The great philosopher Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” This statement is so profound because it is completely accurate. Although we know this, it doesn’t stop us constantly comparing ourselves to others. Why do we do this? Can it be a good thing or does it always cause problems? In my humble opinion it can be a good thing, but for a lot of time it is detrimental to us. Let me explain.
Comparison can push us to better ourselves; in the gym, as mothers, as spouses, daughters, and friends. It can light the inner drive within us to try harder, be more productive, and elevate our own personal expectations. When your bestie and workout partner just PR’d her squat, do you think that is going to make you lift your best in the gym? You betcha! This friendly competition and comparison is a positive thing.
So when does comparing yourself to others become detrimental?
Problems arise when your comparison leads to judgement of yourself and your self worth. Everyone is on their own journey. Your body, baby, family and life have your own unique set of challenges that cannot be compared to the Mama’s next to you. Feelings of inadequacies that pop up from comparing yourself to others is a self perpetuating cycle because the grass is greener on the other side. You can never know exactly what is going on with someone else, and judging their lives based on what you see and what you hear will never give you the full picture. Maybe, that new Mom that you met who seems to have it all pulled together and her body ‘bounced’ right back after birth, is not fueling her body correctly and doesn’t feel at peace with herself and her new title of Mom. If by comparing your body to her body leaves you feeling a failure, intimidated by her, or reduces you to negativity, who is that helping?
As soon as you let your comparison cause negativity, it is no longer spurring you to be a more awesome version of you. It is a hard habit to break, but when you do, you will realize the only comparison that really matters is the one between your past self and the self you are living today. How can you be a better athlete, mother, spouse, friend or daughter than you were yesterday? If each day you strive to be better than yesterday, the possibilities of who you can become, what you can do and who you can inspire are endless!
Dr. Liz Marshall, DC