I have always heard that comparing yourself to others is one of the worst things to do. There is an old saying that says something along the lines of remembering you may be in chapter 2 and not to compare yourself to someone else’s chapter 15. That is not exactly right but you get the general point. I think we can all agree that comparing yourself to others is not really a great idea. There was a time when I really struggled with that. I really struggled with not being as strong, or fast, or having as much endurance as another person. I still struggle with that when it comes to trying out a new running club or fitness class. This is why more than a year into living in New York I still have not joined a running club, nor have I been to The November Project yet. It is not that I do not want to, however, anxiety and comparison when combined make it very difficult at times to join new groups.
We all know that comparing yourself to others is not a great idea, however, the side that no one really talks about is comparing yourself to yourself. In my (very humble opinion) this is even worse. You may be thinking how can comparing myself to myself be all that bad. Well, let me tell you. The reason it is bad is that when you compare yourself to others you may not show up to group training, however, when you begin to compare yourself to yourself you stop showing up for yourself.
What I have learned is when I focus on what I used to run when I was stronger and fitter than I am now I get discouraged. When I focus on the fact that 5 years ago I could maintain a 14-15 minute mile for 8-10 miles and today I am sitting at 16-18 minute miles for no more than 4 miles, which can be discouraging. It can be so discouraging that I get into my own head and tell myself that I am not worthy to even be running. I tell myself that “I do not deserve to take up space in the gym”. I allow myself to believe that I am not good enough.
I have gotten past comparing myself to myself and have been running a few times a week now. I have even signed up for races and feel solid about that. I will eventually get to a point where I allow myself to find a running club here in NYC. However, for now, I am proud of myself for putting one foot in front of the other again. I am a runner and I am an athlete and I will win the Game of Comparision.