Why do I compare myself to others?
Don’t get caught in the Comparison Trap.
We compare ourselves to others way too often. Psychologists even have a name for it… Social comparison Theory. Psychologist Leon Festinger hypothesized comparisons as a way of evaluating ourselves. It’s one of the most basic ways to understand what we’re good at, or not so good at. We’ll compare ourselves to others and use it as a measuring tool to evaluate ourselves. These evaluations can become biased and overly critical. Or the opposite, make us complacent or too comfortable. Most of us can quiet these “gremlins” in our heads. But in a vulnerable moment, may lead to negative feelings of dissatisfaction and unworthiness. BEWARE: Destructive behaviors like binge eating or other self-sabotage behaviors could result from these feelings. Or find ourselves less competitive and unwilling to push ourselves farther. Although, the latter is rare.
There will always be someone faster, stronger, or leaner than you. That’s a simple fact. Will that fact raise you up, or push you down the rabbit hole? That decision my friend, is up to you. The key is for you to be the best YOU. For example, I know that I can run a 10- minute mile for 26.2 miles. That’s neither fast, nor slow, it just IS. But, that’s the best I was able to do last time I trained. There are many people that can run much faster and farther than me. (I know this because I peak at other people’s numbers on the treadmill!!) Will that motivate you? Or give you an excuse to give up? That is your choice. Maybe next time, I can shave off 10 sec/mile? (Especially if I continue intervals with Karen and Chris.)
Is it the Army who says, “Be the Best you can Be?” Or something to that affect. It’s important to remember where you started. Are YOU better than yesterday? Can you last longer on the elliptical, push more weight on the Leg Press? Document. - photos, body measurements, the scale, journaling, documenting the amount of weight/reps are all examples or reminders where your journey began. They can also lead you to your future goals.
Here’s some good news about Social comparison – A 2015 study by researchers in Cambridge show the tendency to engage in comparisons decline in general as you get older. My theory is the older we get, the more confident we become.
Know thyself. Are you a better YOU than yesterday?