Well, I did it again...I went and compared myself to my sister. Which is probably the single-most significant reason that my last week was an excruciatingly difficult one. It was a week that finally ended with me spending a full day crocheting mindlessly, eating whatever the heck I wanted, and watching four and half “Fast and Furious” movies. Maybe the end of the week wasn’t actually that bad…
So why and how did I compare myself to my sister? Last weekend, my husband and I went up to the small town in which I grew up to visit my family. And since my sister, husband, and myself are all training for a marathon we all did our long run together. It’s easier to do the long runs together when we’re in the same place, because well, suffering is always more bearable when you’re suffering with others. And we suffered...for a whole 16 miles.
Or moreso, I suffered for 16 miles. My sister, who had been sick the week prior, ran the whole thing like a freakin’ champion! At about 12 miles in, I was struggling mentally, as well as physically, and decided to walk up a small hill. It was all metaphorically downhill from there.
When you stop once, it’s hard to not want to stop again. And my body was SCREAMING at me to stop (or at least, I thought it was). At one point my husband offered to run ahead to buy some hydration for me, which I accepted. At about 14.5 miles in, as he spryly ran ahead of us, I wanted to puke...Not from exhaustion, although I was exhausted. No, I was just utterly disgusted at how my husband could run ahead of us with such vigor and ease.
As we continued home, there came a point that my sister kept running ahead, as I and my husband slowed to walk some more. I was beating myself up the whole time, wishing that I was stronger and that I could keep up with my sister. I wanted to be able to stay up with her, and I wanted her strength to be motivation to me to keep running. But that day, it wasn’t going to happen.
That’s when I started comparing myself. At that point, I allowed myself to feel like I didn’t measure up to my sister, which essentially led to me allowing myself to feel like I didn’t measure up for the rest of the week. Comparing myself to my sister is my “achilles heel,” so to speak. Basically, I end up emotionally screwing myself over until I get some sort of much needed reality check.
I realize how silly all of that sounds. I mean, we’re talking about 16 miles here. To even venture out on a run of that length is pretty unbelievable, let alone actually run it. I should also let you know that the run was only supposed to be 15 miles. So it was also longer than I had intended. I should have been proud to have finished the run, regardless of the fact that my sister finished the run before me. But nope, I couldn’t let myself do that. I should have been proud of the fact that only five months after birthing my son, and really only two and a half months of more serious training, I was out running 16 miles. But nope. I should have been proud to have run further than I’ve EVER run before...But again, no.
I’ll tell you that today, a week later, I ran another 16 mile run, and felt a lot stronger throughout and at the end of it. I also was able to talk to my husband about the struggle I had all week with feeling “less than.” And how it all stemmed from me comparing myself, yet again, to Chelsea. He, knowing my pattern of behavior, stated that he had a feeling that was going to happen…Thanks for knowing me so well, but NOT saying anything throughout the week. No, he just knows that if he brings up an issue before I’m ready to talk about it, it won’t go over well...Again and sincerely this time, thank you for knowing me so well.
Anyway, all of it got me thinking about how we, as women, tend to compare ourselves to each other. And I can’t help but wonder how many of us struggle with tearing ourselves down when we don’t feel like we measure up to the women around us. It’s like, all we want is to be “as______” or “more______” than another woman. And we go beyond just disliking that woman for being “more” than us. We start disliking ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but when I start disliking myself, I stop treating myself well. And my goals kind of go out the window too. It’s a vicious cycle that hinges on the idea that I don’t measure up. However, today is a new day. One in which that wheel of self-defeat can go right on rolling “where the sun don’t shine,” with a little push (or shove) from myself, of course.
When I think of the hopes and ambitions that I have for this year, I know that comparing myself to my sister, or anyone else for that matter, is not going to get me any closer to accomplishing my goals. All it makes me want to do is stop running, and just walk.
In reality, I don’t actually want that for myself. I want to keep running, literally and figuratively, and I want that for you as well. As we continue into the year ahead, I want to empower you to let go of the detrimental habit of comparison, and to treat yourself well because you are wildly beautiful and because you deserve it. Go after YOUR goals, and not the goals of the girl next to you. Allow yourself a mental reset.
I really want to encourage you to start this year fighting for your self-worth. And for some of us that may just involve a reset in our mindset when we look at others. When you’re tempted to feel discouraged because you don’t seem to compare to the woman next to you, don’t allow yourself to go any further with that thought. Call it what it is. Lies. And talk to someone about your insecurity. Or write about. Just do something, anything, that redirects your thinking to the reality that you are beautiful and “enough” just the way you are. And throw the comparisons in the garbage, because that’s exactly where they belong.
We have to STOP comparing ourselves to the people around us. Their abilities, appearances, and accolades have nothing to do with ours, or our lack of. We are all valuable, regardless of these. Period.