Why do we do it to ourselves?

Although this is a post about exercise, it can apply to many situations. I do it with my job, my hobbies and even my family.

I have just come back from the gym. I don’t go very often as running fits into my life a lot easier and running is ‘my thing.’ I go once a week, at the weekends with the main purpose being to strengthen my legs to help prevent injury. The advantage to going early in the morning at weekends is that I have the place to myself. Today was anything but.

When I walked in my heart sank as there was a bunch of what I call ‘gym lads’ congregated around the area that I needed to be.

You know the sort – all muscle and brawn. (Unfortunately there were more covered up than these guys!)

Intimidated? Me? YES! As I warmed up on the bike I heard a female voice and I slowly came to realise that there was a female among them. (I couldn’t check by looking as that would be too embarrassing and obvious!) My heart sank further. I could kind of ignore and work around the men but a woman was a different matter. It wasn’t until I was driving home that I was able to understand why the dread intensified as I realised that there was a woman there and that was because she was direct competition for me. I was drawn to compare myself to her. Sound familiar?

I see it all over social media, on Runmummuyrun people are always comparing themselves with others….

I managed 6 miles today but I am such a tortoise

How can I get faster?

Compared to many of you I realise that this is slow but today I ran my furthest ever.

I definitely do it all the time and tonight was no different. So I wasn’t doing as many full press ups, pull ups, squats etc as her.  No I wasn’t shouting about the fact that I ran 12 miles at the weekend – after a swim, no I am not exercising with the lads….


I am not her. So I wasn’t doing what she was doing but then she wasn’t doing what I was doing. Could she do my single legged squats, on a bench, on 2 mats? What about my weighted snatches?? I don’t know but I maybe not (and does it matter anyway?).

I also do not have hours to spend at the gym every night. YES I also ran 12 miles on Sunday but before I went I got breakfast for 3 children, changed 4 beds and sorted out what would happen whilst I was out running. I then ran 12 miles before spending the afternoon tidying the house and running after 3 children. Did she? Probably not. She probably had a lazy morning in bed before getting up and preparing for her exercise which was followed by a lazy afternoon.

So I probably cannot run as fast as her or, in reality, am as strong as her but I am not comparing like for like. (She was also several years younger than me!) So why am I comparing myself to her? As I drove home I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel as pleased as myself after my work out and I think it was simply because I was comparing myself with her and not with myself. My single legged squats were better than they had been before and the other exercises felt easier but I didn’t feel strong.

What is really upsetting is that as we were in the minority (there were more men than women in the gym tonight) we should have supported each other (which is what happens on Runmummyrun). The only people we should compare ourselves to is us. We are all on our own individual journeys and at different points along it. We need to celebrate our own successes and not compare ourselves to others as it is not a’ fair test’.

Oh and I have absolutely nothing against the poor lady in the gym this evening she was simply an example of my own weaknesses. Please remember this as you go about your lives. Whatever you do please only compare yourselves to you and be kind. If you are learning something new concentrate on your successes and DO NOT compare yourselves to others. Yes, use others as inspiration but go no further.

2 thoughts on “Why do we do it to ourselves?

  1. Gallivanta

    Your words remind me of exam questions of long ago, which would ask us to “Contrast and compare” and in doing so show our critical thinking skills. Ugh! Unfortunately that sort of thinking then pervades other areas of our life.

  2. Frenchie in Canada

    When I first saw the pic I htought you were going to run one of those races where firefighters spray you with water along the way haha
    And if it’s any consolation I am very impressed by how much training you are doing. You’re going to run the London Marathon, how bad ass!


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