Comparison is the Thief of Joy

In this world of highlight reels and social media, it’s extremely easy to compare yourself to others. Sometimes it can even feel impossible to escape. We’re constantly seeing other people’s personal achievements and amazing feats. However, we are only seeing just that– we are missing the full picture. We are not seeing the failures, the struggles, the not-so-impressive parts of their lives, mediocre lifts, frustrations, weaknesses, and boring training sessions. 

You may catch yourself downplaying your personal training achievements because Instagram or Facebook may randomly show you a video of an impressive athlete doing the same thing you just did, except with twice the weight and twice the amount of reps. The feeling of accomplishment you once had starts to fade.

With social media being a normal part of life to most people, how can you avoid comparing yourself to others?

  • Remind yourself of your accomplishments and your progress. Continuously look back in your training logs.

  • Remember that social media is a highlight reel.

  • Find athletes that you look up to. What do you like about them?

  • Think of social media as an iceberg, we are only seeing the tip. We are not seeing everything else underneath– consistency, failures, hours of hard work, training age, coaching, nutrition, recovery work, accessory work, etc.

  • Be conscious that everyone’s life situation is different. Do what you can with what you’re given.

    • For example, I can train at the gym hours per day because of my life situation—I do not have kids and I work at the gym so it’s accessible to me…I really have no excuse. This is not the case for most people because they have a job that is distant from the gym, they have kids to take care of after work, they have schoolwork to finish, etc., so their training may look drastically different. Do what you can within your control.

  • Everyone’s journey is different. If someone is squatting twice the amount of weight as you, they may have been strength training for three times the amount of time that you have, or they may have an athletic background. Or they may have incredible genetics. Either way, be in awe of their accomplishment and use that as inspiration.

  • Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and we tend to only see the strength in others through social media.

  • Celebrate your wins.

I’m sure many of us have heard the quote “comparison is the thief of joy” (and I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it in another blog as well). You will never feel proud of your hard work if you’re comparing yourself to someone else who has a completely different story than you. If you want to improve your weakness, set realistic goals and work for it. With consistent effort, you’ll get there.