Yesterday I made the point that we can’t simply look at another woman’s body, dig up what she does in the gym and in the kitchen, follow it and expect to get her results. It simply doesn’t work as we are all so individual.
We’ve all done it.
We see a woman with the legs, hips, or abs we want and we start down the path of following her nutrition and workout plan. If we’ve been doing nothing, it probably helps. If we’re not new to fat loss, maybe we learn a tip or two.
That’s all fine, but this “I’ll have what she’s having idea” is bigger than that. Most of us don’t stop at, “Hey, I’ll give her plan a go” we take it all the way to, “If I do what she does then I’ll look like her…..and then I’ll be happy.”
Looking to another woman and thinking, “Why don’t’ I look like her?” can bring us down so fast we often don’t even see it coming. We’re looking a magazine or Facebook and pretty soon we’re cranky, agitated, frustrated, sad and hating our bodies because they don’t look like so and so’s. That’s comparison. That’s dangerous. I’ll admit, I’d love Jen’s legs, Jill’s shoulders and I assume you saw Marni’s abs???
And while I don’t follow any of their nutrition or workout plans to the T, I’ve definitely learned a ton from each of them: Jen has inspired me to get a better balance of heavy lifting and yoga. She also reminds me to eat more food! Currently my strength training is very similar to Jen’s and I consistently get busy and under eat all day. Then after a workout, look out:
I could eat everything in sight for the rest of the evening. Jill, where do I start? Jill’s work in mindset is so in line with my philosophy and her point of view always shake me right to my core.
And Marni, she makes me want to get back to swimming! The only sport I’ve ever competed at was swimming and I haven’t done it in about 25 years for more than a few sprints here and there – and playing in the lake. But every time I see a pic of her in a triathlon I miss swimming. I find Marni to be very good for the part of me that thinks
“Oh I can’t do that, I’m not an athlete….”
But it wasn’t that long ago that all of these insights would’ve been lost on me as I stared at their lean muscles and seemingly limitless willpower and began my downward spiral into comparison and envy. Not something I’m proud of, but this used to really feel crippling to me. Let’s use Jill as an example and how comparison showed up for me: I’d see a picture on Facebook or Instagram of Jill in a tank top or sleeveless dress and then would come the “why don’t I look like hers”.
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I’d start down a dangerous road as I compared how much leaner her thighs are than mine and wondering why don’t my delts pop like that? (Jill has the best shoulders in the biz if you ask me.) And before long she’s not only leaner than me – she’s better all around. Soon Jill’s running around my head being a better coach than me, a better wife, a better friend, a better business woman, a better person. Her house is probably cleaner, her clothes are cuter, and on and on. You name it and she’s kicking my butt at it.
And it all started with one thought, “Why don’t I look like her?” One comparison turned her into the perfect woman and me into a total mess.
And perhaps most embarrassing is that I’m not only comparing myself to her, but now I’m jealous. I’m feeling envious of how beautiful her body is and how much I hate my own. Soon I’m agitated, depressed and feeling very stuck. From this place I’ve got nowhere to go. Why not? Because I’m playing a game I can’t win. I can’t win at being Jill. Jill wins at that. She’ll win today and she’ll win at it again tomorrow.
The only game I can win is at being my best.
Sadly for years I’ve played the wrong game, a game I was always bound to lose. And it’s not just Jill, it can be any woman that gets under my skin – or under yours. I’ll be as you read this you’re reminded a woman who really gets to you. Or a time when you saw an old friend, a magazine cover or hopped on to Facebook to have your comparison and envy Fattiude get all fired up.
They say comparison is the “thief of joy”
It’s actually whole lot worse than that. Comparison, and its sidekick envy, are killers. They kill your motivation and squash your self-worth.
No other woman has your genes, your particular set of hormonal and life circumstances. So it’s not just apples and oranges, its apples and airplanes. What she’s got is totally irrelevant to you. But it happens. So what should you do instead? The antidote for comparison is forgiving yourself. When comparison shows up, take a deep breath and come home. Home to yourself. Forgive yourself for using the wrong measuring stick – her.
The only comparison you should make is to how you would’ve done before. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to anyone else.
I’ve got no business worrying about what Jill’s got – as gorgeous as those arms are. My measuring stick is me, not her. It’s a total waste of time to compare the two and it only keeps me stuck when what I need to be doing is getting back to the work of being my best. Let’s also not underestimate how this puts “her” in the wrong – even though she has no idea she’s even involved! Let her off the hook by turning the attention back to you.
And perhaps what is the most sad about comparison is that when we’re so worried about what she’s got, you miss out on being you.
Like I said, I will always lose at being Jill – but I can always win at being me.
And if I’m not rising to the challenge of being the best Brooke I can be, guess what? No one is manning that post! If I don’t do it, no one will. It is heartbreaking when I see the woman I work with doing this because I know how terrible it feels…I’ve done it for years. So when you find yourself comparing, stop. Forgive yourself for comparing to the wrong lady, compare yourself only to who you were yesterday and simply ask, “Am I BETTER?”
Get back to being you
Back to a game you can win.
Welcome back, we missed you! Oh, and the green meanie? When comparison shows up with a float of envy, the antidote is giving her a genuine compliment. Walk right up to that girl you’re feeling jealous of and tell her how fabulous you think her abs/arms/thighs are.
If it’s online, comment, post or tweet at her. Complimenting is the antidote to envy. And never forget that while it may look easy for her, you really have no idea what her world is like – she may struggle more than you realize….we all do.
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Quell the little green monster with appreciation for something you find beautiful without comparison. It’s Ok to want it for yourself but it’s not OK to dwell in unfairness that she has it and you don’t – it will just keep you stuck. When we waste energy worrying about stuff we can’t change, we have none left for the things we can. I can do all the shoulder presses in the world and what will I have? My best delts….but I still won’t have Jill’s.
So what’s the big deal with comparison?
Besides being a little depressing? Well it’s actually MUCH bigger than that. It’s stuff like this that gets us way off track and makes doing what you need to do feel so bad. Comparison is just one of these mindsets that throw us off course and make us miserable as we try to do what we need to do every day to be BETTER.
The others are deserve, unfairness, guilt and I should/I have to. This stuff is so big that I’ve created a 21 day program for you to get on top of all of these troublemakers. Just like forgiveness is the tool to use here, you’ll get practical tools to transform each of them. I created this because while I was embarrassed that I did this, I know I’m not the only one.
I talk with women every day who were struggling with the same things and I saw it time and time again get them off course. It is problem we have to solve. If this is something you want to get over once and for all you won’t want to miss this program.
Get started right now. But for today, watch for comparison and if it creeps up, forgive yourself. Then let her off the hook and get back to work being BETTER.
And if you feel jealous? Authentically compliment her. You’ll feel better, she’ll feel better and you’ll be free to turn your energy back to you. Thanks again Jen, Jill and Marni for begin part of these two posts – muah! xoxo, Dr Brooke