The Comparison Trap 

stop comparing yourself to others

If you haven’t seen my social media for the past week, you might have missed my posts from Israel, and the love I shared for not only the trip, but the fellow influencers (ok, I hate that word) on the trip. I was really nervous before going because everyone else on the trip had a much bigger social following than me…also they were much fitter than me. I was comparing their successes, bodies and accomplishments to my own.

I was nervous, embarrassed and worried that I wouldn’t fit in.

the comparison trap

Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong and the group actually made the trip so amazing. Rather than making me feel out of place, they all shared words of wisdom on their own brands and industries, especially on Youtube where I’ve just started sharing content properly.

Instead of comparing myself to them, I utilised their knowledge and generosity to help make improvements to my own social…and to my fitness!

On that note, having worried that I wouldn’t be fit enough, it turned out that a lot of our activities were focused around running and I was able to repay the favour and help two of them finish their first ever 10K.

the comparison trap

I could have saved myself the pre-trip anguish if I had NOT compared myself to them. Infact, I’d save myself a lot of anguish on a regular basis if I stopped comparing myself to others around me.

Are you guilty of comparing yourself to your friends, co-workers, people on social media?

Why do we do it? It mostly just makes us unhappy, less satisfied with that we have rather than focusing on the awesome components of our own life. The grass always looks greener on the other side, in particular because through social media everyone is presenting their ‘best’ life without any of the behind the scenes struggles.

Personally, I often fall into the comparison trap when it comes to training, to running and fitness. And not only comparing myself to others, but to myself in months/years gone by. To a time when I was fitter, thinner, faster… rather than simply focusing on where I am with MY training NOW and what I want to achieve.

the comparison trap

The fitness and weight loss industry thrives on the fact that we compare ourselves to others – to their bodies, workouts, their kit. The promise is sold that by going to that particular workout class, buying that piece of kit, eating that meal plan – we too can look like them, which in my opinion, isn’t always healthy.

Instead of looking at where you were, look how far you’ve come. Focus on the small milestones and goals you’ve achieved. Maybe you’re battling a busier work schedule, a stressful home life, some health issues? Yes, on race day we are often gunning for a PB, but sometimes it’s just the fact that we’ve shown up, kept running and crossed the finish line that is the win for the day.

Do the best you can do. If you’re giving your all, you can’t ask for anything more. If you know you’re doing your best, then F what everyone else is doing.

the comparison trap the comparison trap

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t look at what other people are doing for inspiration, motivation and advice, but make sure it is positive. That you’re learning from it and it’s pushing you in the right way rather than negatively impacting your mental health or knocking your own achievements.

Remember that we’re all putting our best life on social media for people to see. Most people aren’t sharing the boring, mundane, or downright crappy parts of their day. Whatever you are going through, you’re not alone. Even if that thing is forgetting your knickers and having to be naked at your sports massage (thank you for all the messages to tell me your embarrassing sports massage stories!)

One final note… I listened to Kelly Robert’s latest podcast this morning, where she said that although comparing yourself to others is NORMAL, and the feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) happens to the best of us, try taking yourself away from social media when you find yourself doing this in a negative way. Spend time with those you love IN REAL LIFE and appreciate the things you do have.

the comparison trap

 

12 Comments

  1. 8th November 2017 / 12:35 pm

    Yes!! I fall into the comparison trap so often – my past performance with my current fitness, my Instagram following with others, even how I look. I make a real effort to remind myself of all my achievements when I find myself falling foul of comparison – the reason my fitness has fallen is because I smashed my MSc, my Instagram followers are awesome, I have cool hair 😝 I think society trains us to compare, when actually life is nicer when we celebrate and support x

    • charlotte
      8th November 2017 / 10:00 pm

      Yes I agree – sometimes I genuinely repeat the words from the The Help… I think you are awesome and I am in awe of your management of your MSc, job, fitness, blog, podcast…etc etc! Keep at it!

  2. Simon Canning
    8th November 2017 / 1:02 pm

    Comparison is the thief of joy. I read this and it’s rare I consider these sorts of comments valid. But this, well it could not be more accurate. As you say Charlie, of course look to others for inspiration and guidance. But compare you with you. The fitter stronger more confident you. In my endeavours to change myself from party animal to fitness freak, there will always be quicker better athletes. And I am happy for them. But for me all that matters is making the most of me.
    I find it wholly refreshing that you are so open about your barriers and “weaknesses” * Charlie. Because it allows more people to see what is possible if you try to improve yourself. And not feel down on themselves when looking to social media for motivation on self improvement. For most of us, it’s hard work. But we try; and that is what matters.* I put “weaknesses” like so because they are area’s for improvement. Your “critical self” might tell you otherwise, that irritating little voice of negativity that creeps up on us and can be consuming. However if we can hush that voice up one will immediately feel stronger, more confident, and it will be easier to have self belief. Happy training Charlie

  3. 8th November 2017 / 3:00 pm

    Love this Charlie. It’s sometimes so easy to forget where you’ve come because you’re too busy looking at where someone else is! x

  4. Dana
    8th November 2017 / 3:52 pm

    I love ALL of this! It’s so true and so hard not to do in today’s world. Thanks for the wonderful reminder today that what I am doing is good for me, I’ve come a long way, and I can use others to inspire me. But live in the present & be with REAL people!

  5. 8th November 2017 / 4:30 pm

    I LOVE this! I don’t know why I end up comparing myself – I have an AWESOME life! But, social media makes you feel like it’s not good enough. I have momentarily unplugged myself from Facebook and IG (time-suckers) and will get back on when I am on vacation next week (basically so people know that we are alive), but I also don’t want others to compare their lives to MY life. With running, I compare myself to two years ago when I was on fire with paces. I want to be fast again but I also don’t want to put so much pressure on myself that I’m not enjoying training and celebrating seeing results. Thanks for keeping it real! 🙂

  6. Rebecca
    8th November 2017 / 5:19 pm

    Love this! And I love you! Thank you for making the trip so epic and getting me through my first 10k! You are awesome 🙌🏻🙌🏻

  7. 9th November 2017 / 12:51 am

    Yes I totally find myself in the comparison trap with friends, social media, other runners, etc. I was just telling my sister how I haven’t written about my running lately on the blog because I don’t feel like it is good enough to write about. That’s mainly because I follow so many people in the fitness industry who seem to be doing so many more awesome things or have faster times, etc. But I forget there are a whole other group of people who do not exercise regularly, who are maybe looking to make some healthy changes, and who feel overwhelmed by comparing themselves to fitness extraordinaires. Maybe those people would be inspired by my running/story.

  8. 9th November 2017 / 8:55 am

    I guess on the one hand it’s hard to imagine that you would have felt that way. Because you have a huge following and you get a lot of support online and I’m guessing as well in real life. So when your social following is huge, then one would think that would be enough boost for you to believe you are good enough / fit enough.

    on the other hand we should realize that you are a human being and that you have the same feelings as the rest of us! and because of that you also can feel insecure and not good enough to be with these other “ifluencers” (I hate that word too!).

    I’m glad you were able to get over these feelings are realize that you are just as important / good enough / fit enough as the rest of these people!

    I often compare and have to regularly remind myself not to. Because after all this is MY journey (another word I hate), MY body, MY level and I don’t need to be like the others to have something to contribute! But it’s hard, Charlie. You have a voice out there on the internets, I don’t. As much as I try, I don’t.

    By the way, I love Israel! I’ve only been once, AGES ago, and still have it on my list of countries to return to!

  9. 9th November 2017 / 8:46 pm

    Ah yep, have fallen into this trap many times. There’s a line between being inspired to be active or try something new, and comparing yourself to others. I try to stay on the inspired side as the comparison trap makes me feel crap and ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!

  10. 15th November 2017 / 2:54 pm

    Great post! It’s such an easy and horrible trap, but as you say, going offline and that which uplifts us is undoubtedly the best way to combat it. It’s so nice to hear it’s a problem but we all share it and can work on it together

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