March 30, 2013

The Compare Game (and Why it STINKS)

My list of personality flaws and faults is long, but the fault I place at the very top, the one thing I have been working for years to remove is jealousy. Jealous is a nasty, yucky, spirit sucker. I go through phases with my jealousy. Back when I was in counseling, I was given the task of naming something I was thankful for every time a jealous thought popped up. I've tried to use that throughout the years. It's always a good reminder to know that while I may not have ________ that ______ has, I have other equally as great things going for me.

Unfortunately for me (and probably others), jealousy can quickly become a sliding board to a pit of darkness. Let me tell you about my crazy thought processes over the past week.

First off, last Thursday would've been my 10 year wedding anniversary. As any normal person that has had their heart broken, I had a lot of different emotions. And then in true self-destructive Rebecca fashion, I did all the wrong things. The self-destruction kind of looked like this, followed by my sweet little ah-hah moments.

*Look up the ex on FB. (If anyone knows him, please tell him to put his pics on private! ICK.) From this I got to obsess for a good hour about his new girlfriend, her perfectly large breasts and flawless skin. Nice to meet you, self torture!

THEN I noticed him- ugly as ever. Spare tire. And he was boozing in the pictures. Of course he was. That's what he's good at. Then I looked at my sweet boyfriend. Aww, he loves fishing and running and ME! Crisis adverted.

*Open the dreaded heart shaped box holding the old diamonds. Deep breath- yep, still in there. Crap, that's a lot of jewelry.

BUT HMMMM, the diamonds really aren't that pretty anymore. Yeah, they're biggish and still fit. (Um, I may or may not have tried them on.) Conclusion- diamonds with no meaning are not pretty. Nope, in fact, they are UGLY! Must. pawn. soon.

*Next comes the self-pity section. Wahhhh, what happened to my life? Why am I so old and not married? Where are my babies?

And if you hung in there this long, I will now transition into the Running Compare Game. I know, FINALLY, something about RUNNING! Raise your hand if you compare yourself to other runners!

The worst running jealousy is over someone you have never really met. Maybe it's that person on FB that always has rocking awesome training including perfect interval splits, fast long runs, and dynamite tempos. And those things... are done faster than you. Or maybe it's that runner that you KNOW runs less than you, but has those rocking awesome abs or cut leg muscles.

I don't struggle TOO much with jealously with my real-life running friends. Hard work is very important to me, and so are those friendships. I know they work hard, and I respect those relationships so much that I fight away those green feelings like the plague. However, there are one or two runners (my own boyfriend is at the top of this list) that are quite fast, yet they don't do 1/3 of the work I do. THAT is frustrating.

You know what's cool, though? In my small running group, we do a remarkable job of boosting each other up. Yes, there are those times when we have friendly competition, like Sam beats me and I beat her, but that is rarely important. It's those days on the track when we're busting out intervals and spurting out a "good job" to each other. It's those long runs with friends where we push each other those last few miles. The races where some of us run and the rest of us go and support. THAT is the way to beat jealously.

When playing the Compare Game, here are the reasons I will *always* win.

I have so many awesome people to run with. These people support me and care about me, whether I suck or rock. They are there, and I am there for them.

I'm not going to win any beauty contests, but I rose above my ex. And I don't miss him. I miss marriage, but *fingers crossed* that's in my future. My inner beauty outweighs his.

I will never be the fastest, but I'll never be the slowest. I will always do my best. Always working hard and doing your best is PRIDE. I take pride in what I'm doing- running, coaching, and teaching.

Run Happy, friends!


  1. Hugs my friend! I am sorry it was a rough week, but I am glad you were able to turn it around in your heart and your mind. The problem with the compare game is that there is always someone faster, thinner, "prettier", richer, fitter, closer to your goals than you are, etc. if you look for it. I went through a short period of time where I really let myself get discouraged by how many are so much faster than I am and don't seem to have to work as hard. But I got passed it by deciding that one, I was going to celebrate my own journey, my own hardwork and my own results, no matter how they compare to anyone else - and two, I was going to be supportive of others whether they are much faster than me or much slower. Our journeys are all our own, and what other people can or can't do doesn't have any impact on what I can or can't do. So I am just going to keep on putting in the work and doing my thing, and cheering everyone else along the way. For me that is way more rewarding and fun than comparing and feeling inferior and full of doubt.
    Oh, and as you said - recognizing the blessings that we do have is a huge help too.
    I hope that new diamonds and babies and PRs are just around the corner for you. I for one am cheering you on always! Hugs!

  2. I struggle with the same feelings. (minus babies). Someone told me once that if the grass looks greener on the other side, it's probably AstroTurf. ;-) I try to remind myself of this....

  3. Sending you a giant hug. Jealousy is something I struggle with too; it's so hard when you see people improve expodentially faster than you with less work, butI try to remind myself that I'm doing the best I can.

  4. I'm sorry. What a tough time for you. Go sell those suckers on Ebay and buy a bunch of fabulous shoes with the money ;)
    I am not at all competitive, but I still am annoyed by those who easily pass me in races but never do the work! Here I am limping in on a torn hammie and my "I didn't run this week, I just biked" friend is under 40 min....I do get indignant. But we all have different levels of ability, so I know I can't compare.

  5. I think we all struggle with some degree of this. But I also think that by the mere fact that you're aware and self-check win, hands down :)

  6. Just wanted to say how much I love your posts. So honest and real and raw. I love this. I don't read many blogs lately with all this moving stuff going on but I'm glad I clicked on yours. You're such a diamond yourself! Or so you seem to be from what I read of you. So go get rid of those old diamonds and let someone be lucky enough to get you! You seem like the WHOLE PACKAGE! I think that even the act of getting rid of those old diamonds can be one that brings real peace and transition...sounds like you're already on that path but this can be one more step to full closure. Anyway, I'm babbling here...tired...but just really wanted to tell you that I enjoy reading your heart. Thank you. xoxo

  7. I kind of alluded to this early in my last post, but keeping splits and stuff that tends to set off others potentially off the table. Plus it's empowering keeping your "projects" to yourself sometimes.

    The relationships? That is where the real gold (or diamonds) are. I think both of us can attest to that.

    For every one thing we don't have, I bet we can find TWO things that we do! Boom. There's a challenge for ya!

  8. I just came across your blog from Brooks ID and I love it. I am so inspired by your PR times!

    As for the diamonds, I agree with Amanda. You need to get rid of those old diamonds. You are worth it to do that for yourself. It sounds like your new boyfriend is amazing and that you have a lot more to be thankful for than you realize. :-)

    Run Happy

  9. Anonymous3/31/2013

    STOP comparing yourself in negative ways, right now!

    You don't WANT 'perfectly large breasts' - they'd be a total pain running fast, and you RUN FAST.

    It is totally natural to be bummed about people who achieve better results than you do with less work. But think of all the people who work hard and achieve way less! You are doing what you can with what you have, and that's all you can expect of yourself.

    I think that's why running and racing can be GOOD for us. Yeah, we're racing against others, but we're also racing against ourselves - trying to PR, or do better than we did last year on that course, or whatever. Because it's very hard to get past the Compare Game, but you can give yourself an outlet by comparing yourself to YOURSELF. And it's so great when you beat your own past time!

    PS sell those stupid ugly diamonds. Get something NICE for yourself as a gift from you to you!

  10. We all like to spy on our ex's and see how their life is going... In my case I like to think I would still be a better catch and laugh a little to myself.

    Be happy with who you are, we are happy with you...

  11. Trust Ilana. Big breasts are A PAIN for running and bathing suit shopping. You don't want them.

    On a more serious note, I struggle with this so much. I really appreciate you posting it because it speaks to me so clearly right now. Once I heard how my teammates did at their marathon the day after mine, I had this sinking feeling that I didn't run my race as fast and starting crying because "why couldn't that be me!" I knew it wasn't the best thought pattern, but I couldn't help it. Anyway, it's HARD not to compare, especially when exposed to others so often. But I would consider it a victory the faster you can get over it. And from the sounds of it, you did some comparing about things, but quickly got over it. Maybe before you wouldn't have gotten over it as quickly. Hang in there-- your time for marriage/babies will come. I know it.