In October I had a shoulder surgery. It wasn’t successful. I still have a lot of pain and am on a long road back to pole. The other Saturday I had a fantastic pole day! I inverted via shoulder mount and closed grip. For the first time since surgery I was able to hold a handstand against the pole with minimal discomfort and exited my inverts with a side step. I was feeling strong. I was feeling like I was making progress.

Monday I had a second great pole training day! I kept building on what went well on Saturday and felt stronger. I was able to do some fireman spins with minimal pain. I did some really strong bracket tucks and felt successful. I had two great pole days in a row and felt like I was finally making progress back to pole.

On Facebook Tuesday a dear friend posted a picture of her doing an Ayesha. She had shoulder surgery three months after mine. Seeing her baller Ayesha made me SO HAPPY for her!!!! She has been killing the PT to make her way back to pole and I couldn’t be more happy she is getting there.

And at the same time, that picture made me feel so behind in my own recovery. I totally saw her picture of awesome success, cheered for her, and judged myself as lacking. It was immediate. It was unconscious. And it was super MEAN.

Let’s break down how dumb this is: My friend had a different injury to being with. She had a completely different surgery; her surgery was also deemed successful while mine was not. She has had a different recovery. To begin with, even before the start of injury land, she is a professional athlete and world class pole-er; she has won multiple pole titles; I am not a professional athlete and never was an elite poler. She is seriously amazing. She can do things on the pole and with her body that I never could and never will. The move that she pictured (and I judged myself as inadequate because I hadn’t gotten there yet in my own recovery) is a move that to her is easy and she had done hundreds of times and to me is a move I was just learning when I had to take off for injury. It is totally unrealistic to think I should be able to do that move at this time. Totally ridiculous.

But my brain saw it, ignored every piece of reality and instead was mean to me. And I listened. On Wednesday I had a crap pole day where I felt weak and broken. There were other factors (it was a long start to the week and I was tired and blah blah blah), but I’m sure one of the reasons I had a crap pole day was that I was still feeling inadequate from something that made me happy for my friend.

We ALL have comparison. It is human nature to have that snap decision. It doesn’t make you a bad person because it literally happens automatically. It is there. Saying don’t compare yourself is actually impossible, we are genetically wired to compare ourselves. So what are you going to do to keep it from sabotaging your efforts? First, I do go through the break down and point out the logic. Second, I talked to my training buddies about how I was feeling and they were my cheerleaders. Third, I showed up. I didn’t want to on Wednesday. But I still went in for my workout. This is honestly the most important thing. I showed up despite the negative voice and went through the motions until things started clicking again. Fourth, I did what felt ok and focused on what was good. I was able to a handstand against the wall Wednesday. That is another small step. So I focused on my own progress. This is the other big thing. Comparison happens but we need to keep bringing our eyes back to OUR progress and celebrating the hell out of it.

Comparison is reality. It is part of the human condition. But always remember that it is a choice to allow the comparison game to hold you back. You can choose to acknowledge it, then ignore it for the mean jerk it is!