How do you judge your life?
Do you look at it in comparison with your facebook friends and come up short?
Do you look around you at everyone else working 9-5 jobs and feel disappointed that you’re not there yet?
Do you read articles about success stories and wonder why you’re not yet going viral with your outstanding recovery?
This is a natural thing and we’re all prone to do it, but there are a few reasons why this always leaves us feeling a little down.
1.Facebook only gives the highlights!
What do you post on facebook? Is it a general update on your life, whether good or bad? I know that when posting I tend to post positive things: today I’ve been for a beautiful walk, today I’ve seen an old friend, today I’m going on holiday. Despite the recent trend for posting pictures of our food online which led to an onslaught of cheese sandwiches and roast dinners popping up on timelines, we don’t tend to post the mundane things in our life online.
But my facebook is not a complete picture of my life, you won’t see the days when I fight to get out of the house or when I’m crying and hurt. People judging my life just from facebook would think I had it pretty jammy, and that’s why comparing our lives to social media profiles can be so dangerous. We’re comparing our whole lives – including the painful bits -with just the highlights of other people’s lives.
2. Everyone has a different story.
I have not met a single person to this day who shares the whole of my life story, or even someone who shares the majority. We can have things in common with people but it is very rare (and perhaps impossible) to find someone with exactly the same life experiences as yours. This means that when comparing your progress with other people, you can start to feel like you’re not doing very well.
The problem is that these people have different struggles to you. It may be that they’re more able to work full time or go to the gym but perhaps they struggle with maintaining emotional connections or breaking their routine. So someone can seem to be making more process than you, but simply be finding different areas difficult. Just because you don’t see their struggles, doesn’t mean they’re not there!
3. Your journey belongs to you.
When my dad did a half-marathon he wanted to get the best time possible. He trained hard and tried his best on the day, and at the end of the race he was pleased with his time. It was a personal best. There were runners crossing the line long before him, and there are always athletes who he’d have struggled to beat with his time, but he was still proud of his time.
Your journey belongs to you. It’s unlikely that any of us would aim to beat an olympic athlete with our swim/run/anything else times (unless of course we’re aiming to be an athlete ourselves) and if we’re willing to do this with exercise, why not with our recovery? Instead of looking around at other people’s progress, look backwards. Look at where you were a week ago, a month ago, a year ago and see how far you’ve come!
A week ago I was struggling to find hope in a world that suddenly looked pretty dim.
A month ago I was buried under deadlines and considering dropping out of university.
A year ago I was too unwell to work, study or do anything much.
Now I have only one exam left, and those deadlines have been replaced by half decent grades. I’m feeling pretty hopeful that my future could be bright again. I’m back at university, blogging and looking for a summer job. I’ve come so far in the next couple of years, perhaps not compared to other people, but that doesn’t matter because other people don’t share my story or my struggles.