Apples to Oranges

I’m sure you’ve seen the popular quote before on social media, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” And, it’s true. It’s not fair to you and to that person to compare the journeys. It takes away from each of your own experiences, and does not take into account your different genetics, upbringings, life experiences, diets, lifestyles, etc.

A lot of the times we are comparing apples to oranges.

Now, the other popular quote is, “The only person you should be comparing yourself to is who you were yesterday.” This is better. Much better.

But, I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time. I don’t know if comparing myself to my old selves are really any helpful. I say this, because whenever I do compare myself to my old self, more times than not, I’m comparing my current self to the best version of my old self. For example, I am currently not as strong and fit as I was over a year ago pre-baby. Whenever I do a workout, I think to myself, “Ugh, I used to be able to SO many more butterfly pull ups than that!”

Sound familiar? I know a lot of you do this to yourself, too. Especially when we come back from an injury, surgery, setback, or even just a long vacation.

We are human, though, and we like to see results. We want to know that what we are doing is actually working, right?! We need to compare SOMETHING!

So, what should we compare, then?!

Maybe we compare how we feel at the beginning of class to how we feel at the end. Do you feel stronger? Happier? More relaxed? A little bit fitter? More focused?

Maybe we compare our circle of friends to the old company we used to keep. Has your circle upgraded since joining CrossFit?! I know mine sure has!

Maybe we compare the lifestyle choices we are making now to before. Are you drinking more water now? Did you quit smoking and now detest the thought of it? Are you getting 8 hours of sleep now? Are you more grateful these days?

Maybe we compare our results from our current Physical Exam to past ones. Has your cholesterol lowered? Blood pressure back down to normal? Did you decrease your body fat? Increase lean muscle? Hormone levels intact? Getting enough iron? Calcium?

Maybe we compare our mental health. Are you more confident than you were before? Happier? More willing to take risks? Making yourself more of a priority now? Writing in a journal? Meditating? Seeing a therapist? Are you gaining tools and resources to improve your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Are you better able to handle stress now?

I guess what I am trying to get at is, there’s A LOT more going on here than JUST your “Fran” time, folks! Don’t forget to look at the BIG PICTURE and celebrate your progress in ALL of those areas!

Lastly, while a little tough love comparison can be good, sometimes we need to slap in the face, most comparison should be used as a way to look at and appreciate your personal growth - body, mind, and soul. We are NOT the same person we were 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, heck even 1 year ago!

You are ALLOWED to change each and every day!

Maybe the better saying is, “Allow yourself to be the person you are today.”

Kara PurvesComment