Everybody knows you shouldn’t compare yourself to someone else. I mean there are tons of quotes on Pinterest telling you not to compare yourself. In face, you can find the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy” with dozens of different design options.
But Carla AKA MizFit recently raised the question of whether you should compare yourself to yourself. Again, if you check Pinterest, you’ll see that you should only compare yourself to the you of yesterday.
But really, should you? Is that really any healthier?
Should I compare myself to what it looked like when I was younger?
When I hadn’t had kids yet? Or even after I had kids when I was super skinny from nursing?
Or should I compare my current job situation to what I was doing before I decided to take some time off for my kids?
Or should I look at my house and compare it to what it was like when it was just Beer Geek and myself and two people’s worth of stuff?
Obviously, the answer to those questions is no. Because there is nothing to be gained by comparing yourself to something you can’t go back to. I will never be 25 or 30 or 35 again. I made career choices that make it unlikely I will ever follow my old path again. And my house will not be uncluttered until we are “empty nesters”.
But is there something to be gained by comparing your current self to your yesterday self?
Only if that comparison is for the purpose of figuring out what worked in the past, rather than to knock yourself down.
There are things to be learned from your past actions. Maybe you had a workout regime that really worked for you that helped you run faster, but it fell by the wayside. Maybe you used to have a habit of cleaning up a certain hotspot at a certain time that used to keep your house neater. Maybe there was a time when you were better about eating healthier foods, instead of the junk food habit you’ve fallen into.
Learning from your past successes (and failures) can be useful. Looking at how far you’ve come in some areas can help you snap out of a “feeling sorry for yourself” mode. When I compare my faster, stronger RNR USA half marathon with the slow, hurt so bad half marathon this weekend, I could feel bad about myself. Or I could learn from it. In this instance, I’ve learned that I need so run more hills LOL.
I don’t think there is a wrong or right answer. It all depends on what you do with the comparison. Whether you learn from it or let it bring you down is up to you. (I feel this same way about scales and credit cards – they can be useful tools or they can be something you need to banish. It all depends on how you use it.)
What do you think? Comparison to yourself – good or bad? Want to read what Carla had to say?
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