It’s a really crappy feeling when you compare yourself to someone else and feel inadequate.
We do it all the time. When we’re scrolling on Instagram, waiting in line to check out at a store, and most often, when we are in a workout class or at the gym. I did a Warrior Sculpt yoga class this morning at Lifetime Fitness, and it was easily the most challenging class I’ve ever taken. The format was a nonstop, heated vinyasa yoga class with weights added into the mix. I have never done anything like it before, although I’ve taken plenty of yoga classes, this was a whole new level.
I was pretty excited going into the class, but as I began to realize the caliber of “Warrior Sculpt” compared to traditional hot yoga, I started to feel defeated. It also didn’t help that there was a girl in front of me who had abs like Alessandria Ambrosio.
There was one point in the class where I had to stop and get a drink of water because I actually thought I would faint. As I collapsed onto my sweaty mat, I had these evil thoughts start to trickle into my mind: “Oh you can’t keep up now?” “I thought you were GOOD at yoga?” “Look at her…she hasn’t even taken a single sip of water, and now you’re sitting on the floor.”
These thoughts made me want to grab my stuff, and get the heck out of there. But I didn’t. I sat there for a second, allowed the thoughts to be there, and then pushed them out of my head, replacing them with: “I’m here for me. I’m only here for me.”
I got back up into position, and did the absolute best I could for the rest of the class, and refrained from placing any more judgement on my performance.
When the class was finally over and I was lying on my back with my eyes closed, I reflected on how I judged and compared myself to others. Since I usually workout in my home gym, I’m not usually watching other people and analyzing how they perform. I’m always just focused on myself, so it was a new, uncomfortable experience to feel so inadequate compared to these women. It is a normal feeling to see others around you, and think that they are doing everything right, and they are perfect. In truth, these women have probably been going to this class for several months, where as for me, it was my first time. If I keep going to this class, I can get better and not have to take any breaks. Every time you start something new, it takes practice and dedication to get good at it. That is for anything! Playing violin, doing soccer, cooking, singing, any single hobby or activity is going to take practice and commitment. There is no point in comparing yourself to people who have been putting in that commitment.
It is so important to just focus on yourself. Focus on the reason you are there, and work hard towards your goals every damn day. Because then you’ll look back and remember how weak you felt on that first day, and how good it feels to see how much stronger you become with time and dedication.
So what exactly did I learn today? Here’s it is all summed up for you:
Focus on yourself first.
Why are you there? What do you want to accomplish? Stop looking at everyone around you and what they are doing. What are YOU doing? How can you be better in this very exact moment? Focus on your breathing, and never forget: you’re here. You showed up and that’s what matters. So give it your all. This is about you.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. But never too hard.
It’s a good idea to give whatever you are doing your very best effort, but in my case, there was a point where I thought I was going to collapse, so I knew I needed a break. Pushing your boundaries is a great idea, but there is always a limit.Know that limit, and never test it.
Practice, practice, practice.
The class today was very challenging. So challenging in fact, that a part of me wanted to walk out and never walk in again. But since I thought it was so hard and it pushed my body to new places, I know that I need to go again. And again. And again. That is the only way I will ever get better. I’m not just going to hope I’ll be perfect next time, because that’s wishful thinking. What it takes is hard work and discipline, and building that discipline is one of the most important things you can ever do. Because not only will you become stronger physically, you will become stronger mentally as well.
All in all, although it felt like death while I was doing it, I’m so glad I stuck out the class and gave it everything I had. The next time I go, I’ll be an increment better than I was today. And then the time after that, I’ll be better than before, and so on and so forth. Yes, it takes time and yes, it takes hard work, but I am unstoppable. And you are too. Never forget that.