somebody else’s success?! I AM capable of my OWN success. I just have to be patient. I have to work on myself. I have to be content with where I am in my journey in life. I don’t want someone else’s used gum, so why would I want someone else’s success? It’s already being used there. I want my own! Just like I want my own York patties, pizza and peanut butter sandwich 🙂
We haven’t “fallen behind” as we so often feel. We aren’t less of a person because we don’t look like someone else or aren’t in the exact same place as some people in our journey in life! We don’t know how long the person we are comparing ourselves to has been stuck in their own peanut butter swamp or what it took to get them to their current success. We are just us. We are all just doing the best we can. The best thing we can remember is this:
And to remember to be patient and content-even in hard times-in our own peanut butter swamp.