stop comparing yourself to yourself.

Hi humans!

I have a thought. It’s an enormous jumble in my brain right now, so I’m hoping I can word vomit and make something out of this thought in a way that allows for it to make some sense.

I’ve been seeing a huge number (like, weirdly huge) of posts lately about how we should not fall into the comparison trap. Several captions on my Instagram feed sound something like “I’ve been struggling lately with comparing myself to others, …” and then usually reminding readers that we need to not compare ourself to anyone.

I’m just talking about purely physical comparison today.

I’m not sure why I’ve noticed this all of the sudden, but it’s starting to get out of control. Anyway, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the message of not comparing yourself to another human. I completely agree with that. It’s the advice that inevitably follows that has been weighing on my mind lately…

After first stating that lately, they (the poster of the photo + caption) have been falling into the “comparison trap,” then comes, “Do not compare yourself to anyone…but yourself.” You should only compare yourself to yourself, and focus on being better than who you were yesterday. Don’t measure progress based on someone else; rather, measure it based on only yourself. Trash the scale–take pictures and measure your progress that way. 

I just don’t know how I feel about that.

I’m starting to believe that we shouldn’t even be comparing ourselves to ourselves.

Focusing on a picture of yourself last week where your abs looked pretty dang good should not be weighing on your mind today when you indulged a bit last night and you can’t see your abs.

Beating yourself up because you could squat 150 pounds last week, and today 120 feels like 300 is not healthy. I don’t even think it’s a healthy replacement for wishing you could squat as much as that girl over there. I think it’s pretty much just as bad.

I think we need to stop comparing our today body to our last week, month or year body and focus all of our efforts and thoughts toward appreciating (maybe even loving) our body every day and not wishing we look like we used to, for a day, when we “thought we looked really lean.”

Saying that we should only be comparing ourself to ourself is just another form of self destruction, in my opinion. I say this because it’s proven to be so in my life. I’ve definitely looked at pictures of myself from last year, heck, even two weeks ago before my surgery since I have been an inactive blob since then, and compared myself to myself.

I’ve thought, “Gosh, I had an 8 pack in that picture. I could barely see 4 today. I want to get back to that. Why can’t I look like that again?”

I’ve thought, “Ugh, my butt and hamstrings were so much bigger when I used to do legs three times a week. Now I have such chicken legs. Why can’t I be as disciplined as I was then?”

I’ve even compared my hair color, length, skin quality, *butt size*, THE LIST GOES ON AND NEVER ENDS…and I’ve made myself feel upset, unworthy, and awful because I don’t look the same anymore.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish it were possible to just not look back and love ourselves with a blind eye to it all. I realize that’s the most unlikely “what-if” statement ever, but it’s just a thought.

I definitely find myself comparing myself to others–all of the time, no question about it. I probably compare myself to someone else physically at least 10 times a day. How horrible is that?! But that doesn’t mean I should replace that comparison with a comparison toward myself…it means I should get over it and just live my life.

Like I said, this is just a jumbled thought and I realize that given the nature of the human brain it’s not likely to instill change in the thought pattern of anyone who reads this. (Esp. those with disordered thinking patterns surrounding food/body image/exercise.) But just let it be food for thought, I suppose.

I don’t want to compare my last month to my today. I still have goals, I still want to work harder and be BETTER than I was last month, but in regards to purely physical comparisons I should not be comparing my current body to anything at all.

Talk to me:

What are your thoughts on this?

Do you think progress photos can be self-destructive?

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10 thoughts on “stop comparing yourself to yourself.

  1. That’s so strange you posted this…ive been thinking a lot about this as well. My birthday is next week and I keep thinking to myself, “Last year I was __ pounds. This year I’m ___.” and I keep looking at pictures from this time last year, comparing myself to now. Then I have to tell myself, it’s ok to be different. Why am I doing this? Why am I torturing myself looking at these pictures? It’s a very difficult habit to overcome, but an important one in recovery, and really for every human even those without eating disorders. Thank you for your post!

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  2. Girl, you so hit the nail on the head! I’ve been thinking this a lot. I wish I looked like a did… fill in the blank. I think we just need to live in the moment and appreciate where we are now. If that makes sense. I’m not trying to sound cheesy, but just be in the moment.

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  3. i love this and JUST wrote a similarly themed post! Great minds think alike.

    First I compare myself to others as well. Which I am trying to break free from Yet I find myself comparing myself to myself in such an unhealthy way. It produces feeling a of guilt and anxiety. I think there are times this is good and can serve us but we also need reminding that we are the present moment. We are not what we were yesterday , ten years ago or even this Morning. Continue to remind ourselves to be present.

    I am trying to not beat myself up over the things my body could easily had done yesterday but today it can not. Learning to accept without need for self assurance is my goal 🙂

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  4. hmmm…insightful. And I find myself in agreement with you! I am the WORST self-critic. And when we criticize ourselves we are essentially comparing ourselves to who we could have been or who we used to be. I find that practicing being present with where I am currently helps and brings much more peace in my soul. I’ve recently been struggling with the whole comparison, why-am-i-never-good-enough games inside my head. NOT healthy. Luckily my brain is usually scattered so I enjoy scattered posts. Made 100% sense to me!

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  5. I have mixed feelings about progress photos. Sometimes I think they are really encouraging for some people and bad for others. And I do agree that the comparison game with yourself is usually not a good idea, especially if that’s all you can think about. I’ve found that the more I’ve focused on Jesus and the less on myself, the easier it is to get away from that trap of comparison.

    BTW: I love your website re-design!

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  6. I love that you wrote about this, because it’s something I’ve always had issues with as well. I get that it’s meant to encourage people to progress and keep moving forward, but at the same time, I feel like if we’re not doing as well in one thing, it’s because something else in our lives has taken priority and more of our efforts are going towards that… if that makes sense? Like, I used to be way leaner than I am now, but that’s because I had more time and energy to devote to working out, and now my priorities have shifted. I hope that made sense. Thinking out loud 😛

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  7. I do this all the time. I’m 28 now & terrified of turning 30 & no longer looking like my younger self. I find myself wishing we could turn back the hands of time. But what I try to tell myself is, my body might be aging, but my mind is getting wiser therefore I’m becoming more of a beautiful person each & every day 🙂

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