Unrealistic Expectations?

1 Nov

Why is it that I can never be happy with what I’ve accomplished?  Why must I compare myself to everyone else?  For example:  I completed my second half marathon last weekend.  I improved my time by almost 10 minutes and felt really great about it.  Then I looked at the overall results.

Suddenly, my self-esteem sank.  I looked in my age group and noticed the winner completed the race over an hour before I did.  Then, I tortured myself some more and looked at the younger age categories.  How did I compare to them?  I even looked at the 65 and over group and saw that winner finished 30 minutes before I did!

I told my friend (who ran the race with me) what I had done and she thought I was nuts.  Why would I put myself through that?  She said to look at all the people who finished after me not before me.  Makes sense.  There were 350 people who completed the race after me.  Sounded good.  Why couldn’t I be happy with that?

It seems no matter how much I tell myself I did a great job, it’s never enough.  Can I blame my type-A personality?  Can I blame my sister with whom I have always been in competition with?  Maybe it’s society and the media.  As women, we’re inundated with images of stick-thin celebrities who have a ton of money to get everything sucked and tucked.  It doesn’t help when you see a 43-year-old woman dating a ripped 25-year-old.  How many of us in our 40’s could ever get a young stud like that, let alone a decent man who’s actually employed and not psychotic?

Fact is, I’ll never be a celebrity/model or anyone else but myself.  Instead of tearing myself down I should be propping myself up and stop comparing.  It’s especially important since I have a young daughter who I don’t want to get caught in that trap.  I want her to be proud of herself and not let her self-esteem be dependent on outside influences.  The media and these images are never going to go away, so it’s up to us as parents to provide our kids with appropriate messages so they don’t go down a negative, self-destructive path like I have.

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