Throughout my athletic career, I’ve struggled with comparing myself to others. Not only has it affected my performance in sports, but it has affected many other aspects of my life. From not raising my hand in class to ask for help because I’m scared people will think I’m dumb or make fun of me, to quitting a swim team because I thought my teammates judged me and thought of me differently because I was the slowest on the team. But in reality, there were at least ten other of my classmates who were just as confused as I was, and the good people on that swim team liked me because I tried and was kind, and the people who treated me differently because I was the slowest weren’t worth my time anyway.
But still, my fear of being judged has had me in chains for years and I still fight it every day.
Yes, I have been viewed differently by people when my athletic abilities were less than theirs, but I’ve come to the realization that the true athletes are ones who accept and help others succeed.
Dear anyone who needs to hear it: We all start somewhere. We all have our insecurities. Not everyone has the same strengths as others. Comparing yourself to others will only bring you down. The most important thing is to focus on your journey.
Whether you run a 15 minute mile or a 5 minute mile. Whether you can bench 40 pounds or 400 pounds. Whether you swim a 1:40 for a hundred or a :40 for a hundred. The point is you are trying, and that’s what matters.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a pro athlete and I am not saying I am in any way, but I have recognized one of the main things that holds me back, and I don’t think I am the only one.
Please know that where ever you are in your athletic journey, don’t look at what others have accomplished, look at the improvement you’ve made because that’s what matters.
I don’t care how talented an athlete may be. If they judge or make someone feel bad because of their abilities, all of my previous respect would be gone. Sportsmanship is building one another up, not tearing each other down. A team is a supportive group of people, not enemies. Athletics is a field meant to empower, inspire, and be available to all people, not just the pros.
If you share this same anxiety as I do, please know that it is your journey that matters and the people worthwhile will support you no matter your skill and ability.
“Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter”- Doctor Seuss