Who Are You Comparing Yourself To?

Comparing

COMPARE – To examine the character or qualities

of 2 or more things, in order to discover the similarities or differences

When I first began crossfit I noticed that I constantly compared myself to the people  I was working out with.  Each time I walked in the box (gym) I would mentally scroll through my comparison checklist.  Were my fellow crossfitters younger or older, smaller or bigger, stronger or weaker, faster or slower?  The comparisons made me aware of the drastic differences between us in skill level, physique, speed and strength, and I was always on the losing side of the comparison.

We all do this – we compare ourselves to other people!  We do this at work, with our neighbors, at the gym, with friends, at the grocery store – everywhere!  We do it consciously, with purpose…..and often times we do it subconsciously, without even realizing we are doing it.

The problem isn’t in the comparing itself,

The problem is what we do with the information we gather

from our comparisons

When we compare ourselves to someone else, we allow the similarities and differences to mean something about ourselves.  Based on the differences we discover, we are either better than or not as good as someone.  The more similar we find ourselves, the more equal we feel, as though we match up.

We use our comparisons to determine our own self worth.

My daily comparison to others during the early part of my crossfit journey was incredibly deflating.  I was, without a doubt, the most out of shape, the slowest, and the weakest one there.  My continual comparison to the other crossfitters made me feel inadequate to a point that I almost quit, rather than continue to feel ‘less than’ everyone else.

Comparing Yourself

Then one day I noticed a man favoring his shoulder during warm ups and it occurred to me that I didn’t know anything about his personal journey.  I didn’t know if he was recovering from an injury, how long his shoulder had bothered him, if he’d had surgery – I didn’t know a single thing about his story.  All I knew when I compared myself to him was that he appeared to be fit, strong, and athletic…he appeared to be everything I was not.

Each of us is on our own individual journey

  We shouldn’t compare our journey with someone else’s journey

Our journey is OUR journey – it’s NOT a competition!

On that very day, instead of wanting to quit crossfit, I chose instead to surrender to my body’s limitations and to stop comparing myself to the other crossfitters.  They didn’t know my story, and chances are I didn’t know theirs.

There are plenty of times that I still fall into the habit of comparing myself to others, both in and out of the gym.  I will probably struggle with this human quality for as long as I live.  But being aware of when I make comparisons now gives me the opportunity to choose to stop.

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We all desire to be better, but typically that is in comparison to someone else.  The person we should be comparing ourselves to is US!  Strive to be a better version of yourself today than you were  yesterday.  Let your self worth be defined by YOUR personal growth and development.

This is NOT a crossfit conversation, this is a  life conversation.  Crossfit just happens to be where I first realized the negative impact of comparisons, but it translates into all areas of our lives.

How often do you compare yourself to other people?

What areas of your life do you most often make comparisons?

What do you make those comparisons mean about you and your self worth?

You can journal the old fashion way with paper and pencil, or if you prefer technology,  simply use the notepad section on your phone, iPad or computer.  Either way, I ‘d encourage you to take note of what role comparisons play in your life.  Before we can change something about ourselves, we must first be aware of it.

with Joy & Gratitude,

Choosing Self Acceptance

Crossfit Koolaid

I began my CrossFit journey on Saturday, October 13th, 2012.  YES – I actually know the date, partly because it was one of the scariest days of my life, but mostly because it has changed me (on the inside and the outside) forever.  For me and my family, CrossFit is not a fad or a trend – it is a way of life!

Now don’t worry, I won’t be turning this into a CrossFit blog, but the life lessons I’m learning through CrossFit are too rich and valuable to not share!  They include (but aren’t limited to) concepts such as fear, patience, mental strength and humor.  When I write from a CrossFit perspective my hope is that I can relay the experience or life lesson with clarity while also sharing the benefits of exercise.

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Acceptancethe action or process of being received as adequate or suitable

Self Acceptance – affirmation or acceptance of ones self in spite of weaknesses or deficiencies

On October 13th there was so much I had to accept about myself.  I was 30+ pounds overweight, I hadn’t consistently exercised in over 5 years, my schedule was overbooked as a business owner and mother of 2 teenage boys, and I was closer to 50 than I was to 40  years old!  I could have used any (or all) of those truths about myself as an excuse to prevent me from stepping foot into the ‘box’ (CrossFit lingo for gym).

The struggle to resist the reality of who we are is precisely what keeps us where we are.  Only by accepting myself exactly as I was, with all my flaws and imperfections, was I able to even show up in a room full of strong, healthy, fit athletes.  There were NO surprises that day.  Although I wasn’t the only woman nor was I the oldest, I was absolutely the most overweight and out of shape person attempting to complete the same skills the other CrossFitters were maneuvering through with ease.

At the end of the hour (after countless squats, push ups and abs), I was grateful that I had not only survived, but was actually able to exit the building on my own two feet.  During my drive home I burst into tears at the realization that I wasn’t shunned to the ‘wanna-be’ athlete’s corner of the room, there was no finger pointing, nor was there laughter at my expense.  Quite the contrary, I found the CrossFitting community to be accepting of me, exactly as I was!

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Accepting yourself is about embracing the truth of who you are.  It certainly doesn’t mean you have to be happy with it, but it does mean you are not fighting against reality or worse yet living in denial.  I spent 5 years denying I was gaining weight and resisting the possibility that I could actually choose to make time in my ‘busy’ schedule to take care of myself  – to put ME first on the ‘to do’ list!

Self acceptance has to start with listening to what you say about yourself – to yourself!  From the moment we wake up in the morning until we drift off to sleep each night (and maybe even in our dreams) that little voice in our head is whispering to us.  Sometimes it’s so quiet we don’t even hear it, but that doesn’t mean the words lose their power.  That little voice is YOU, commentating moment by moment, your interpretation of you.  You can choose to change the dialogue you are having with yourself, but first you must quiet down and listen to what you are really saying to yourself!

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One of my favorite authors,  Jon Gordon,  is quoted as saying ‘talk to yourself instead of listen to yourself’.  What this means is you get to choose the words you say to yourself.  Be intentional about it instead of listening to the untruths that little voice says about you.  Now, when I talk to myself (instead of listen to my little voice) I say things like:

  • I am SO worth an hour of my time!
  • My birth certificate says I’m 47 – but I feel 29!
  • The number on the scale doesn’t change the depth of my character or the difference I can make in this world!
  • I deserve to tune the world out for 60 minutes and get lost in the moment of me!
  • I’m a work in progress – where I am right now is perfect!

Whatever you choose to say to yourself, make sure you are whispering sweet nothings instead of insults!

with Joy & Gratitude,