Today’s project for the Comparison Trap was to list areas that make us feel the need to “catch up” or pull out the desire to compete. Those times where I am content until I see what you have.
For me, the easiest and first answer was “the gym.” I was totally content with benching 135 until I saw what he can lift. I was proud of my 155 squat … till I saw girls with two full plates. I was feeling great about my sled speed till she passed me. This could go on for hours.
I think it annoys Donovan too. Where historically Donovan would assign teams based on similar ability, I noticed the last few weeks he has been teaming me with someone nowhere near me. They are either unreachably above or significantly behind me in capacity, almost as if to say “I dare you to compare to them.” And when there is an odd number, I am almost always the person without a partner.
More than irritating Donovan, all this looking around is costing me. My Wandering Eye wrecks my form, decreasing the effectiveness of my workouts and increasing my chances of injury. There is nothing I want more (in the gym) than the ability to do pullups… if there is a woman in the gym doing pullups, I can guarantee my form is suffering on whatever I am doing because I am watching her.
This comparison isn’t limited to the gym either. It’s that competition that rises in me when someone else books a $50K deal after I just booked $10K. When I’m told one-on-one that I did well but your name is the one on the slide in the meeting. Basically any conversation with my world-traveling siblings about my limited experience overseas.
Y’all, it’s exhausting trying to be better than everyone! No matter how many people I “beat” there is always someone better than me. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Everyone I meet is my superior in some way.” I will always find a way to be bested by you if I look hard enough.
More than exhausting, though, all this comparison actually blinds me from what I have and where I am in my own journey. God has richly blessed me with heath and strength and discipline. This year I have drastically improved mentally, physically, and financially. Every goal I set in these areas has been achieved and many of them were exceeded beyond what I could imagine 12 months ago.
Am I where I want to be? No … I never will be. But every time my eyes wander to looking at you and where you are and what you are doing… I lose sight of what I’ve accomplished and how blessed I am. I question if I have made progress because you seem further down the road than me.
And that’s ridiculous. It’s like the winner of the Kentucky Derby comparing his lap times to a guy driving for NASCAR … they aren’t in the same sport, on the same track, or using the same tools.
When my Wandering Eye has me looking at your awesome spouse and wondering if I will ever meet a man who will even want to date me much less marry me… it blinds me to how God has surrounded me with awesome friendships. When my Wandering Eye has me looking at your 300 followers, it keeps me from seeing those are being impacted by what I write.
I’m not implying that I should stop fighting to improve but I am insisting that I recognize each of you as fellow warriors instead of contestants. Your beauty does not make me ugly nor does your strength weaken me. Victories are shared to inspire, not to bother.
My prescription glasses are uncomfortable: gratitude. The assignment part 2 was to list what I had to be grateful for that counteracts those same comparisons. Although it took a few minutes, the process of thanking God for what I have accomplished readjusted my perspective and improved my vision, not just of myself but also of you.
We are all on a journey going somewhere. We all started somewhere different and we all want to arrive at different destinations. No two people have the same life and no two stories will be the same. Let’s celebrate each other, and ourselves, and wear Gratitude before the Wandering Eye of comparison blinds us all.