Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Should Just Compare Myself with Myself

A friend posted on Facebook today the top ten ways to feel miserable as an artist.  The first was constantly comparing oneself to other artists.  The same thing can be said for runners.

For instance, today, a friend posted something in relation to the Boston marathon joking that the three of us who will room together in Boston were added to the elite group.  I know I am not an elite runner.  It is interesting to think about what they run and what I run, but there is no point in comparing myself with the elites.  There is really no point in comparing myself even with any sub-3 hour marathoner at the moment.  It serves no purpose.  The second member of the group said "maybe in another life".  I said, "If I get a personal best then I'll be elite for myself and that is all that matters."

Still, I know I compare myself to at least some others.  Comparing myself with a small number of others gives me something to aim for.  Comparing myself to the people who are 5-10 seconds per mile ahead of me is a good thing, if I can't stick with the healthiest thing which is just to focus on comparing myself to my goals and what I have been able to do in the past.

There are other ways in which sticking with comparisons with myself is helpful.  For example, today's theme was pain.

When someone asked how I am feeling, I could say pretty good.  Yes, I had an occasional awful dry hack.  But that is much better than I was two days ago.  No more sore throat and voice is back to normal.  Only comparing myself to myself was helpful.

Another example from today was feeling irritated when I had to take a bandage off a big scrape on my elbow from running this morning.  But I thought to myself "I run for 3+ hours and I spent 7+ hours getting a tattoo.  What is a little irritation when removing a bandage?" I got the bandage off quickly.  And life goes on.

Comparing myself with myself keeps like simple and straightforward and very real. It does not promote jealousy.  It promotes (for me) a way of staying focused only on whether I have what I need and being satisfied with life as it is.  

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