Comparison – the root of all evil?

Comparison is a pretty natural behaviour – we can compare every aspect of our life to someone else. How does your house, job, wardrobe, rank to theirs? It can be never ending, really. I think for most of these factors, we can make fairly objective comparisons and they don’t strongly impact our life. Maybe it gives us ideas for our house, or a new store to shop at – positive ways comparison can work.

However, there can be a negative side to comparison, a trap I find myself in often. Social media plays a huge role in life these days, and can be a main source of comparison. So much is readily available and easy to access…. and I think it’s pretty clear that people have no issues with posting a LOT (I mean both in frequency and in showing a lot of themselves). So, when does comparison cross the line, or become a problem? It depends on you.

Comparison is constructive when you can look at, compare, and respect elements, but are able to acknowledge the fact that everyone is different and you have qualities to be proud of.  Your mood or outlook isn’t impacted when you evaluate the other person, and you can view the pictures and appreciate the work done behind the scenes.

Comparison is harmful when you look at, compare, and find yourself lacking overall. This then alters your mood or how you view yourself. Truthfully, I’ve been guilty of this a lot – and it drives me crazy. It can totally ruin my mood, making me negative about pretty much everything, and question my own progress. It’s terrible!!

I saw a post by a fitness model once that put things into perspective, and I thought I’d share it here. She did a “before and after” photo shoot – only the time lapse was about 3 minutes. She managed to look very different – leaner, more muscular and defined. How? She altered the clothes she was wearing, played with her lighting to be more flattering, and hit some strategic poses to catch the light and play up her body. It was genius and it’s totally true.

The next time you catch yourself flipping through your IG or facebook feeds, and feeling negatively about yourself, think about these things:

  • how have these people used lighting, poses, body angles, and filters to make the picture look perfect?
  • how many pictures did they take to get that perfect shot?
  • in terms of competitors, how current is the picture? Is it from competition prep, close to stage time and incredibly lean? If so, this isn’t a reasonable body composition to compare to

Comparison

 I’ve found a handful of honest, inspiring people to follow through social media – people who have similar goals to me, and live and love the lifestyle completely. They go through true off-seasons in which they gain weight back and post raw, unflattering pictures of their abs to demonstrate all aspects of this life.

Here’s a challenge for you: find and follow people who inspire you, and cut those that don’t push you to be better. If you’re struggling with comparisons, avoid social media for awhile – if it’s not doing anything positive for you, what’s the point? Hopefully that doesn’t lead you to stop following my blog….. 😉  Have a wonderful Friday, and remember – everyone has something to be proud of, focus on that!

About Ashleigh

I'm passionate about health and fitness. I work as a Health Promotion Specialist, a group fitness instructor, and also a coach for physique competitors / weight loss clients. I grew up as a competitive athlete, and have continued with this passion as a Women's Physique competitor. Research and writing is another interest of mine, which I use to share my knowledge with the general public.
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