I’ve been a Crossfit athlete for three years. I love what doing Crossfit has done for my body, but I also love the things that Crossfit has taught me about myself. Learning to not compare myself and to be happy when I do my best is one of the greatest lessons I have learned and one that I think is totally applicable in everyday life.
Six months ago, after I completed a Crossfit workout called “Helen,” I jumped down from the bar, looked up at the clock and did a little happy dance. I was more than a little excited. I had just “PRed” my Helen performance and I was ecstatic.
In Crossfit, “PR” means that I set a personal record. In other words, I did that workout better than I had ever done it before. I hadn’t qualified for the Crossfit Games or won a competition. In fact, there were lots of people who beat me that day, but I was still so excited because I had beaten the only person that really matters, myself.
Although my experiences in the gym are teaching me to let go of comparison, I’m not perfect, and I still have to be reminded of this lesson often. Just a few days ago, while this post was hanging out in my drafts waiting for more edits, I clicked on a blog post that a friend recommended on Facebook. The writing was flawless. The photography was stunning. The author’s words moved me, and I immediately began to compare the writing on that blog to what I have been writing here. I started doubting everything I have done. I was even having thoughts that I needed to ditch everything I had started here and forget it.
Why was it so easy for me to start comparing myself to the other blogger when I have been able to let go of comparison in the gym?
One of the reasons I think it’s been easier for me not to compare my gym performance is because I completely and totally acknowledge that I will never be the best at anything I do in a Crossfit workout. Although I totally love doing Crossfit, I am also naturally uncoordinated, inflexible and somewhat old. I don’t say that to put myself down. I can do so many things I never dreamed I could do when I walked into my very first Crossfit workout, and I am proud of how far I have come.
At Crossfit, letting go of wanting to be THE BEST has freed me to just do MY BEST. I am free to simply be who I am. I’ve also learned that PRs aren’t just reserved for gym workouts. I can get personal records in any area of my life. Who cares what someone else is doing? I just want to be better than I was before.
So how did I overcome the miserable thoughts I had the other day about giving up my blog because I thought someone else was better? Well, I thought about it most of the day and then quietly, in the back of my mind, I remembered the vision I have had in the past for what I want to write about. I remembered that I am me and that’s all I can be. I remembered that I didn’t start this blog to be the best blogger ever. I started writing to share and hopefully help others. I let go of the comparing and misery and went back to contentment, joy, and peace.
There’s only one me and there’s only one you. What if instead of focusing so much time and attention comparing ourselves to other’s best moments, you and I chose to focus on being better than we were yesterday? What if we looked for more of the personal records (PRs) in our own lives?
I can’t tell you what your best is. I only know what it looks for me.
At some point, I might write the best piece I have ever written, but I hope I won’t compare it to someone else, and I hope I won’t feel like I have “arrived.” For me, being MY BEST is the goal. That means that I will always have something to keep working towards.
Crossfit has taught me about giving my all, being my best, and getting a personal record in the gym. At the gym I am going to keep working and keep showing up because I know that giving my best is worth it. And I am going to do the same thing in my life. I will still be doing my little happy dance every chance I get, even if someone else beats me or is better than me.
How do you avoid comparing yourself to others? What’s making you do a little happy dance?
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