Why Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Comparing ourselves and our bodies to other peoples when it comes to health and fitness can be one of the most damaging internal narratives we can have. Rather than it be motivational to see what is possible to achieve (on the face of it), it can often make us feel inadequate, deflated and miserable in pursuit of what we see as perfection in front of us.

Lets go through some of the common traps we see relating to comparison and some tips to help you move forward…

  1. Comparing the real ‘You’ to the person you see on Social Media

With Social media being a huge part of everyone’s life, rightly or wrongly, it’s hard not to compare your real self with the perfect filtered images you see on your phone or table every day. Purely referencing a visual or image without knowing what that person has either done to that image or what they have put their body through to get to that point can be a dangerous track to go down.

You are comparing your real self with someone else’s highlight reel…that’s the best they can look, plus some! We’ve all done it…you scroll through your camera roll to find the best image of yourself and that’s what you portray to the world. That’s the same for fitness models, influencers or your friends posting their workout snaps.

In this case a social media cleanse is the perfect solution! Follow qualified, trained professionals who can add value and educate you on your journey. Unfollow people that make you feel bad about yourself and consider taking some time away from social media on a regular basis.

Which leads us on nicely to….

2. Be Realistic in your comparison

We’re not saying that the fitness models and influencers don’t work hard…but understand that this is their job. The workouts, programmes or plans they are promoting on socials are likely to be their life. Even those real people that you follow, friends who you consider to look great, probably place lots of priority on their own health and fitness goals.

Celebrity transformations…Actors prepping for the role of their dreams…all being paid and contracted to deliver and to look a certain way.

So be realistic with what you can achieve. The human body is amazing and can do amazing things. Never think you can’t get there…but go in eyes wide open and understand the work it will take to get those bodies that you are referencing. Or, change your reference point, leading to…

3. If you are going to compare yourself to anybody, compare yourself to your past self…

The best person to compare yourself with is yourself…or your past self. If you have just got into some bad habits and and are looking to get back in shape based on where you have been before…at least you know a) how you did it and b) that its totally achievable.

Be in competition only with yourself with the aim of being your best. Make sure you factor in any changes in your life that may mean you have to do things differently…for example having kids. Long evening gym sessions might not be possible post children so accept that you might have to get up an hour earlier to workout…putting more effort in, in different ways to get the results you want essentially. And finally….

4. What are you prepared to invest to get the results…

To get the results, changes will need to be made. Whether that be losing weight, gaining muscle, getting stronger…your daily actions and choices will get you there. You need to ask yourself what you are prepared to sacrifice. Could you have a six pack….absolutely. Would you want to sacrifice all of the things you would need to to achieve it? Probably not. Is it worth it?

You are more likely to stick to any change when it fits well into your lifestyle, allowing you to be more consistent vs. over restriction to reach an idealistic image that you have in your head (see point 1!)

So...be kind to yourself! Don’t get hung up on the images you see in front of you and fall into the trap of comparison. Make change only for yourself and be proud of yourself and others for doing the same.

Comparison IS in fact the thief of joy. You’re either finding something that in your eyes means you’re not good enough, brining down your own self esteem and self worth or you feel superior in your comparison, that somehow you are better than somebody else. Whichever way you look at it, neither is a great place to be.

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