“Comparison is the thief of all joy.” When you hear this, what comes to mind?
For me, I always thought “don’t compare yourself to anyone else.” And in this day and age of social media, and everyone’s lives being posted around us, this is oh so important. However, I think we forget that we also are guilty of internal comparison. Comparing ourselves to….ourselves. Maybe we compare our bodies to how we looked on our wedding day or pre-baby. Maybe it’s our race times or our mile splits. We seem to see the past sometimes through rose colored glasses.
I think we need to be just as mindful of our ability to compare ourselves to others as our ability to measure our current reality by previous experiences. I recently turned 30 and to many this age is still very young (and I would agree with that too). However, it’s now an age where I’m conscious of aging and the passing of time. It’s also a really good time to start a practice of self-acceptance. This is the positive part of what I’m seeing in the “anti-diet” movement. In short, we need to accept and be grateful for the season we are in. We’ve never lived this moment or experienced this experience. Our bodies may be slightly different, our races slower, or our life unfamiliar. And when we do compare ourselves in this moment to our previous selves – the one who was running a faster time, more fit, etc – we’re doing ourselves a huge disservice, because we’re not comparing apples to apples.
This body, this mind, and this soul have accumulated more experience, powered through difficulties, and seen successes that previous versions of ourselves have not. I’m currently in a season of learning to accept that my running is a bit slower: that it doesn’t quite feel as good as it did before. And I’m learning to be ok with that. I’m learning to trust and enjoy the process, knowing that I can still become the best runner I can be. The thing is, I need to also accept that the best me today could be, and likely will be, very different than the me last year, 2 years ago, etc.
I’ve been reading Deena Kastor’s “Let Your Mind Run” which is a true treasure. In a chapter I read a few days ago, Deena was preparing for her Chicago Marathon after receiving the bronze medal at the Athens Olympics. During that training cycle, she seemed nervous. She mentioned that she was comparing her training for this marathon to the training she did for Athens. As an outsider reading her book, I of course saw there were so many different factors making this training different: Deena had a different coach, it was a different course/city, and she had a completely different goal (win vs. medal). But, it caused her real nervousness. that the same workouts were resulting in different times. Her coach commented “No two training cycles are alike. It’s your job to run your best in the season you are in. There is no benefit to judging if you are better or worse than before. Find a way to be your best in this moment.”
Those words were so powerful to me. “Find a way to be your best in this moment.”
As I train for my 10K and set other goals, I’m keeping those words close. “Be my best in this moment.” I hope it also inspires you. Even if we want to make improvements, lose weight, run faster, etc, we can still choose to accept where we are right in this moment, find gratitude for it, and be our best, right now.