“Comparison is the thief of joy,” Theodore Roosevelt once said. We all know this to be true, whether we are comparing ourselves to a magazine model, a famous celebrity, or the girl at our job that just seems to have it all figured out. What you find is that when we start our fitness journeys, we all start for different reasons. Maybe you started because you didn’t feel comfortable looking in the mirror, you wanted those Spring Break abs or you’re going through a terrible break up and have that “look at me now” motivation. Regardless of the reason behind your push to the starting line, we all face different challenges and struggles along the way. One that many, if not all, women can relate to is the challenge of comparison.
How do we conquer the inner demons?
Comparing ourselves to each other is difficult not to do and when you first step foot in a gym, surrounded by people with bulging muscles, the ability to do the perfect crow pose and those women who train and don’t seem to even break a sweat….things get intimidating. So how do we conquer these inner demons that make us want to shy away from doing what we really want to do?
Ask for guidance
Remember everyone started somewhere. No one woke up one day and had the perfect body they always desired. Each person is different and every person started not knowing what they are doing or the proper way to use machinery. Never sell yourself on your potential because you’re worried about not being the best or a professional right off the bat. Ask for guidance, if you see someone in the gym that really looks like they know what they are doing, ask for pointers- now you’re making new connections too!
"Don’t let that feeling of being a superhero diminish by wanting to be anything but yourself."
This is your journey. No two bodies are alike, so what is the use in comparing yourself and your hard work to that of someone else? The time and effort you put in to your body will begin to give you confidence you’ve never had, it will make you stand taller and more proud because you can do anything. Don’t let that feeling of being a superhero diminish by wanting to be anything but yourself. When you notice how confident someone else is, how much you admire another woman’s physique or how you’d like to be able to wear what someone else is wearing…use this as motivation, remember that there was a time that those women also looked at someone else in admiration and set goals for herself.
Who runs the world? I do.
Photos are your best friend. Progress, progress, progress. When I began training, I started taking progress photos weekly. When I would become discouraged or emotional about my lack of transformation or I caught myself looking at a girl who had a better body wishing I had it…I’d compare to photos of myself. The pride you will feel when you begin to see the smallest changes between photos is indescribable. Progress photos remind you what you’re doing this all for, they remind you how hard you’re working and how far you’ve come. They are the fuel to your drive and nothing will make you feel more like Beyoncé than seeing results you want and saying “Who runs the world? I do.”
Your idea of “better” is not everyone’s
Here’s the kicker. Training for my first bikini competition, I’ve gotten in unbelievable shape. I have abs I never dreamed I’d have, my legs are lean and muscular and my back is completely transformed. With that said, I took one look at my competition and began to panic. They look so much better than me. How can I stand up there and compete against these girls that look so good? This all went through my head over and over all night long until my trainer, Felicia Romero, brought me down to Earth. “Beauty is subjective. Your idea of “better” is not everyone’s, someone is going to look at you and think you have it all. You cannot compare yourself to another person that is not you.” That reminded me of the mantra I’ve tried to hold dear to my heart since I began making personal growth for myself through fitness: you are your only competition, remember that you are only trying to be better than the person you were three months ago, three weeks ago, three days ago. No one gets to take away your hard work, your happiness and the inner peace you find when you start to love yourself.
Self-acceptance can be a scary thing, some people think it is conceited and will say you are full of yourself. That is when you need to remember you are full of love for yourself and that is something beautiful, not something to be ashamed of. Be proud of your journey and who you are becoming, because when you start taking care of your body, your mind begins to wake up to just how great you truly are.