Lately, I’ve been thinking about comparison traps. I have lived most of my life using other people as examples of how I “should” be – both with running and with pretty much anything else. My guess is that I’m not the only one here who has fallen into a comparison trap; as I’ve trained to be/worked as a counselor, I have come to learn that people naturally care about what others think. It’s a part of being human. The question is, how much social comparison is too much? I attended my cousin’s baby shower over the weekend. Rachel is my oldest cousin and the first one of us on my dad’s side of the family to have a child. It’s so exciting! This excitement lead me to think about how the last life milestone I celebrated was graduation last year. It made me wonder when my next milestone would happen. Sometimes, it feels like everyone else is doing huge things and I’m just looking forward to my next meal 😛 The last two books I read were Rising Strong by Brené Brown and An Accidental Athlete by John Bingham. Both books are centered on the idea of focusing on yourself. Seeing other people run sub-2 hour half marathons the first time they try makes me wonder why I haven’t joined that club after more than 10 half marathons. Seeing others reach certain milestones makes me feel an incredible amount of pressure to pursue things I’m not ready for/don’t really want. Side note: attending Rachel’s baby shower did NOT make me want a baby right now, haha. I eventually want kids, but not until I’m in my 30s! The baby shower definitely made me think about milestones, though. Society gives us a timeline that is impossible for absolutely everyone to follow. It’s really frustrating, but only if you pay attention to it. It dawned on me yesterday that these societal timelines are not as serious as I’m making them out to be. Way too much of my attention has been focused on what I don’t have these days. Yes, me, the regular participant in/creator of Gratitude Friday. I have worried about not having a big enough apartment, a fast enough marathon time, that I’m not posting enough on social media/am posting too much on social media, and more ridiculous things like that. How awful is it that most of us are conditioned to always believe that we aren’t measuring up in some way? I think it’s really silly, especially when my life is so darn good. Getting jealous of things like my friend’s fancy new sectional couch (this is a real thing I got jealous about, ha) is such a waste of time. It’s also a colossal waste of time to feel like I should run faster than someone who is naturally fast or is younger or has some other athletic background. Yesterday, I decided to run 3 miles just for me, but push the pace to something faster than my usual training runs. I worked to be more mindful of my surroundings and to focus on MY pace, not the pace of the other people out on the trail. I am striving to live in my own story and run just for me. I want to reduce how much I’ve been comparing myself and competing with others. I want to take more time out of my day to just BE MEL. This will be a constant work in progress, but it is something I have to do. I have so much to be grateful for and comparing my pace (in life and in running) to that of others needs to stop. Thank you for reading this stream of consciousness. Remember that your story is important because no one else has quite the same experience. It’s not worth it to worry about fitting into society’s mold 🙂 Do you compare yourself to others often?