Do you compare yourself to others? Let’s be honest. We’ve all seen another person before and wish we had what they had – the ability to run faster, better hair, smoother skin, flatter stomach, great legs, better humor, blah, blah, blah. The list just goes on and on with comparisons. And sadly, the more time we spend dwelling on what we think they have is ‘perfect’ and what we have isn’t, the self-deprecating cycle can become quite vicious. Simply stated, the negative thoughts of comparing ourselves to others are neither healthy mentally or emotionally.
With that being said, I’m not going to discuss the psychology behind this phenomenon, but instead focus on the 5 reasons you shouldn’t compare yourself to others.
- Movement – Are you sitting on the coach eating chips when you’re comparing yourself to that ‘perfect’ person on Facebook who is dressed in workout clothes and flexing his/her bicep? If you are, then stop it! How can you possibly wish you were that person if you aren’t even trying?
- Types of movement – Not everyone can be a marathon winner or do the eight-angle pose in yoga, but you can definitely try. Deciding the types of movement/exercises you enjoy and are good at will make the difference on how well you succeed. Remember, everyone has a different set of strengths and weaknesses, so it’s left up to you on what area you want to focus on to improve. You also have to practice, practice and practice some more. Perhaps you won’t be a ‘formal champion’ in the activity you choose, but you can be a winner for you!
- Nutrition – Wish you had six-pack abs? Well, eating fast food cheeseburgers won’t cut it and I’m sure the person you are envious of isn’t eating that kind of stuff. You have to fuel your body with the right kind of nutritionally packed food. Healthy, natural foods such as lean protein, veggies and fruit will help you meet your goal of six-pack abs.
- Age – As much as we may hate to admit it, our age will absolutely affect how we look and behave. If you’re in your 50s and comparing yourself to a 20-year-old, then of course you’re going to feel some resentment. Age happens! But HOW we age can be affected by what we do and the measures we take to age gracefully. It’s never too late to begin a healthy lifestyle and who knows, with practice and hard work, you may even be better at something (or look better) than that ‘young thing’ you’ve been comparing yourself to.
- Genetics – Congratulations! You were given a set of specific traits by your parents which make you very unique and different than anyone else. Your parents passed down physical traits, behavior traits and several predispositions to certain medical conditions. Some of these traits you can change or alter – hair color, how you handle stress; but some of them you may not – certain diseases such as sickle-cell anemia. The point is, other seemingly ‘perfect’ people will have different traits than you which may or may not put them at an advantage to losing weight easier or being a faster runner. But it also means they, too, are dealing with specific traits that they don’t like or can cause them physical challenges. So embrace your God-given traits and improve the ones you can.
Admiring other people and their accomplishments is okay and sometimes it can get us very motivated. But remember, the only person you should ever compare yourself to is your OLD self.
Who are you now and who do you WANT to be?
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