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Comparing Yourself to Others

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4/14/2016 8:12:10 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
I want to share something with you guys. You see, once upon a time I used to be a spindly 130lb kid without much meat on my bones. It's true, I really hated my body for being small and weak. Now, truthfully I wasn't weak for my size, but it didn't matter because the people I was comparing myself to were so far and above anything I could do and so I still felt awful about myself.

The people I'd look up to were the guys who could bench 5 plates by the time they graduated highschool, they could pack on 10lbs of muscle in a month, rather than over the course of a year, and they could get leaner than I could -- and they could do it quicker than I could.

It took me what felt like an eternity just to get above 150lbs, so to know there were guys out there weighing 250lbs while being leaner than me was devastating. I figured I must be missing some key, maybe my diet or training wasn't quite right and if I just studied enough I'd figure out how this really works and I'd get there.

So I studied this stuff for a long time. I kept training and I kept making really good progress, but I wasn't hitting the goals I wanted to hit within the timeframe I wanted to hit them in, and the longer I kept at it, the higher my standards got, and the worse my view of myself became. I had a really negative self-perception of my body and I thought I must have garbage genetics because I couldn't gain muscle as fast as these guys, I couldn't get nearly as lean as them, and my strength was nothing compared to the top guys in the world, despite all my efforts.

Well, not too long ago I learned that steroids are much, much more ubiquitous in the fitness and sports industries than I thought they were. Drug testing is completely unreliable, and I've met people who are on multiple grams of gear even though they really didn't have impressive physiques at all. I learned that there's actually an objective measure for musculature called a fat-free mass index, and for drug-free lifters, it tops out at a score of about 25. Anybody above that is either on drugs, or fat, and even then all the extra body fat in the world won't get you above 26.

Here I was hating my body and developing a complex because I was comparing myself to guys with FFMI scores of 27+, and the whole time these people were pinning, often times ridiculous amounts of steroids, and I had no clue. My university gym, for example, is loaded with drug-users, and I didn't even realize it until I started talking to these people. I spent years hating my own body because I was comparing myself to others and the whole time the comparison was a total joke.

After I figured this out I realized how foolish it was to compare myself to others, and from there I changed my whole attitude about where I should draw my self-esteem from. Comparing yourself to other people is just about the stupidest thing you can do in this life, because when you compare yourself to others, you're either feeling bad about not measuring up to those around you, or you're feeling good about yourself at the expense of people you're judging as "inferior" to you.

Frankly, it's a disgusting worldview and it will only ever cause you problems. You'll never know what other people are doing to accomplish the things they're accomplishing. You will never know the kinds of sacrifices they're willing to make, or the kinds of advantages they had that you didn't. The only thing that should matter to you is honestly wanting to improve yourself for your own sake, and the only time you should compare yourself to others is for the fun of it.

I really like my body now, and the best part is it has nothing to do with anyone else, so I don't have to put other people down to feel good about it. I'm not better than you because I'm more X than you. That perspective is wrong because it assumes your value has anything to do with me or vice-versa, and human value is not zero-sum.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that.

If you're reading this, you're awesome and you should feel awesome.