It's been said that comparison is the thief of joy. I recently read someone's post-workout rant about how awfully slow her run had been. We have all had those days, where our head is just not in it and our feet feel like cement blocks. Further reading of this "terrible" workout recap led me to realize that this horrible, slow pace was actually run at my usual speed. It got me to thinking: one person's worst-ever run could very well be another runner's personal best.
|On saying "I'm a runner" - via Runner's World, August 2012|
It can be discouraging to hear someone bad-mouth their own effort when that same result would elicit a cheer from someone else. To me it was reminiscent of hearing someone thinner than me complain about how fat they are. While she may legitimately not be in her top physical shape, it made me wonder... if she believed she was so hideous at what I deemed an ideal size, what did she think of me at my larger size? Was I even more grotesque and repulsive than she seemed to think she was?
I had this conversation with a good friend of mine last week. She made a negative comment about her appearance and I asked her, "would you say the same thing about me?" She looked at me in horror and immediately blurted out "Of course not!" I will pose the same question to you that I did to her: why do we treat ourselves differently than we do our friends? If the words you just uttered are so mean that you would never even consider saying them to a close friend, why would you say such hurtful things to yourself?
My first instinct after reading that runner's recap was to feel badly for myself for not being as fast as her. It was then I realized how unhealthy it is to compare my abilities to those of another. That person could have been running since they were 15 years old, for all I know. Ultimately I had to remind myself that I have only been running for one year and in that year I have already made a world of progress. No one else has had the same life experiences, struggles, or victories that I have. We may all be runners but the paths that led us to that commonality are wildly varied, and that's a beautiful thing! As long as we are moving forward as individuals, we win. It's when we fall prey to comparison that we begin to lose ground.