Fed & Fit

Ep. 116: Healing Unhealthy Comparisons

On today's episode, I'm talking about how to heal from unhealthy comparisons and how to know the difference between a real community and a false community.

We're back with our 116th episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

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Episode 116 Transcription

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Cassy Joy: Welcome back to another episode of the Fed and Fit podcast. I am your host, Cassy Joy Garcia. And this is the show where we talk about a lot of things related to food, fitness; but mostly mindset. You know, the piece that surrounds it all. And that is exactly what we’re going to talk about today. Thank you for being patient with me. Last week was a crazy week. So we have an episode down, but we’re back up today with a mindset episode, and we’ve got some really, really great ones lined out for not only the rest of the month of August, but on through the rest of the summer.

Ok, so today we’re going to talk. It’s a relatively short episode, I think. But we’re going to cover the concept of healing unhealthy comparisons. And it’s an interesting topic. It’s one that’s been rattling around in my mind for a while. And I think that what I’m really speaking to. Is when we think about looking online, looking to social for friends. For friendships. For companionship. For partners. People who we feel like we can identify with online, whether that person also has children. Or whether that person also does paleo. We want to think that because we have maybe one common ground with somebody, that I think a part of our human nature is to desire to have then all common grounds with that person. And what can come from that, is sort of an unhealthy relationship. Usually in our own heads. About where we start comparing ourselves to that person. How are we measuring up to this person that we’ve identified with?

So let’s say in the context of parenthood. Let’s say if you are a mom, and you see somebody else online who also has two kids. And maybe they’re the same ages as you. And maybe they are also working in the blog world. But they seem, for whatever reason, to just be a little bit better than you at certain things. Or at least that’s how we see it. We it as, gosh they get so much done. It seems like they’re house is always so much cleaner. And it seems like they’re able to give more time to their business. And it seems like they’re able to have more one on one time with their children, and their husband, and their families. And they always just seem to have these things. And it seems like maybe their nutrition is more on game. And I just feel like I’m barely getting by.

We get into this world of comparing ourselves to people online, and what does it do? It makes us start to feel bad about ourselves. Because we look to this person where we have maybe one commonality. Maybe two, maybe three. But we have only a few commonalities with somebody that we do not know online, and we see how we measure up to how they are doing at life. But, there are things that go into this equation that I think we really need to address. And that’s why I wanted to bring it up on today’s episode. I think we can always think through these things in a logical sense. But from an emotional sense, it’s much easier to. I don’t know; to be hurt by something online. Even though reasonably we understand that it’s just an online profile and there is probably some stuff that doesn’t meet the eye.

So that’s what I wanted to talk about today. And you know what, I think that it’s natural. I was talking to both of my sisters-in-law about this today. But human beings, we are very social creatures. And we want to flock together. We want to gravitate. We want to have community. And we want to feel like we are supported. And when we’re not supported, I think that our nature, then. Or if we feel like there is something lacking in our lives, we want to figure out how do we improve that thing? Or we want to focus on it a little bit to see how can get better at it so we can keep measuring up with our flock and with our group.

But what happens is, it’s essentially a false. This is ironic, because I have an online business. {laughs} So, in a sense you might think I’m shooting myself in the foot a little bit. But what I’m interested in is for you to feel your best about yourself. Online communities, in a sense, are false communities. And I think that it’s important that we understand that before we start comparing ourselves to people that we don’t actually know.

And there’s another concept that keeps rattling around online that I would also like to address. I think that, for whatever reason, there’s this really wild fire concept of shaming people who only show the good stuff online. You know, whether they consider it lying or they consider it false, it seems like some sort of a shame for not sharing more of whatever would be their less pretty truths. And I think it’s important to understand that it’s ok for social media to be cultivated. I think it’s ok. I personally think it’s ok for somebody to want to look at Instagram as a memory book. They want to look back and they want to have those sweet memories. They may not necessarily want to remmeber the really tough days when they never changed out of their pajamas, and it was 7 p.m. before they remembered to brush their teeth. They may not want to remember those days. So it’s their prerogative to not have to share those things on social media for the sake of everybody else.

And an element that goes into that is trust. Right? when we think; think about your life and the things that you share with your close friends and family. You probably only share the details that are maybe a little more rough around the edges. Maybe a little more raw. Maybe not as pretty as the other things that you share with the rest of the world. But you share those with people that you trust. You trust them to honor the things that are going wrong. You trust them to honor you, your family. See the best in you, and be there to support you.

And when it comes to online communities, because it is a false community in a sense. It’s not that true, real supportive community, where you get the full picture of trust and knowing another person, there being mutual understanding. That’s what I mean by a false community. It’s just like essentially you're shouting into the void, and you don’t know who is out there receiving the information. And so it’s difficult to really trust everybody that’s going to see something you're going to put out there.

So I think that’s just the nature of it. I don’t think; I don’t personally believe that somebody who doesn’t post all the ugly things, I do not think of that person as a liar, and I do not think of that person as doing anything wrong. Personally. There might be people who disagree out there. But I think that it’s important, as a consumer, to realize that it is cultivated. Social media is cultivated.

But, that doesn’t mean that we don’t, on an emotional sense, when we’re scrolling through our Instagram feed, and we see this person who just seems to have it all together. It’s hard to look at that. Whether they just landed a really cool gig for their business. Right? And the two of you, you feel like you're hustling right along with them. And they landed a cool gig and you didn’t. It’s hard on an emotional sense to not think, what am I doing wrong? Right?

It’s hard in an emotional sense to see somebody who maybe had a really, really, really healthy fit pregnant. Which is of course, relevant to me right now. Because I’m pregnant. I’m so excited about it. We’re due in mid-January. And if this is the first time you’ve heard of it; welcome to the party! I announced it this week, and we’re really excited. I shared all the details over on my blog. Just head over to the Bun in the Oven post. There’s a picture of Gus on the main page so you can find it. But I shared a lot there, so hopefully it will help answer some of your questions before I get some more posts up. But in this stage, it’s easy for; I can see my friend who have gone through it, I guess, who have compared themselves to other mothers. Other pregnancies. Other post-birth bodies. The full gamut of things. It’s difficult to not compare yourself to somebody who you view as your peer, right?

What I really want to get across in this episode is understanding the difference between a true community and a community that will support you that’s worth giving that trust to. It’s worth maybe giving a little bit of the power to kind of help support and encourage you. And the difference between that and a false community, that maybe happens in your head and isn’t quite as constructive as you would want it to be. It’s more destructive.

So let’s talk about who is and is not a peer. I think it’s important, when you're thinking about real life friends. Right? Whether you're taking a new night class at the local college because you really wanted to learn about English literature, or something like that. And you run into some people there, and you find you have some common interests, and you start talking to different people. The people who you have more common interests with, you start to gravitate towards each other. Even in college. After about a year of being in college, you’ve probably found a group of friends who you have a lot of common interests with.

And as we go through life; we graduate from college and we have our professional career. We take some of those college friends, and we keep whittling away at people we have commonalities with. And then we keep going. And we make life decisions. We get married. Maybe we start to have a family. Maybe we start businesses, or we keep climbing the ranks at our current job. And you keep finding a more and more tight knit niche of your people. That is your tribe. And over the years, you have come to find these people. They get you. You get them. You trust each other. And that is somebody who you can lean on. They make you feel great. They can lift you up. They can call you out when you need to be called out. And it’s a really wonderful thing.

You don’t look at that person and think, “Gosh, why am I not more like them.” Right? Because you know more of the story and you know that that’s not even a part of your relationship with them. Comparisons aren’t even a part of the relationship. That is a true community. And there’s a really good chance that your true peers are going to have your same or similar capacity for work. Right? They’re going to have the same desire. A relatively similar amount of output. Right? And it’s different for everybody. Some people really like; their output is very, very high. It’s at a very high rate. And other people’s, it’s a little bit lower.

My friend, Juli Bauer, is a really good example of somebody who has really, really high output. That girl operates at an extremely fast paced rate, and she does a fabulous job with it. But she’s somebody who has a very, very high output. And I have had friends in the past, for example, who operate on a much different frequency. It’s not wrong, it’s not right. It’s just different. And it’s important; you know, the people who you’ve probably found at this point in your life, operate at your same sort of capacity, frequency.

You also maybe have some similar life experiences, everywhere from maybe where you went to school, the kinds of subjects you enjoy. Probably even maybe the TV shows you enjoy. Those kinds of real life details that you can share with somebody in real life, that also helps to establish them as a true peer. Their constitution, their background. And maybe even physical mechanics.

Personally, a lot of my current peers are ones that also probably struggle with the anti-inflammatory protocol. Or not struggle with it, but have found it. Found it to really be a help in their health journey. That person, your peers, probably also share a similar outlook on life. Right? They may view the world in a very similar way. Not exactly the same way. Because then life would be really boring. But there’s some commonality there. There is some commonality in the filters through which we speak.

So I think it’s important to remember that we can be choosy with who we are considering our peers. It’s important to know that you can filter those people out. Just like you do in real life. We can consider our time with friends as precious. At least, I know I do. My husband and I, we don’t have a whole lot of social time because we place a really high importance on family time. So we try to spend a lot of time with our family. And say yes to those experiences. And when it comes to time outside of family time, it’s precious. Those are precious hours. Because it’s either me and Austin, my husband. We’re going to have a kid next year, so that’s going to be precious time, as well. So the hours that we spend with peers, they’re important to us. And we know that we are choosy with who we spend that time with. Who do we put that effort into?

I think it’s ok to channel that same energy towards an online community. And I think that just like in real life, if you walk into a relationship that all of a sudden becomes maybe more destructive than constructive. If that person really does start making you feel bad about yourself. And you can sit down and have a conversation with them about it, and that doesn’t resolve the issues there. It is ok to walk away. And we know this in real life. It doesn’t make the emotional challenges any less. We know this in real life, that we can walk away. But online, you can walk away too. In fact, it’s even easier to walk away from a false community.

So remember that your flock; your really good group of friends. They will challenge you, support you, and never make you feel less than. Ever. They won’t do it. And if they are doing it, start with having a conversation with them, a very real one. A very honest one. Telling them how you feel, and why you feel that way. And if that doesn’t resolve it, it’s ok to move on. Right?

So pro tip; the people online may not be your people. Ok, so just remember that. Just because you have a few commonalties with them does not mean that they are a part of your flock. It is ok if you are; and this is. Let me put a footnote. This is really relevant to people who are having a hard time not comparing themselves to others. Right? Which is an easy thing to do. But if you are having a hard time not comparing yourself to others, meaning that everybody you see, you just think; “Gosh I need to be doing more of this.” And, “Gosh, I need to be doing more of that.” Or, “Gosh, she’s so much better at this kind of business than me. She’s so much better at keeping her house clean than me. Grocery shopping. Cooking.” All these things. If you get into some really negative self-talk, then I would say it’s a really good opportunity to stop, pause, audit, and edit down who you're actually following online and make sure you really only leave the people who make you feel great. It’s ok to do that.

So how to heal these unhealthy comparisons? Number one, unfollow. Go through your social media right now, and unfollow the people who maybe cause you to feel some sort of undue comparison. And this is not a negative reflection on them. So let me be clear. I’m not saying that there are bad accounts. There are just bad for us accounts, until we get to a point that we are ready to encounter that information without consuming it in a very personal way. So if you're feeling very raw and emotional, it is ok at this point in time to go and unfollow those accounts.

I know that there are people who I have worked with, for example, that went through. There was a time that they followed a bunch of really fabulous fitness models. They followed a whole bunch of them, because they thought that seeing those constantly in their feed would inspire them to want to work out more and eat differently. Kind of the same old classic of cutting out inspirational fitness models and pasting them all over your window. I knew so many women in college that did that. Cut out fitness models, and magnetized with magnets onto their refrigerator. So they would see that before they open the refrigerator. And what does that do? It creates this environment of a little bit of negative self-talk. “I don’t quite look like that yet, so I don’t deserve to eat the piece of cake that’s in the refrigerator.” That’s not exactly a really healthy mindset way to approach healthy lifestyle changes.

So, I would say that it’s ok if you find yourself in a situation like that, or following people that maybe you aspire to in a destructive to yourself sort of way, go through and unfollow them. And I would next find your people. And look for them. And start thinking. When you're finding people online, ask yourself. And be very choosy and think, “Is this person one of my people. Is this my people? Because if this is my people, I’m going to follow them.” And then give them a test run. Follow them. If they’re not your people, if they post something that makes you feel bad, that makes you start to not feel great about, it’s ok to unfollow them.

Number three, how to heal from unhealthy comparisons, is to remember how freaking amazing you are. You are freaking amazing. I don’t even know you, right? I know several of you. But the collective you. But you're incredible. Oh my gosh, you're incredible. You have such a wonderful past. A history. You’ve overcome so many wonderful things in your life. You have so much good in your heart and in your mind, and there’s so much wonderful things ahead for you. You are amazing. Remember that. You really, really, really are.

Number four. Remember that your body, your capacity for output, and your outlook on life is your significant. It is very unique. The combination of all of those things. Nobody in the entire world is going to be just like you. Nobody’s life will look like yours, and your life will look like nobody else’s. So when we’re looking to compare ourselves to people online, remember that. Remember how different and unique you are. You have a very unique signature. And while it’s ok to be choosy, it’s also ok to remember that nobody is going to be exactly like you. And that’s a great thing.

And then I would go on the self-talk offense, versus the self-talk defense. Right? And what do I mean by that? I mean really get out there and start reminding yourself how amazing you are. When you do something good, be like, “Gosh darn it, that was awesome. I did something great today.” It’s ok to really give yourself some really positive self-talk. So if you're talking to yourself. I’m not saying stop negative talk altogether. I’m saying replace it with something positive.

Let’s say you had a really good day with your kids. Or you did a workout; you just did it. Even if you just went through the motions. I’ve had those days recently. Especially when I was more tired during the first trimester. I would go through a workout, and maybe I didn’t have any PRs, I’m not out to win it anymore. But by golly, I showed up and I went through the motions. And that is awesome. So I give myself that positive talk versus, I can’t believe I ran a 400 meter in so much slower of a time. So go on the self-talk offense.

And then lastly; this is one of my favorite tips to really help heal unhealthy comparisons. This one is a little bit of a curve ball. Start giving real compliments to real people that you admire. Ok. So pull yourself out of the online community. Or out of the inner head comparison world, and start looking at real things that you truly admire in people. So maybe it is your mom. What is something that you really admire in your mother? Call her and tell her. Your mother-in-law. Call her and tell her. Your favorite professor from college, and you think about something that they said one time in one class, that had a huge impact on your life. Write them an email and give them that compliment. Give them something. Start putting positive things out into the world. Really wonderful self-talk for others. And there is something magical that happens when we start putting that stuff out. We start to feel better on the inside.

Just remember that it’s very natural if you find yourself comparing yourself to people and it starts to have a destructive downward spiral. It’s completely normal, but you can come out of it. And you're wonderful. You're an absolutely amazing person. You owe it to yourself. You deserve to feel wonderful. You deserve to feel supported. You deserve to feel loved. And you deserve to feel challenged in a good way. But not challenged in the sense of you're inadequate. It’s ok to feel challenged as in; I’m going to rise to the occasion. It is not ok to feel challenged in a defeated sense. So if you are feeling defeated, go ahead. Be choosier about the people that you're surrounding yourself with. Be choosier about who you are seeking inspiration from. Go on the self-talk offense, and start putting some good out into the world in the sense of real true compliments. Find real things to tell people that you admire, and I promise it will lift your spirits and help you get over this hump.

I hope you guys found today’s episode helpful. As always we’ll be back again next week. I think we are interviewing Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo to talk about her brand new book. So stay tuned for that. And I will talk to you guys soon.

   

3 Responses to “Ep. 116: Healing Unhealthy Comparisons”

  1. #
    1
    Genesis McCormackposted August 15, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Miss Cassy thank you so very much for this episode. It really made me realize that my self talk wasn’t nice. You said such wonderful things about people you haven’t met, so why am I not saying the same amazing things to myself? Well, now I am! Thank you!
    Much love and congratulations to you, Austin and Gus.

  2. #
    2
    Bethposted September 21, 2017 at 10:04 am

    This was so good! Thank you so much for being a light in your online community!

    • #
      Cassyposted September 26, 2017 at 8:04 am

      <3

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