Smarter, faster, better, stronger, tougher...
I used all of these words this past weekend, many times while I was running.
I am by nature, a competitive person and a perfectionist all at the same time.
It's a deadly mix.
I don't know if it's just human nature, or if it's just my nature, but I am CONSTANTLY comparing myself to others. Gauging how and what I should be doing. Always trying to figure out the best way to do something. Add this in with my competitive spirit, and it can get crazy real quick. It's not that I necessarily need to be better than someone else I just need to feel that I'm at least on par, that I'm keeping up, not falling behind. This is my biggest fear... falling behind. Getting left in the dust.
Maybe it's the youngest child in me... I've always felt that I'm a "step behind" everyone else, because in reality I am. When your siblings are 5,7, and 8 years older than you, you naturally are behind them in every aspect. You always feel the need to live up to your siblings, what their doing, how they did, and what they've accomplished.
I'm sure it's not healthy, and once I get my degree in counseling I'm sure I'll spend many years psycho-analyzing my perfectionist ways. But whether it's healthy or not, I do it.
This past Sunday I ran my first half marathon and it was quite the experience. ( I think the fact that it was in Korea and I maybe saw 3 other foreigners added to that "experience"). And while I think I did decently in the race, I let comparisons with others get the best of me.
I didn't run "my" race. I got panicked when I saw everyone waaaaaaay far ahead of me, I figured I was last, I'd fallen behind, I was the weak one in the herd just waiting for the hyena to take me down. When in reality I wasn't the last person I still felt that I should be doing better! Better... like that other chick ahead of me... ya know the one that is just always at that unreachable place ahead of you? Faster, like the running group of 50 years olds passing me by. Tougher like that old guy I ran with for most of it, who despite the fact looked like he was about to keel over, kept encouraging me to keep up with him and run it all. Instead of comparing myself to all these people what I really needed to do was forget about them, and focus on ME! And while I did this later in the race (because my knee decided to give out and was trying to steal all the attention) I wish I'd done it sooner.
Why do I let myself get caught up in the game of comparing myself? Why do any of us? Are we really not happy being who we are, who we were created to be!? I have to say, if I were God looking down at my creation, the people I had created to be so specific and unique in their own way I'd get a little p'oed if they were all comparing themselves! We are meant to be different!
Despite not doing what I think was my best during this race, I think I came away with a life lesson learned.
The only thing I'm ever going to be the best at is being me. No one else can be me, better. Cheesy? yes. Simple and something everyone else probably has figured out? yes. Important for my mental and probably physical being? YES! And while this new sense of self will not lose it's comparing self overnight, it's something that I'd really like to strive and reach towards.
I want to share in others joy instead of wondering if I'm living up to the "expectation" and same standard they are. I want to stop figuring out how to keep up with everyone else, and let myself relax and fully appreciate my own capabilities. I want to enjoy being myself and figuring out all that, that entails. I want to live up to the full potential I was created with by a Creator who specifically made me this way.
So here's my question...
In what areas do you compare yourself to others? Looks, brains, physical capabilities, talents etc. And In what ways can you fully appreciate who you are?
"When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare and compete, everybody will respect you."