I feel so strongly about this topic, and the expectations we hold ourselves to or compare ourselves against that I had to expand into a full blog post.
It influences every single aspect of our lives. There are so many expectations in society of who we’re “supposed” to be and what we're "supposed" to do, so many expectations we hold ourselves to and let our worth be defined by how far away we are from reaching them.
While social media makes the comparison game more pervasive, it would exist without it. Without social media, it's the contents of magazines, TV shows, and movies in the limelight. What we can’t also forget is the comparison that happens every day against our peers by these made-up expectations and standards. Some involve relationships like being married at 30 (maybe there’s still hope - TBD), fitness standards (yes I'm a trainer and am not shredded), beauty standards (hi I’m 27 and have greys - thank you children), income standards (#coachlife), YOLO standards (aka things like fun traveling, I know what that is every so often). I used to do it when I was playing, getting trapped by my save average and letting it define my worth based on that number.
These standards and expectations are unreal and the reality is we’re never going to meet them. However, the way we feel about ourselves when we don’t meet them is so REAL. I recently listened to Brene Brown’s book “I Thought It Was Just Me (but it wasn’t)” and found this is true. The shame we put on ourselves for not meeting unrealistic expectations or the coping mechanisms we use trying to be the perfect versions of these expectations is the root of so many problems. Assuming them of others is also what I believe prevents deeper connection.
It’s so important when we compare ourselves to any of these standards or expectations we critically analyze where they are coming from. If we aren’t at a certain milestone, we can determine if it’s a milestone we even want and then focus on the steps we can take to move toward them. Are there people or professionals in our life we can have an open discussion about things with that will support us?
It’s hard to verbalize a lot of this stuff when it comes up, but it can be some of the most rewarding conversations you have if you allow it. I still have to work through these standards and expectations, but little by little I’m pushing myself to ignore them and seek what I need and want. Through critical analysis, my understanding of where I'm at has shifted significantly.
I understand that even though I’m a trainer, it’s okay not to be shredded all the time. I understand that it’s okay to experience periods of low motivation, to surround myself with others that motivate and push me. I understand that for my wrist to heal faster, for my body to function and recover faster, for me to better serve the kids I coach, and get my self-motivation back I need to prioritize sleep and THAT'S OKAY. I hope you're sensing a theme here, wherever you are - YOU ARE OKAY. Little by little improvement is happening and that’s what matters most. None of this makes me weak, in fact, it all ultimately makes me stronger. What I described is periodization, it’s what we use in training, nutrition, but can also be applied to life because there’s a season for everything (#recoveryszn)! Just like I have to accept the sad truth that I can't have pumpkin spice lattes all year round, it makes every fall and winter that much better!
Overall, this is what I hope for you all too, that you see whether we verbalize it or not, we’re all on the same journey. This journey is full of ups and downs, and just because you’re on a down doesn’t mean you can’t get to an up. Also, just because you’re on someone else’s version of a down doesn’t mean it’s a down for you or even an actual down at all. I hope you strive for your peak whatever that looks like for you and notice the pleasantries along the way. Reminder you are awesome just being you and I’ll end with a new favorite quote “everything is figure-out-able” if you think about it long enough (by Marie Forleo). Know I’ll be here cheering you on along the way and always there if you need help with anything!