Reflections

Comparison

give yourself the best gift...

Too often in our digital-all-access society it becomes too easy to compare ourselves to others. It’s easy to see what someone else is accomplishing, creating, or doing and start thinking “Why am I not doing something like that?” or “Why am I not as successful at what I’m doing?”

I realized that this thinking is exactly what deters us from accomplishing great things for ourselves. The clearest example I can think of is years ago, when I started going to the gym. It had been a long time since I tied on my running shoes, but I wanted to get back in shape.

I bought a gym membership and treated myself to some new running shorts. When I arrived on my first day back, I couldn’t help but notice the girl on the treadmill next to me. She was running really fast and didn’t look in any better shape than I was (ha!) I thought, “She’s running so fast! I should be running like she is.

And I’m sure you guessed it, that competitive scenario did not work out for me. I tried to keep up to her level and end up being frustrated when I ran out of breath and had to quit 10 minutes in. And shortly after a few more failed attempts, I gave up all together, thinking well “why bother, I won’t ever be as fit as her. That’s just not me.

Flash forward to years later and I finished my first triathlon last summer and Tough Mudder the year before that. Yeah, I’m pretty good at running now. But that took years of re-training not only my body but also my mindset of comparison.

It started when I ran across a quote that really spoke to me, and changed it all.

Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

Instead of truly enjoying my own accomplishment of going to go to the gym at all, I crushed myself. Of course I wasn’t going to be a great runner like that girl – she’d been there everyday for the last 6 months. I’d only been twice. I was being truly unfair in comparing my beginning to her middle.

Trust me, I believe it’s important to draw inspiration from these places. That girl at the gym inspired me to go everyday, she inspired me to get after my own goal. These kinds of sources can be your greatest tools in drawing fire and driving your passion to do better.

Just don’t take it to the next level. If you find your mind wondering towards comparisons, level the playing field. Try to imagine what that person’s first step looked like – it probably looked a lot like yours. They struggled, had hard days, and made mistakes too. They probably still do! It takes patience, dedication and self-forgiveness to get to the top.

So remember you’re just taking your first steps to whatever you’re striving for. A dream career, a better relationship, a really amazing blog, whatever! Enjoy and above all, embrace where you are in your journey. Make sure to give yourself the best gift possible. The gift of time, understanding, patience, and kindness. Give yourself a chance to succeed. You’ll end up experiencing more joy along the way and find out what you’re truly capable of.

photo by YanYan Zang

What do you think?

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This is something that I have struggled with in the past year. It’s hard when you are surround with so many talented people. I just remind myself that they were once in my shoes too. So I am being patient and giving myself room to grow. It’s been the greatest choice I’ve made. Like you said, so much more joy to experience when you do!

Oh my, I agree with you SO much. It truly is difficult not to compare our lives with others on the internet. I personally find myself questioning how good my design work is, if I’m writing good content for my blog, heck, even my rates. But it’s like you said – it’s all about the journey. When I find myself comparing, I try to just sit back and enjoy where I am. Most people at the top are have almost too much work, so for now I’ll sit back and enjoy what I have! :)

Brianna

So true – it’s hard not to compare when you’re not sure of all the answers. It helps to do research and look around, but I’m glad you remember to ask what you really want first.

Your site is a breath of fresh air. So glad I found you. Thanks so much for sharing. xox.

I am my own worst critic and constantly compare myself and my work to others, so this post really resonated with me. I admit that I have let these comparisons make me think my goals aren’t worth persuing and have stopped me from even trying. But this post is inspiring! I love that quote, it’s a great perspective, I’m going to have to write that up and carry it around in my wallet!

woah, woah, woah – congratulations on the triathlon AND Tough Mudder! What’s your next physical challenge going to be?

Brianna

Thanks Natasha! I’m glad it brought you some relief and inspiration. As for physical challenges – no clue! Maybe a good ol’ half marathon?

Brittany

Good reminder :)

okay seriously, yes.

This is a quote to treasure.. i should keep it in my more often. thank you so much for reminding

Brianna

I need to make this into something we can all hang somewhere to remind us everyday.

I see myself so clearly here. It’s very hard sometimes not to compare yourself to others & what they’re doing & how much better they are at something than you are. It’s a sad reality how self depreciating we can be to ourselves.

x leah symonne x

itsleli.com

Brianna

It’s such a struggle right? I have to remind myself everyday to celebrate what I’m doing and where I am.

Ah so true and what a wonderful post. My friend did this and now he has successful chain of organic food to go stores in Seattle called Eat Local.

Allie of ALLIE NYC
allienyc.com

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