Why Competing Against Yourself Isn’t Always Healthy.
Over the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of posts/quotes/mantras focused on the “you against you” mentality. In a way, it is good because it’s teaching people to stay in their own lane, focus on themselves, and not worry about what others are doing. But in another way, the “be better than you were yesterday” mindset can be very toxic.
I’ve been in that boat before when I used to reflect on old photos. I remember seeing a photo of me with my stomach showing from a couple of years back and I vividly remember thinking, “wow, I really need to sort out my eating and exercising, I wanna look like that again”. Feelings of guilt, shame, and frustration flooded in. I felt compelled to tighten up my nutrition and pushed myself to exercise more, to be better. Amongst all the guilt and self-loathing, what I didn’t factor in was at that current point in time I was going through a stressful time of building my business and dealing with an emotional relationship in my life, so although health was prevalent in my life, it wasn’t the priority.
And that’s okay.
What I realize now is that although movement and nourishment are vital, it can’t always (and shouldn’t always) be the main focus of your life. Don’t expect yourself to be 100% every session, to always hit a PB, to always be pumped to workout. Don’t berate yourself if you do feel a little softer or aren’t as shredded as you were once upon a time. IT IS OKAY. Our life’s purpose is not to look like the cover of a health magazine 24/7, our fulfillment and a deep level of joy does not stem from our outer surface. It comes from falling down and standing back up, it comes from connections made with people we love, it comes from trying new things and experiencing new cultures, it comes from giving.
Think about if you had a daughter or son. Think about the things you would tell them if they were trying to be 100 every day but some days fell short, some days they made mistakes, some days they weren’t as happy and energetic as they usually were. What would you tell them? You would probably comfort them. You would probably tell them that it’s okay to have low energy and make mistakes. You would probably tell them that taking mental and physical breaks works wonders. Right?
Now think about this.. What if instead of comforting your daughter or son with your kind words and actions, you put pressure on them. You told them they don’t need to be better than their brothers and sisters, they just need to be better than they were yesterday. And when the day inevitably comes that they aren’t better, you berate them, tell them they’re useless. You fill them with guilt and fear and you push them to sort their life out for Christ sakes!!!
How do you think they would respond? Do you think this would help them grow into a healthy, vibrant, and confident human? Yeah, probs not. The same goes for you. To the mamas, high-achievers, to the ones thinking they need to impress people to be loved, the hardnuts, and anyone this might resonate with, please lighten up on yourself and throw some love your way. You're in need of it. You deserve it.