What I Learned Today About My Happiness Muscle

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I caught myself doing something today that I shouldn’t be doing. I do a lot of things that I shouldn’t do, but this one thing that I was doing is probably one of the more detrimental things that I do. I was comparing myself to others.

Comparison really is the thief of joy.

Even comparing my current self to a self that I was a few months ago robbed me of my joy today. And my main objective each and every day when I get up is to be happy. Right? Because today is all you got. And happiness is a choice. It’s not a result of getting something you want. It’s a conscious state of being.There are far more people with far fewer worldly possessions that are still happy.  You want to know why I seem so happy all the time? It’s because I choose it. I choose to be happy over sad. But today I felt myself slipping.

Ways in which I was comparing myself to others and why it’s detrimental:

I’m a runner and I belong to this kick ass group on Facebook filled with other runners. Everyone was posting weight loss pictures of themselves before and after and it was really inspiring. I even posted my own success story of how I went from 221 pounds to 187 pounds. You want to know what the shitty part is? The shitty part is that I’m up 10 pounds from that low of 187. So this is me comparing myself to a former self I was just a couple months ago and feeling bad about it. Truth is, I shouldn’t feel bad. I’m still over 20 pounds down from my highest weight and that should be a victory that is celebrated not lamented.  When I decide to time travel in my own head back to the month that I was at my lowest weight it just makes me lose my joy and in turn makes me want to eat carbs. Carbs is a step in the wrong direction. See the cycle here?

At the same time, I was reading all of the fantastic stories about people who had experienced a greater weight loss success than I had. They had worked their asses off and were somewhere near my ideal weight. Instead of me typing them a note saying congratulations, I drifted off into my subconscious. I was comparing myself to them and the fact that I haven’t lost as much weight as they had and feeling bad about myself and wishing that I had stuck it out even longer to get down to an even lower weight. Another reason why I shouldn’t be comparing myself to others. This body is a constant work in progress.

Then today I’m reading this blog about a runner who weighs 300 pounds and runs at the same pace that I do. Why isn’t my pace faster? I weigh a hundred pounds less than him. There goes my argument about weight keeping me from reaching a faster pace when I run. Maybe I’m just full of excuses. Am I? I was comparing my near 200 pound pace to his 300 pound pace and it was making me feel bad about myself.

These instances are classic examples of me trying to keep up with the Joneses.

I really thought that I had pushed past that in my life. I really thought that I had mastered the art of not giving a fuck.

Here’s what I had to do to kick myself out of it. I had to mentally turn off the trash compactor in my head. Garbage in equals garbage out. I had to consciously tell myself to stop! I then had to look at the people I was comparing myself to. Maybe this was their best day. What kind of struggles were they dealing with that I wasn’t? Everyone has deamons. Maybe their monsters were scarier than mine.

I had to get in the moment. I’m here. I woke up this morning. There’s breath going in and out of my body. Nothing hurts. I’m moving my fingers across this keyboard and talking to you. I’m alive. And in my book, that’s winning! I’m grateful for this moment of comparison. I’m grateful that it gave me a chance to exercise my “happiness” muscle. Sometimes we need to break muscles down in order for them to be built back even stronger. I’m grateful that my happiness muscle will be stronger tomorrow. What are you grateful for?


  • Carrie says:

    Great reminder! As always good stuff at AT.com

  • I think we all fall into this trap, but you hit the nail on the head by saying…this might be their BEST day. And you have no idea what that journey was like for them. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others without knowing the WHOLE story. Then when you do find out that whole story, yours is often times better….because it’s yours :)

    • I wish I knew more stories…I just find the human condition so fascinating. And I always learn something no matter the interaction. I am who I am in some respects because of those little pieces I take away from hearing their stories.

  • Linda Raymond says:

    Amanda,there is no comparing you,,,you are awesome girl, I have been reading your blogs, post, tweets,,,,,since I can remember ( well since before your FIRST 5k,,amazing we have not had a face to face yet).. But you have always been a class act, never a mean thing or even a “hint ” of anything unkind to say about anyone,,, and a Great source of information. We have visited some wonderful resorts ( at great rates) and yummy food places, due to your blog reviews… So yeah we all get down on ourself now and again, but you have been an inspiration for many. I am grateful, to just be alive, happy and healthy enough to do things I like,,,,oh yes and “friends”…. One’s I have had for years, and one’s I have yet to meet. Stay HAPPY , you deserve it…

  • Linda. My eternal gratitude for your continued support. You are truly a ray of sunshine here.

  • Maria says:

    YOU are an inspiration. I am guilty of this too. It really does being you down. I am grateful for having met you. You’ve inspired me to do some life changing things, ya know :)

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