Comparison: The Thief of Joy and Peace

     As I write this post, I am sitting in my car on the way to Beachbody's annual Summit.  I will be surrounded by 25,000 other coaches.  It got me thinking about my personal growth and development over the past year.  If I had gone to this event last year, I imagine that it would have been a completely different experience for me. At least in my head. I think I would have spent a lot of time comparing myself to these amazing coaches.  I would have looked at their success, their superior levels of fitness, their passion, their ambition, their servants' hearts...and I would've used it all to tear myself down.  I would have seen myself as inferior and most likely would've used a negative internal dialogue to remind myself of my inferiority during the entire convention.  That might sound extreme, but I have a feeling that I'm not alone.

        How many times do you compare yourself to others?  It could be about anything.  Maybe you go to visit your friend's house and spend most of the time wondering how she possibly keeps it so spotless when she has three kids.  Then you either, A...See yourself as inferior and wish you could keep your own house that clean or B...Tell yourself that she must ignore her kids and therefore feel better about yourself because at least YOU have your priorities right.  Sound familiar?  Come on...admit it.  Maybe you compare your body to your friends'.  Maybe it's cars, clothes, personality (I get jealous of people who are always the life of the party...I need to warm up to people to really be myself), business success, bank accounts, musical talents, etc.  No matter what it is that you use to compare yourself to others, I want to encourage you to KNOCK IT OFF. 


     Comparing yourself to others rarely leads to anything positive.  Unless, of course, you chose to be INSPIRED by others and what they show is possible (like in the case of business success). If you are comparing yourself about something that you can't change, like some model's long legs when you are 5 feet tall...tell me, what can that do for you?  

     I know it's hard to simply stop this.  But recognize this destructive behavior for what it is.  Try to tell yourself that you are just as beautiful even though you'll never have those long legs.  Focus on the qualities that you like about yourself.  So you'll never have her legs.  But maybe you love your eyes.  Be grateful for those beautiful eyes.  Everyone has qualities that they don't like about themselves, including that model.  Why focus on them? I think it's human nature, but it's really very silly when you stop and think about it.  We all have things we like and don't like about ourselves and yet we spend all of our time focusing on the bad.  Hmmm.  No one is perfect, even if you might think they are. But there is much beauty in imperfection.  Embrace it.  And if you're fortunate enough to have a significant other who tells you that you're beautiful, believe that they mean and enjoy it (I think this requires a whole other blog post, but we'll do that another time)!

      Maybe you'll never paint as well as your best friend (I know I never will!) but you might be a darn good writer and you should be proud of that.  We all have our own unique talents.  You may not have found yours yet.  Some talents take practice to develop.  Just don't give up and don't let a defeatist attitude destroy your chances of finding your passion.  If you want to learn to paint better, then paint! You don't have to be the best and you don't even have to be good.  Do it because you love it. 

I used to constantly compare myself to others. I would literally let it ruin my enjoyment of events and get-togethers because in my head I was self-deprecating.  I still do it at times, but I've gotten better at catching myself. When I do, instead of yelling at myself for doing it, I try to light-heartedly think, "There I go again!" and mooooooooove right along with my day.  These negative habits won't fix themselves overnight.  You have to CHOOSE to stop doing this to yourself and then WORK at it, just like anything else. 

    An idea for how to change this behavior and your thoughts... Try journaling out your negative thoughts and then turning them into positive affirmations.  I know what everyone thinks of when they think about affirmations..."I like myself!" or something of that nature, but it doesn't have to be so cheesy.  I use simple ones like "I am confident and my confidence is growing everyday," because I used to hold the belief that I would never be successful because I was not confident enough...see how this works?  I say affirmations daily because they have the power to change your thoughts.   The daily repetition will eventually cause your mind to believe what you are telling it! You can re-program negative patterns in your brain using this powerful tool.  So put aside your goofy assumptions and try it. 

      This year, I am attending Summit and being surrounded by some of the most beautiful, successful, talented, kind, physically fit people I have ever seen.  And I have already decided that I am going to enjoy every single moment and not let myself ruin it by wishing I were like them.  Most of these people are the pinnacles of what I would like to be.  I am choosing to be inspired by their achievements.  I know I will learn an amazing amount from them.  And I will remember, that despite the pedestal I might put them on, these are just other people who really aren't that different from me.  There will be areas of the life where they are "further ahead" so to speak, but that is absolutely OK with me. Life, to me, isn't about figuring out how to be better than everyone else.  It's about being the best version of myself that I can be and helping others. And these people can help me with that.  LET THE GROWING BEGIN!