Comparison is the thief of all joy, said Theodore Roosevelt. And, yes, believe he was right.
You’re walking down the street feeling pretty on it (with make up, hair done, and actual clothes – not active wear), and then someone much better pulled together strides the other direction filled with confidence, and you suddenly feel ‘less’, than you did mere seconds ago.
You’re at parents evening, you’re really proud that your child has written such a lovely story, and then you notice the ‘almost novels’ with impeccably neat handwriting that their peers have written, and suddenly you make a mental note be more diligent when it’s school work time.
And then you’re at run club, and you feeling very fit and prepared as you prepare to tick yet another run off your marathon plan. Then you overhear another runner, sharing about how this is her easy run, is a mere 7:55/mile pace, and she’s so looking forward to just chilling out – you balk, as 8:00/mile pace is a breakneck pace for you.
So yes, it’s true.
Comparison is the thief of joy. We shouldn’t compare, we should be happy in ourselves, in our own accomplishments, and achievements. But it is hard isn’t it?
I see others training for the exact same marathon that I am (Brighton Marathon, 14th April), and they are doing more, less, faster, slower, and I can’t help but compare, and of course doubt myself and my plan.
How can we take these continuous-fruitless-comparison-happyness-zapping thoughts away?
Top Tip 1: Step away
I stepped away from run club, and took a few rest days a bit earlier in the week than I normally would have, and just what I needed to reset and gain perspective. 7:55/mile might not be my pace, and that’s okay, and I can see that now.
Top Tip 2: Divert your thoughts
Immerse yourself in something else. Rather than be prisoner to your own thoughts, divert them. Running got you down, start reading a novel, or pick up an old hobby (mine is sewing), off to the fabric shop and time to start dreaming about what I will make next.
Top Tip 3: Think inspiration
Instead of thinking, I’ll never be as good as, as fast as, as thin as, as smart as… use their success as your inspiration. Take something small that they do, and try it out yourself, a bit like dipping your tow in, to see if it works for you.
Top Tip 4: Social Media detox
Similar to tip 1, stepping away from social media (and in my case instagram, and my self prescribed 1 post a day quota), gave me an immense sense of relief and freedom from endless comparisons.
Top Tip 5: Rest
Going to bed early, and scoring some extra rest, always gives me a better frame of mind. Plus, I always try to remind myself that rest doesn’t have to mean sleep. Equally good ways to rest are: putting your feet up and/or indulge in a bath and pamper session.
So that’s a few ideas from me. How do you cope with comparison thoughts?