I have always been a competitive person, which I think largely stems from my tendency to seek out perfectionism in myself. Growing up, I often felt like I was in competition with my classmates for who could earn the best grades in school. My brother and I were especially competitive when it came to grades, test scores, and even who was “better” at sports. This competitiveness pushed me and helped me find success in a lot of areas in my life. It also, unfortunately, nurtured a false belief in myself that I needed to be “the best” and do “the best” in everything I pursued.
When I was younger, I think my drive for competition was based off of my relationships with others. But as I grew older, everything really became more about being in competition with myself. I did not want to participate in anything that I would not be good at for fear of disappointing myself. I wanted to have the best education and career, as I believed that would bring me happiness. I thought the more control I had over food, my body, and my health, the happier I would be. To me, being the best ______ = being happy.
My former self would hate to admit this, but my current self is happy to report that I had it all wrong. Trying to be the best, control everything, find success, look “amazing,” etc. really just caused unnecessary stress and sucked all of the fun out of life. Now that I know this, I have the ability to make positive changes. I have the ability to recognize that our success- and number-infatuated society has absolutely no freakin’ idea what makes people happy.
Do you recognize yourself in any of the following statements?
I have to drink at least a gallon of water per day in order to be healthy.
Even though the page requirement for the assignment or report is ten pages, I will write at least twelve.
Why would I go on a walk for daily movement when I can run a 5k, 10k, half, or marathon?
I only allow myself to eat one snack per day.
I absolutely have to reach my 10,000 step goal each day.
I make X amount of money at my job.
That person might only eat three servings of veggies in a day, but I eat at least seven (which makes me better + I refuse to eat any less than that).
I need to have two children in order to fit into the “perfect family” ideal.
Even though my body thrives best on at least 1800 calories per day, I feel as though I am “winning” if I eat 1200 to 1400 calories per day.
I work hard to weigh under X amount even though my body is naturally happy at ___ pounds.
I should read more often. In fact, I should be reading at least two books per month.
All of these statements have one thing in common: they are so focused on specific numbers and the “right” numbers. We are a society that is numbers obsessed.
But we can change that.
We can stop the numbers game with ourselves and with others. We can stop placing a quantifiable amount on things that don’t really matter.
Who honestly cares how many glasses of water you drink, pages you write, miles you run, snacks you eat, steps you take, dollars you make, vegetables you eat, children you have, calories you consume, pounds you weigh, books you read, etc.?
Those things don’t matter, and they don’t make you a “winner” or a loser.” Being kind to others and to yourself while realizing that being “adequate” or “average” doesn’t mean failing is what will truly make you feel like a winner.
The things that really matter, like love, kindness, joy, and happiness are not quantifiable. So let’s stop the numbers game together.Let's stop the numbers game together! #selfcare #selflove #bodypositive Click To Tweet