Competition

That’s the new pose I tried tonight. It’s called crane and it didn’t look exactly like that when I did it, since I didn’t quite get my feet that far off the ground. After several tries, I did manage to get my feet about half an inch off the ground for about 15 seconds. That’s not great but this is a really hard pose and I’m really proud of myself for managing to do that.

That by the way, being proud of myself, I mean, is quite an accomplishment in and of itself. I’m a pretty competitive person. Now I don’t mean athletically competitive. Unless, of course, the competition is how many time one can fall over their own feet in a set amount of time. No. What I mean is I’m competitive with myself. I guess maybe this could be better described as extreme perfectionism. It’s not necessarily that I want to be the best I can be. It’s that when compared to everyone else, I want to be the best or the most or whatever other superlative you can think of period.

I’m pretty sure that this has always been true for me. I’ve always felt that if I wasn’t doing something better than everyone else, then I wasn’t trying hard enough. I don’t know the root of this constant feeling of inadequacy and feel like I probably will only discover that with years and year of very expensive therapy… And that’s not going to happen and I’m fine with just acknowledging that I’m extremely competitive.

Throughout college this got pretty extreme and I would literally spend days in the library researching and writing to make sure that I got the best grade in whatever class I was taking. You would think that law school would only have made this worse. And to an extent that’s true. I was a lot harder on myself in law school than at any other time in my life, but after that terrible first year, I realized, for probably the first time in my life, that I was doing the best I could do. It wasn’t the best period. But it was the best for me and working even harder would have meant I did nothing other than study, eat, and sleep. So in that sense, accepting that my best wasn’t THE best, law school was good for me.

Yoga has helped me with that even more. In yoga, it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing because no one has exactly the same body as me. All that matters is what going on with you. So, in yoga, I really can’t compare myself with the person next to me to see if I’m THE best. I can really only compete with myself. And I’m finding that a lot easier to do lately. Most days I go through an entire class completely focused on me, my breath, and my poses. And the best part is that on these days, I find it so much easier to actually go deeper in the poses and try new more advanced things.

I think the moral of this is that I need to stop measuring myself against all others. When I can stop doing that in all aspects of my life, when I stop trying to be perfect in everything that I do, maybe the perfection (or near perfection) that I’ve been chasing will find me.

This got a lot more personal that I wanted it to, but this is an insight that I’ve had into myself lately and I just wanted to share it. Hopefully, this can help all of you as well.
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