Run Your Own Race

Ever felt that ego-fuelled desire to be acknowledged? The crippling fear of not being good enough?

But of course. We all have. And much to (what I presume is) our collective dismay, it turns out this paralysing pair are going to rear their heads every once in a while, so I thought it was about time we chatted a little about the ‘competition and comparison trap’ – the times when you lose sight of ‘you’ (glorious, brilliant, you!) because someone else’s glittering lights seem to be outshining and out-twinkling the ones lighting your own backyard.

The Seedy Underbelly of Comparison

When you’re pushing to run someone else’s race – and you’ll know when you’re pushing because there will be this booming echo that tells you you’re not even close – you stop believing in your own delicious worth.

You neutralise your power.

You spend so much time keeping up and trying to be seen that your energy is maxed out on what the competition is doing rather than what you want for yourself. Rather than igniting your greatness, you cede your creative energy focusing on the moves everyone else is making and forgetting that you have these gargantuan, outrageously beautiful qualities inside you that are literally begging to be released.

Confidence Zapping, Limited Living

If that’s not enough, another disastrous thing about using others as your yardstick is that it automatically places a limit on your success.

Think about it for a minute. When you’re hell-for-leather running someone else’s race, is it Obama or Madonna or Oprah you’re comparing yourself to? Not likely. Sure, you might draw inspiration from these (essentially) untouchable idols, but you’re rarely wedging your success right up against theirs by means of comparison.

What’s more likely is that you’re comparing yourself to the girl in the office that just got the promotion you were certain you had in the bag, or the blogger who has you sea-green with envy because they’re freakin’ eve-ry-where, or the skinny girl at the gym that always gets the guy/ the friend that only buys designer/ the one who’s running an ultra-successful business while you’re stuck hammering it out in corporate cubicle hell.

Whatever the dilemma, every time you compare your life to someone else’s life or hinge your happiness on the approval of others, you’re giving away your authentic power to consciously create more splendour in that exquisite life of yours. And it’s a vicious cycle – the more you give it away, the more insecure you feel.

Enough is Enough!

 

I want you know that you, my darling, are a precious flower and your gifts are needed longed for in this world. PLEASE: never, ever forget that the world is gunning for you to succeed.

I have a little wish – well, actually, it’s more of a hope – and it is that, starting now, you will:

Be a leader, not a follower. Focus on your own self-improvement, show up and give it. Give them you – delightful quirks and all.

Focus on what is astounding, unique, revolutionary, downright awesome about you and the super special way YOU do it. Your own power is already there. That certain j’ne sais qoui you have? All yours. No one else can share this genius with the world. We’re all counting on you to innovate and unleash… so please – go do it.

In your saddest and most triggered moments, you might feel you have nothing to offer the world, but this ain’t true sista. Look at feelings as messages from your soul. Your feelings tell you where you need to make adjustments, to love yourself or to flip your perspective to uncover the lesson in the situation. Dig. And dig some more.

Celebrate other people’s “bigness.” William Hazlitt said: “Just as much as we see in others, we have in ourselves,” so tuck that thought in your pocket and remember that as you applaud the achievements of others, you’re inviting that same energy into your own life. This is a glimpse of what can be possible for you. From a place of gratitude, count your blessings that the world is filled with so many talented people that continually inspire you to rise up and S H I N E.

And above all, remember that the only real competitor you should ever have is yourself.

There’s room enough in this big, wide world for all of us to shine brightly and boldly. Take a deep breath and stand in your power. There’s only one YOU and let it be said – you are perfect just the way you are! 

A couple of q’s (let’s get share-y!) 

+ Have you ever come up against feelings of jealously/ resentment/ wishing your life was as perfect as (what you perceived) someone else’s to be? What triggered it, and what did you do to move past those feelings of ‘lack’ or ‘inadequacy?’

I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this. These feelings are universal, affecting every one of us, and as I said above, they often act as mirrors, reflecting back at us any changes we need to make. What advice would you give someone feeling the burn of comparison? Share the lessons you’ve learned and how you started running your own race again in the comments below!

Images: Mister Sullivan | Ana Cabaleiro 

12 Comments to “Run Your Own Race”

  1. Ah, Rach. Stunning!
    This is such a powerful post. I can tell you’ve been reading lots of Gabby Bernstien! :)
    It’s like you said, this type of thing affects every single one of us. For myself personally, these days, I can relate to the angst I sometimes feel when I spend too much time offline. Ridiculous I know, especially when you consider I feel anxious if I spend too much time on my butt in from of the computer! Blogging seems as though it’s getting pretty cut throat. There are countless beautiful blogs, everywhere. And until recently I remember feeling constantly way out of my league: OMG she posts every day, how is she creative enough to come up with fresh content? How did she arrange her side bar like that? Who designed her logo? How can she afford a logo? How on Earth does she have so many followers? How the hell do I get that many followers???? ARGH!
    Ridiculous. Damaging. Self destructive thoughts. Especially since my little corner of the blog world has always brought me joy- it’s my home away from home.
    Yoga and meditation have enabled me to keep the focus inward. Selfishness is ok, sometimes! I really love one of the lessons that Jess Ainscough learnt last year – “Turn pangs of jealousy into inspiration”. Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s so much more productive to admire and congratulate then to stew and compare.

    Thank you for this awesome, awesome post lady !

  2. Hi Rachel

    This is such a wonderful post! I absolutely feel this and it can be very hard to step away from feelings of not being good enough or worthy enough when compared to others. I have far more moments these days of seeing my own ‘me-ness’ and celebrating them but it has taken me a long time to get there. I’ll be inviting it in more and thank you for such an inspiring post.

    Tash xxx

  3. Thank you so much Tara, as I mentioned on Twitter I absolutely love what you’ve added to the conversation here.

    The online thing is a big one – and the fact is, often what we’re seeing on Facebook or on blogs is a tightly edited version of events (with all the yucky, self-doubting, ugly feelings hidden away from prying eyes).

    This isn’t always the case, especially as authenticity is basically demanded online these days, but it’s still very easy to measure ourselves against people who are seemingly “on the same level” and wonder why they’re kicking goals that we aren’t.

    Thing is though, what makes your site or business special is YOU. Your turn of phrase, the funny face you pull in photos, the experiences you’ve had or are having, and as you mentioned for you personally, the fact that you derive so much joy from your creative endeavour (which can’t help but shine through and touch the people it needs the most).

    If these feelings ever crop up for me, I remember that all I need to do is write for one person, and if something I create resonates with that one person, then I’ve done my job. Sometimes that one person is just me… other times, it’s someone I picture with a smile on their face as they nod in agreement reading my words.

    Love Jess’ quote as well… agree that jealousy can be the ultimate inspiration if we use it correctly. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts beautiful! xx

    Tash: It makes me sooo happy to hear that you’re having more moments of “you-ness” (hooray!) May they continue to flow to you in abundance. Thanks for stopping by lady xx

  4. So true and so beautifully written. I’ve been writing a lot about comparison because the blogging world is becoming filled with that and it scares me. I write because it reminds me of never falling into that place of wanting someone’s life or someone’s success.

    Thank you so much for the beautiful reminder. I truly enjoyed this post.

    Hugs.

  5. Rach, this was just what I needed on this dreary Melbourne Monday. A reminder.

    For me, the wedding planning has influenced some of these thoughts – will it be good enough? Will people compare our wedding to others they have been to? Will they have fun or will they talk negatively about it forever – seriously the most stupid thoughts ever!

    I have come to realise that I have some insecurities I need to get rid of myself. I admit here and now that I am scared of not being good enough for people. I have come to realise though that it doesn’t matter. The people in your life love you for being YOU regardless of what outfit you are wearing, what your hair looks like, whether you have the latest gadgets and goodies.

    You only have one chance at making the most out of your life, and only you have the power to make decisions which will direct you where you want to go. Be positive, stand up and be confident in whatever you do. Life it too short!

    thanks again Rach xox

  6. Great post! In high school I was forever comparing myself to the more popular girls and I never understood why everyone liked them when they really weren’t that nice. Now, four years on, I am happy and successful, and they – not so much.
    So what Ive learnt (is NOT to delight in others misfortune no matter what) but that everything balances out in the end, you always reap what you sow, and if you have good, true intentions then those will manifest, at some point or another, in tangible radiance.
    So although things may seem unfair or rough now, they’ll probably improve in due time.
    Realising your own worth in ways that cannot be measured against other people’s is what brings you happiness. I find that surrounding myself with positive people helps, and also spending time alone in contemplation and creation.
    Thanks for a very thought provoking post Rach!

  7. Ana: Thank you so much – it’s definitely a fine line isn’t it? Here’s to celebrating all our glorious imperfections and running our own race forever! xx

    Regan: Oh honey, how wonderful of you to talk about this. I think us brides give ourselves a hard time by trying to be everything and do everything, and the fact is, all people come to a wedding to see is a celebration of love. Sure, decorations and pretty things are nice, but it’s the moment the groom teared up as the bride walked down the aisle, or the speeches, or the way everyone danced the night away that really matters.

    And I’ll let you in on a little secret – EVERYONE doubts whether they’re good enough. It’s not just you, it’s all of us, the world-over. My mum is a counsellor and she cousels everyone from teenage drug addicts (or children who have grown up with a heroin addicts mother, for example) to couples going through domestic violence, and I remember her saying to me that no matter what people come to her for, the reason is always the same: the fear of not being enough.

    Enjoy your big day knowing that it’s completely unique to your man and you! xx

  8. Oh Rach… so I held it together until the last words in your last comment…the fear of not being enough. This really hit home for me.

    Why is is this so? Why do we fear this, when actually we are all enough. In fact we are all we ever need to be.

    As I search my soul over the coming little while you can be rest assured I’ll be asking myself “what would Rach do?” as I search within and you can be doubly assured that if (strike that) when, I work it out you and all your wonderful bloggy friends will be the first to hear how.

  9. Amen sister! I can’t stress enough that this is exactly what so many women need to hear and take on board. We are always burning ourselves out trying to be “perfect” but usually someone else’s version of perfect rather than our own.

    Love this post, you stunning thing you! xx

  10. Rach,

    What a gentle, passionate reminder to love ourselves as we are.

    The ‘cage of association’ is a harmful thing. How can one compare two souls? Although something may seem similar to another, is that similarity in fact the truth of the things themselves or simply perception…. and to compare ourselves to a perception is idle indeed.

    Remembering that we are each unique, creative beings, bringing so much into this world – that we are enough, as we are – is so important!

    Thank you for sharing and for using your voice to inspire and invigorate.

    xo

  11. Thank you so much ladies for your responses, you’ve really added to the conversation and giving me things to think about as well. I had replied individually to you all but just lost the whole thing, but what I wanted to say – and the message that comes through in all of these comments – is that you are enough, I am enough, WE are enough.

    Much love xx

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