Life Is Not A Competition
I recently took up boxing, for exercise and some self defense, and I have to be honest with you, it is kicking my ass. I'm getting better and stronger, but yeah, I was not prepared for how tough it was going to be.
One thing I struggled with was comparing myself to the other people working out with me. They jump rope faster, they do their push ups faster, the don't seem to have problems keeping up with the pace of the workouts. It was really starting to get me down, that feeling of failure seeping into my thought process.
Then I took another look around the room, and at myself. I'm a 50 year old bookworm (polite way of saying couch potato) who has been taking estrogen for over two years. My hormones have my body structure and muscles changing in ways I'm still figuring out. Why on earth would i compare myself to the 20 somethings in my class who had clearly been training longer and more seriously than me. It was ridiculous to attempt to hold myself to that standard in any way.
But how often do that in our day to day lives? Have you ever judged your life based on what your friends were doing, what people you went to high school were doing? We all do it! But here's the thing, there is no reason to make those comparisons and there is no way to even make those comparisons fair.
We're all different, we've all had different struggles and we're all on different paths. Comparing my life to my oldest friends isn't even apples to apples, it's like comparing apples to car parts. The lives we've led have been so different that, aside from the fact that we went to the same college, we have nothing else in common to even fairly start a comparison.
So how do we get over this temptation? Well, like me in my boxing workouts, be honest with yourself. And cut yourself a break. Sure, I could sit around and be disappointed that I'm not as good as the other people I work out with. But if I'm honest with myself, if I cut myself a break I can realize that being a 50 year old trans woman who is taking up boxing and seeing dramatic improvement every week is pretty amazing.
What you're doing only exists in the context of your life. Don't discount what you're doing because it doesn't live up to what others have accomplished- give yourself credit for how far you've come. Notice your growth and allow that growth to motivate you to go further than you thought you would.
Take some time this week to focus on the things you are doing, without comparing yourself to those around you. Where were you a year ago, six months ago, a week ago? Look at how far you've come, what you've accomplished and what lies ahead for you. It's a pretty amazing journey.
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