The Thief of Joy

one size fits none
That’s not fair. You are trying to take the easy way when there is no easy way. You’re cheating. You don’t have to work half as hard at this as I do. Why does she have it so easy while I have it so hard?  Jealousy, despondency, spitefulness, hopelessness, indignation, self-righteousness: these are all things I feel when I compare myself to others, when I compare my weight-loss journey to someone else’s. What is it that they say comparison is? The thief of joy.

It doesn’t stop there. Comparing myself to other people has an adverse effect on both my emotional state and my physical progress. Comparison steals a lot more than my joy. It robs me of motivation, self-confidence and empathy. In comparing my journey, my success (or lack thereof), my methods or beliefs to those of other people I become judgmental and resentful, subsequently making me feel ashamed of my thoughts and angered at myself for being anything short of supportive of people trying to change their lives and find their own happiness. It shifts my focus off of the only thing that really matters in this process: me.

I have my fitness journey. I have my own unique starting point. I have my ideas regarding the best way to lose weight., I have my own values as to the right way to do it, I have my own goals. I am proud of what I’ve achieved and, as I work hard to lose the weight I’ve regained, I re-embrace those methods and values and I focus on today’s starting point.  So why do I care about someone else’s journey? Why do I compare myself with them when, ultimately, there is no comparison. Why do I allow myself to be so petty as to be anything but elated for someone’s accomplishments or so disheartened that I allow it to deflate and discourage me?

In trying to answer these questions, I come back over and over to my own insecurities. Losing weight is hard. Losing as much weight as I have to lose and losing it the way I chose to lose it is hard. Maybe there are easier ways, maybe there are faster ways, maybe there are ways that require less commitment or sacrifice. The insecure child in me rails against the perceived unfairness of it all as if that somehow changes reality.  As my confidence in myself wanes when I don’t achieve my goals, I compare myself more to others resulting in self-sabotage and shame. It feels much easier to focus on someone else than take responsibility for my struggles.

I cannot be distracted or derailed by someone else’s journey. I must have the confidence in knowing my way is the right way for me – both in terms of health and values – and that there is no right way for everyone. I am responsible for my own body as it is now and I will be responsible for it when I hit my goal weight and I will have pride in that achievement. Supporting people in their attempts to lose weight and get healthy should never be restricted to those whose paths follow my own. This is not a one-size-fits-all venture. There are a myriad of methods and we all must find what works best for each of us as individuals, the method that makes us proud and helps us to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

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