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Comparison Steals Joy

Posted by Emily Beers on


A friend of mine—Mandy Gill—posted a video of her doing bar muscle-ups and chest-to-bar pull-ups this morning. 

The accompanying post said: “Comparison steals joy. Wake up every morning proud of how far you've come and how hard you've worked.”

This has always been the hardest thing in the world for me to avoid doing: comparing myself to others.

I’ve always been this way. I’ve always felt like success is relative, and I’m constantly ranking myself compared to others. Scores have always mattered to me more than they should.

I remember in Grade 6, I did a social studies research project where I got 98 percent. I immediately asked another classmate what he got and when he told me he also got 98 percent, I was so pissed off. I had helped him with his project and didn’t think he had done a great job. Embarrassingly enough, I remember marching up to my teacher after class to ask her why I didn’t get 99 or 100 percent if my classmate got 98 percent. Not surprisingly, she gave me a look that said, ‘Kid, go home.’

So you can imagine what the Open does to me: A worldwide leaderboard that allows you to compare yourself to every single person in the world.

I shamefully admit, I sat there one night and plugged my scores into all 17 regions in the world to see how I would have done if I lived in another region. I knew as I was doing it it was a pointless exercise and would result in nothing but disappointment. I knew my time would have been better spent focusing on my own Regional competition coming up. But I did it anyway.

Sure enough, when I discovered I wouldn’t have made it to Regionals in places like Northern California, where I would have been 24th, and Europe, where I would have been 33rd, I got a bit discouraged.

And then this morning, Mandy’s post said: “Comparison steals joy.” I repeated the line to myself a number of times before my workout.

I’ve always thought the Open just has a way of making people feel like shit about themselves. But seeing Mandy's post, it dawned on me that it isn’t the Open that does that to me. It's me who does that to me.

Thanks Mandy.

 

 

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