Topic Tuesday: Comparisons

Katie G Picture“We Are All Enough” (By: Katie Goenner)

Over the weekend I saw a great post on my Instagram feed from @beatingeatingdisorders that said, “Friendly reminder that “doing your best” does not mean pushing yourself to the limits of endurance, but only doing the best you can without hurting yourself. Further, even friendlier reminder that it’s completely fine if that means you don’t do as much as someone else. They’re not you, and your contribution is just as valid as theirs.”

So powerful! Since I’ve been in the recovery process from anorexia, I’ve been reminded over the past year to accept myself, to find my inner-beauty, to take deep breaths, practice self-care, etc. which are all definitely awesome but I don’t think I have come across anything that has hit me quite as hard as that post. Yes, it’s only words and probably words I’m sure I’ve tried to tell myself before but I don’t think I ever realized my brain was interpreting “do your best” to “be the best or you’re the worst” or that “do the best you can” was meaning “everyone else is doing more, you must be better” until recently. How powerful it was find such clarity in a few simple sentences that have given me such strength over the past few weeks.

I’m training for a half marathon with a couple of girlfriends and naturally, it requires  some weekly dedication to get my runs in. I love routines so in the past when I’ve gotten into one, whether it be for a race or simply a friend that insisted I join them at the gym multiple times a week, I ended up putting so much pressure on myself, I found myself slowly pulled back into the downward spiral of neglecting my husband and children, restricting food and over-exercising. I know now this is a very slippery slope for me personally and a place I do not want to travel.

How did I find balance this time around? To be honest, I almost decided to forgo the race altogether. My husband was certainly hoping I would skip it. But then I decided to share my stress, frustration and sorry-for-myselfness in a private group on Facebook comprised of some friends I’d made in a prior ED support group and they were more than supportive of any decision I chose.  Borrowing their strength and wisdom to look at the situation in a different way meant I could look at this race and weekly runs as time spent getting to know new friends in my new town or use the time focused on my body, the competition and the overwhelming self-imposed guilt and pressure to always do “better”. Coming across that post on Instagram truly gave me validation that I was allowed to choose the former. I had the ability make the runs about building friendships and less about obtaining my personal best.

Giving your mind and body a break and shutting out the comparisons is truly freeing- not easy, but freeing. Deciding that “do the best you can” really means “do the best you can for you, at this time, in this moment” and knowing that whatever you choose is enough- because it is – you’ve won.