May 2, 2012

Posted by in Featured, Good Living, Spiritual | 36 Comments

How comparison stole my joy this month

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You saw how I “kicked it up a notch” in April, but you haven’t heard yet how I struggled this month. I consider myself pretty honest, open person. I don’t expect to be any different on this blog, so here I am. Full disclosure.

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Being part of the fitness industry requires me to stay up to date on trends, new exercises, eating plans, music, and a whole bunch of other things. I want to be knowledgeable in what I do so I’m constantly scouring the internet, facebook, and twitter for new information. I see lots of beautiful, fit women whom I admire.

However, I’ve found something recently start to creep into my mind.

I’ve written before about how I can still struggle with self-image and if someone is bigger (smaller), faster, or stronger. We all have an ideal of what we want to look like, and since I had been working so hard to meet that in April, I found that I was much more focused on it than in other months. I was constantly comparing and thinking about how I could get better.

I also found these thoughts often in my head,

♦ My arms aren’t toned enough.

♦ My thighs are too muscular.

♦ I’m not fast enough, strong enough…..

As if these thoughts aren’t bad enough, I become a “hater”. I start giving reasons (making excuses) as to why they are that way and I’m not.

♦ They don’t have 2 small kids with them all day!

♦ Of course they look like that, they don’t have kids.

♦ They have more money to spend on organic food and gym memberships…

Photo Credit

And the envy spreads further and further.

And the dissatisfaction roots deeper and deeper.

At the end of the day, I’m a hot mess… unhappy with my work ethic, discipline, body, stage of life, financial situation, etc etc.

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I am fit, healthy, energetic. I have one fabulous husband, 2 awesome kids and I am able to stay at home with my kids. Why on earth would I be struggling with these things?

I’m convinced that Satan is trying to get me down by taking away my zeal and passion for a healthy life, women, and for those women to walk with the Lord. I’m a threat to him!

♦ He knows that when I am focusing on myself, I can’t focus on my kids and hubby.

♦ He knows that when I am dissatisfed with my body, I can’t encourage a woman about hers.

♦ He knows that when I envy someone else, he has my heart in the wrong place.

So today I’m here to let you know that you aren’t alone.  I am right here with you and I’m doing something about it.

I’m fighting back.

How Comparison Stole My Joy This Month (and how I'm fighting back) : peak313.com

(Photo Credit)

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How?

1.) Taking these thoughts captive as they enter my mind (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

2.) Stepping back and not reading as much info online

3.) Thanking God for what He has given me

4.) Remembering how far I’ve come, and not how far I have yet to go

Will you stand with me today? Are you struggling with anything like this? Stand firm. Remember that our fight is not against ourselves, the beautiful woman across the room, or our husbands. It’s against the one who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. (Ephesians 6:12)Let’s arm ourselves for this battle and FIGHT!

  1. Thank you for this post Clare, exactly what I needed today:)

    • Brenda says:

      I am a Stong, confident, caring, compassionate, fun loving woman! Forgiven but God and Daily walking in His Grace.

    • New to this blog thanks to a Facebook share. What a wonderful site! I cannot wait to try your workouts. Today’s story on comparison was SO uplifting. I struggle with comparison daily so this definitely spoke to me.

  2. rachel says:

    Thank you for being honest and real. I’m in the fitness industry and struggle with the same things. I SO appreciate and needed your encouragement today. :)

  3. Needef that – definitely struggle with this. Thanks for sharing and being so open and honest. xoxo

  4. Claire, if you only knew what a confirmation this is! I have been a “hot mess” for a few days about my season in life, feeling like I have been less disciplined in nutrition, our finances….you name it. Both verses that you quoted in your action plan the Lord brought in front of my face yesterday. Also, this morning I was reading Candace’s book (Reshaping It All) and the two chapters I read were a good “word” from God. Spoke right to the heart of where I was struggling. Here is to “Getting Over My Hump” day!! The rest of the week, may our eyes be on the Lord….our only true plumb line.

  5. Ohh my friend, I can SO see your particular industry being the hardest. You need to add “photoshop” in there too lol!! You are beautiful, so fit, and awesome at what you do-SO glad you realized it was an attack and NOT reality. I do not look at other food blogs, only to make my Friday post. I too know that I could get lost in the comparison game. I am not the best- I just want to be my God’s best. Thanks for sharing, I am sure everyone carries this burden in life!!! Love you!!!!

  6. Thank you for sharing this–I will be covering you in prayer! I agree, Satan wants to destroy– But He that is within you shall turn it to a blessing!

  7. In my book – you’re the best – none other can compare ;)!!! You are amazing! I love you girl – just the way you are!
    ((hugs))
    Courtney

  8. Tracey B says:

    Hi Clare,
    Thank you so much for opening your heart here. I can relate in a BIG way! I have lost about 54 pounds since last June. Actually, I got there in December and have been stuck trying to lose the last 5 to 7 pounds to get to my “goal weight” since then. Let me tell you, this last 5 to 7 pounds has been a complete joy sapper for me! I have continued on with heavy exercising – 6 days a week including weight training, cardio/weight intervals, training for my half marathon which is coming up this month etc… I eat very healthy and for some reason I still can’t get to my “goal weight”. It has been very difficult. In this time I have researched the web like crazy trying to figure out “what am I doing wrong”, how can I change my diet, what is she doing – “she looks great”. I have cut out food groups, tried food combining, eating different food groups at different times of day – you name it! I have become so “OCD” in my efforts to get to my “goal weight” that I have really lost a lot of Joy and Balance in my life. I have been focusing on this rather than focusing on my accomplishments and the wonderful blessings that God has given me. It has been difficult for my husband lately. He views me as being frustrated and obsessive to the darnn scale rather than counting my blessings and enjoying my “new body”. He has been so supportive and wonderful throughout this. So lately – I have come to some of the same conclusions that you have. Less focus on researching different eating methods, more focus on BALANCE and the blessings God has given me. Ultimately, more focus on being healthy and strong than on the number on the scale. I am going to try and live a more balanced life. I will never give up fitness – as it energizes me and takes care of my body – I’m addicted! But as far as eating goes – I am vowing to focus more on eating clean, unprocessed foods as much as possible, cutting out sugar as much as possible, and I have found that too many grains by way of wheat doesn’t help me out any (so I’m going to keep these to a minimum). But the biggest thing for me will be everything in moderation, and I won’t beat my self up if I don’t eat “perfectly”! This needs to be a long term thing, so anything that will just make me obsessive and unbalanced will just not work. I thank God for his strength, my body, and all of my blessings (especially my husband and 4 kiddos). Thank you, Clare, for your thoughts – they REALLY REALLY help and hit home for me :)

  9. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I have been struggling with this alot lately and I appreciate your openness. I too have been comparing myself to others and GOD has been showing me that HE made me just the way I am for a REASON and I was created in HIS image and he doesn’t make mistakes. I have a responsibility to be a good steward of what he has given me!! Keep pushing on, God is using you in a big way!

  10. Love it – is this the week of epiphanies or what? :) I heard a great quote some time back and I have tried to hang on to it: “compare yourself only to yesterday’s you.” It is tough, having been almost 300 pounds, to still be 190 and seem to be taking forever to “finish.” But when I look back at where I have been, and stop comparing myself to the 130 pound girl next to me in boot camp, I’m completely content with where I am. Because I am WAY better than I was in August 2009. And even better than last week. :) Keep on keeping on girl. You know I dig the honest raw posts! Hugs.

  11. Jinka B. says:

    From a former chronic sufferer of “compare disease” who now lives a life of joyful freedom in remission I say – Amen!

  12. I have noticed how women tend to judge each other, so I think this comparison trap is an extension of that. We judge ourselves and each other. I am making it my mission to be supportive of all women (and myself, gasp). Unless they are straight-out abusing their children, I am trusting they are doing the best they can and my judgment just makes me a friend of the devil when what I really want is to be a friend to women. We are all different. We all have a different path. Honesty is the only way to truth. I embrace it!

  13. I can so relate! The worst part is, I tend to play the comparing game about everything. “Their lives are just easier than ours.” “They make more money, so of course…*blah blah blah*”

    Thanks for the reminder that we’re all different, and we don’t need to compare ourselves to each other. <3

  14. Thank you for this post, Claire! I have really been struggling in this journey to healthiness and back to fitness…the first few months were a piece of cake, but I hit a wall in March and have been stuck there…so I have been fighting the comparison game, wondering what is wrong with me, why can’t it be easy like it “looks” for others, etc. At the same time, I have really been trying to help friends around me maintain a positive outlook and not to be discouraged, and I really want all of us to have a balanced approach to fitness by focusing more on honoring God with our bodies and minds…INCLUDING not comparing ourselves to others! So, then I feel guilty that I am not practicing what I am preaching! Vicious mental/spiritual cycle this has been this last month. So THANK YOU for this very timely post, and for being brave enough to share it with us. God bless you! <3

  15. Kimberly says:

    Clare,

    I am so happy I have read this today. I must tell you that I struggle daily with body image and some days I really feel that I lose that struggle. I tell myself over and over that my arms are not tone enough or my abs are not tight enough. I also go over every food item that I intake. On those days, my whole self is defeated. I find my self upset and short with my kids and my husband. When my husband asks what is wrong, I tell him honestly that I don’t know. I see now how my self loathing about my body and eating habits is what is wrong. I have allowed Satan to let those thoughts become the focus of my day, and I know I need to fight back and not let those thoughts consume me. I need to give it over to Jesus and know that I am loved by Him and by others regardless of my size. I have always been a healthy, and fit person, but when we start to compare ourselves to others we are never satisfied with ourselves. This is not what the Lord wants from us. He wants us to have joy. Thank you for sharing this morning.

  16. Oh, Clare, I am so there with you…with many other non-truth thoughts filling my brain! Thanks for the fresh word!

  17. Sharon says:

    Thanks for your honesty, Clare. It’s amazing how we all can struggle with our appearance. Even if someone else wishes they looked like us, there’s always someone else we wish we looked like. I am always in awe of your muscles and I would love to look (and actually be) as toned as you are! Thanks again for sharing and also for giving us such fun exercise moves!

  18. Tricia says:

    Thank you for this!!! I struggle with alot of this and have found that I am sooo focused on to get my body the way I want it!!! I do need to pray alot about and let it go and thank god for what he has given me. Thank you again!

  19. Sharon says:

    I don’t know you Clare, but I know of you through my friend Beth, and I just wanted to thank you for being so real in this post. At times I have felt the exact same way and I have to keep reminding myself how beautifully made and unique I am…like no two snowflakes are alike, each of us is beautiful in our own way. Thank you for this beautiful reminder and kudos to you for recognizing how God see’s you and how beautifly made you truly are.

  20. Natasha d says:

    awesome post, Clare!! Thank you for being honest and sharing what we all go through — but best of all encouraging us in what to do about it!

  21. Michelle says:

    Claire,

    Thank you for being so forthright in posting this. I think it’s comforting to others to know that they are not alone. As women we feel that we should be perfect. Perfect wives, perfect mothers, perfect housekeepers, and the list can go on. I found myself looking in the mirror and finding fault with my myself countless times. Instead of seeing the woman who has lost 76 pounds, who exercise six days a week, training for a half-marathon, all I could see was the former self. I finally told myself God loved me for who I was then and for who I am now. I told my husband that I was going to accept me for who I am. Doesn’t mean we won’t still find fault at times or desire better or nicer things. It’s just praising God for the life we have today.

    11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Phil 4:11-13 NIV

  22. aaawwwww…I think you look beautiful just the way you are :D

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this Clare! I have found myself feeling the same way in other areas too. I have to really limit how much time I spend on pinterest because that is a real source of comparison for me. I am a stay-at-home mom too with three under two, and struggling to find the time to contribute to my blog let alone anything else. I do not know how people find the time to be perfectly fit and fabulous mom bloggers who do crafts, take professional quality pictures, and are awesome at home decorating.

    Lately I’ve been trying to spend more time with God and my family and less time online, its working wonders! :)

  24. brandi titko says:

    You are my voice from god….thank you for your post we have recently talked and things and boy oh bot have come to a head and I happen to get on facebook, witch I never do and you post the above…love you clare we will get together soon, you are the best of the best…Workout wisdom or spirtual u always are there…

  25. Thank you SO MUCH for this post Claire!!! It is AMAZING and so ENCOURAGING!!

    YOU ARE SUCH A BLESSSING!!!

    Praying with you, for you, and along with you!!

    Kristine

  26. Beautifully said. My go-to verse: Gal. 1:10 “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. “

  27. I am so insecurre that i’m insecure about my insecurities…i think about the numbers constantly (time, miles, calories, speed, weight, etc)…i look at others and compare myself daily….its overwhelming…being so insecure….I pray constantly about this but it is so hard.

  28. I am so insecurre that i’m insecure about my insecurities…i think about the numbers constantly (time, miles, calories, speed, weight, etc)…i look at others and compare myself daily….its overwhelming…being so insecure….I pray constantly about this but it is so hard. Thank you for youre words, i will hold them in my heart

  29. Thanks for this post Clare. I have struggled with this for as long as I can remember. It’s so good to be reminded that it’s a lie from the devil.

  30. Thank you for this post. Not that I want anyone to feel like that, but it is nice to know that I am not the only one comparing myself constantly.

  31. ann gardner says:

    i know it has been said a million times, but Clare, you are such a blessing to so many (and one smokin’ mom! LOL). such a true post that i’m sure we can all relate with…..love the rawness! such great proof of how God can use us even in our weakness! :).

  32. So true…and then after comparing myself I result into further frustration as I devour something…usually crackers and butter, grilled cheese or worse a huge huge bowl of ice cream (and not the low-fat kind)…ugh the stuff we put ourselves through…if we could only see how our God sees us…

  33. Allyson says:

    Thank you so much!! I REALLY needed to hear this today!

  34. Amen! God is not ever the one that speaks the lies in our heads! Even as a fitness professional we are not perfect & don’t have to be! So blessed I found your page:) Glad to find a fellow fitness Jesus girl!

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