Monday, 14 September 2015

Reasons to be down vs. reasons to be cheerful.

My friend Riven sent me this today when I was feeling down and it was perfect and exactly what I needed to hear

I've been struck with the ol' comparing-myself-to-other-people curse today.
And I was going to write one of my old mopey posts that I've written over and over again about comparing myself to other people and wanting to do everything and being too hard on myself.
And then I thought no. I've had my time today to wallow in self-pity and now I'm going to pull myself out and celebrate the little joys and victories. I'm going to turn all those reasons for being down into reasons to not be down.
(Is this even more self-absorbed? I couldn't work it out).

So the first, and often, reason why I'm down...

1. I want to do everything... and I can!
This weekend is a perfect example. It was my friend Becca's birthday on Saturday and she'd planned a meet-up and a night out in Birmingham. Annoyingly, it also fell on the same day as our friend Rosie's leaving do. 
I spent a lot of time feeling down and getting frustrated about this. I wanted to do everything, as I always do. But I also want to fit my Sunday long run in. And I also wanted to do my usual Sunday life admin (food shopping, washing, food prep etc.)
But I compromised. And it was great.
I went down to Birmingham, had lunch with the girls and then headed back to Manchester where I went out for a few drinks for Rosie's and was in bed by 12.30am. I got to catch up with my friends and still go to Rosie's, and I got an early enough night that I could do everything I wanted to do on Sunday.
I hate the fact that I usually have to compromise but I'm starting to realise that the reason I end up compromising is because I've chosen to do all of these things. Of course I'm going to miss the odd night out with marathon training, but that's because I want to do a marathon. If I want to have good, healthy dinners for the week I need to get the food shopping and the food prep done. Sometimes it's just a case of prioritising. But that's another issue entirely.
Plus this is a really stupid reason to be down! I was down because I had lots of people who wanted to see me - that's awesome! I really shouldn't be down about having too many awesome friends.

2. I get envious when people are better at running than me... but look how far I've come!
Two years ago this week I ran my first-ever 10K. My time was 1 hour 10 (which remained my best 10K time for over a year!). Two months ago I ran a 10K in 58:08. 
Before Christmas my 5K PB was 32:12. Now it's 27:47.
I just found an Instagram of my first mile under 10 minutes, which was on Boxing Day last year. 
On Saturday I ran 5 mile training run at a pace of 9:44/mile.
I ran my first half marathon last year in 3 hours. My goal time for my next race is 2:20 - and it's looking pretty certain I'm going to finish much quicker than that.
I forget these things. I forget how hard I've trained and how far I've come. I always say one of the things I love about running is that I'm only ever competing with myself, but it would be a lie if I said I never compare myself to other people. 
Sometimes I have to shut everyone else out and remember how far I've come.

3. Other people are better at running/blogging/cooking/their jobs etc. than me... but I do a lot of things!
I have an endless list of things that other people are better than me at. But I came to realise that this is because I do a lot of things! I work full time, I'm training for a marathon, I run this blog, I'm in a charity choir, I cook dinner every single night, I run a household.
I think when I look at other people I only look at one or two of their strengths, and it's not fair to compare when I split my time between so many things.
I remember this standing out particularly when Katie wrote this lovely piece on her favourite bloggers and she highlighted that I was the only one on her list who worked full time. Now there's nothing wrong with blogging full time, but how can I compare my blog with someone who has 8 hour days to work on theirs? And at the same time how can I compare my career with someone who isn't training for a marathon, or in a choir, or running a blog?

4. I always want to do more and better... because I'm a very driven person
I get annoyed with myself for always putting pressure on myself to do more, do better, get faster, learn more, use my time better. And I drive myself crazy and exhaust myself and make myself feel terrible. But it's this drive, this passion, this ambition that gets me up at 5am to go for a run. It's this drive that gets me to sign up for races. And it's this drive that people tell me they admire me for. And that's awesome.

5. People don't always put the truth on social media... but I do!
I have this complete inability to not be myself. I'm stressy and anxious and loud and talkative and emotional and I don't hide my feelings well and I don't know how to not share that. On my Instagram you'll see times when I was too tired to run, times when the oven broken in the middle of making a roast dinner, times when I had to go buy an emergency chocolate bar amongst pictures of kale salads. I'm human and I share that. But I know not everyone does and I forget that sometimes. I forget that a lot of people are just sharing the nice pretty things in their life. And that's okay! But sometimes I compare my life in pictures to theirs and it's not a fair comparison.

6. I'm always comparing myself to other people... but so is everyone else
Knowing I'm not the only one who does this makes me feel way better. Hell, I'm sure there are people who read my social updates and look on my Instagram and compare themselves to me! (Although I really hate the idea of making other people feel inadequate, so if that happens, go read this post and all my other whiny ones where I post about comparing myself to other people). The reason there are so many quotes about how terrible comparison is is because we all do it. But all we can do is wallow in self pity for a while, then pick ourselves back up and count our blessings.

I know this was a bit self-obsessed but I hope it helped even a little bit for anyone else who is feeling like they are always spending their life comparing themselves to other people. Writing this felt way better than wallowing in self-pity and then writing a whiny blog post!

How can you turn your negative comparisons into positive ones?

Charlotte x

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