Comparisons, Culture & Criticisms

If comparison is the thief of Joy, why hand it over to thieves? In a world filled with: books, blogs, podcasts on how to get the joy back into your life shouldn’t we start with avoiding comparisons?

This seems most prevalent in the world of sport. Impressionable young athletes are quick to jump on the hottest bandwagon even if it is ludacris. Case in point when Tom Brady decided to go on the no nightshade diet. This diet had absolutely no scientific evidence to back it up yet athletes everywhere started inquiring about it. Was it the diet or was it Tom Brady who is a freak of nature athlete? Why can’t we acknowledge that some people are genetically gifted athletically? We are more accepting that others are naturally smart or have a quick wit to them that can make anyone laugh. In the world of sports, you truly are only competing against yourself and if today is going to be your day.           

Cruelness of Comparisons

Do we suffer from the cruelness of comparisons or is it the culture in which we live in? Just as we see cultures within the world, they are even more prevalent in sports. One of my dear friends has been an avid runner for 30+ years and chuckles at how the running culture has changed. It used to be runners showed up in cotton shirts/socks, old-school running shorts and their sports food of choice was mini-snickers. Now at races, people line up in the trendiest running gear with full on makeup and accessories. Afterwards huddled up around their running clique discussing their pace splits (#nowatchme), clean eating efforts and what races they plan to do this month.

Cars used to have bumper stickers bragging about their child on the honor roll or making fun of the child that beat up the honor roll student. Now cars are full of 13.1, 26.2, 50, 150-mile bumper stickers. Waiting for the moment we see the 1,000 numbers. My husband proudly jokes he wants a 0.0 bumper sticker!

Criticisms- constructive or jealousy?

Criticisms come as part of sport whether we want it or not,. However, we must consider the reason for why it is generated: constructive or jealousy?  Ron Thompson shared a story at the Eating Disorder in Sports conference when he was working with a runner. She was uncomfortable that her uniform would expose her when she was running. Ron replied, “well if they’re staring at your butt it has to be because you’re in the lead!” I think most athletes agree they will take the fear of a wedgie if it means winning.

Many times criticisms are internalized as self- criticism when it is meant towards their performance. I fell victim to this in college after making a horrible mistake picking up the ball once crossing half-court. I was then double teamed resulting in a jump ball. The opposing team won the jump ball and came down to score the winning shot of the game. As I went to the locker room feeling completely defeated one of my teammates put her hand on my shoulder. My teammate with a big smile said “It’s ok Bec I know you won’t ever make that mistake again. “

You see when we aren’t busy comparing, or criticizing we have the power to change the culture and build one another up!

Click here to check out the blog post I did on living in your truth!