One of my perhaps more regrettable traits and/or habits (that I have been made aware of by my mother since age eight) is that I compare myself to other people a lot. I have gotten a lot better at quieting this instinct, but I was in a situation today where I realized my comparing does a lot of hindering when it comes to feeling good about myself and my body.
I was feeling really lazy about going to the gym even though I knew it would make me feel better and I told myself to just do the best I could do in this moment. I finally went and got on a treadmill and I was actually feeling pretty good at the beginning. I was confidently striding a long and a Giselle look-alike got on the machine right next to me.
She was probably six inches taller than me, consequently thinner and just all of the things I am conditioned into thinking defines beauty. I got this heavy, insecure feeling and all I could think about was what our behinds must look like next to each other, bouncing along.
My head space really drastically went from feeling strong and normal to panicky and bad about myself. What is going on? Ohhh…I’m comparing myself to this stranger for no good reason and it’s sucking positivity out of me.
Luckily, I caught myself and my negative-thoughts loop and immediately gave myself a little pep talk. What prompted me to compare myself to this person? Why do I care at all? Why am I so worried about what other people are looking at? (p.s. Everyone is always so into how they are coming across, they generally aren’t even paying attention). I realized in order to get myself out of this space, I needed to focus more on myself and what I was doing.
I realized that I felt proud I actually made it to the gym and that I was fulfilling my own personal exercise goals. After I had my turn around, I felt this lightness come back into my step and pseudo-super-model next to me kind of faded out of my periphery. (She also got off way before me, but who’s counting anyways, right? =)
Looking back, I think that when I was at my worst with my food and body stuff, some of it was due to a perpetual bad habit of comparing myself to other people…Other people’s bodies, eating habits, jean size, social lives, accomplishments, you name it. After learning to focus more on my own thing, I think it had a direct correlation to me being able to listen to my body and really figuring out what I need and what is best for me. It takes some practice to recognize moments of comparing and then ways to talk yourself out of doing it, but ultimately I think it is a helpful thing to work on! There’s little use for comparing on the road to recovery because we are all so different!
Do you compare yourself to other women in day-to-day life? Or at work? Or at the gym? —Morgan