Comparison - The Thief Of Joy
Now there’s something to be said for a touch of healthy competition amongst your pole family. The drive and motivation of working together to achieve great things is infectious. There’s nothing like it.
But just as there’s a fine line between pleasure and pain
, especially in pole, there is a finer one between healthy and corrosive competition in your happy place.
The pole studio can be a heady mix of personalities. We’ve all seen the memes and cartoons depicting the various personalities of pole dancers in the studio.
The cold one. The scared one. The trickster. The keen photographer desperate for their next IG pic. The daredevil just waiting for the instructor to turn their backs (fyi daredevils, we see you - don't forget the mirrors help us too).
But what about when your little corner of heaven becomes a hell of comparison, self deprecation and questions like “why am i just not good enough”.
Where do you turn when the one element of your life where you feel you shine suddenly becomes dulled by comparison and negativity?
If you’re hoping for a nice easy fix here I’m about to let you down - the only place you can turn is within. Comparison is an internal struggle between where we are and where we think we should be.
Now as a general rule, any time “should” or “have to” is used, we see a big old red flag. These two and any other terms with similar implications are corrosive to all the things that make you smile about your training.
What we must remember is that we can never truly know or understand the road our classmates walk, just as they can never truly know ours. Our roads are our own and while at times it can be tempting to try someone elses lane as it may seem easier, smoother or more fun I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t how it works.
While we are on the road metaphors, I’d also encourage you to remember that training, like all things in life, is a journey not a destination. If we all chased a particular end goal, where we would have somehow “achieved” pole, the goal posts would be constantly moving.
The industry and its tricks, choreography styles, competitions, showcases etc are forever evolving. Every week there is something new trending, some new way to contort our bodies, a new height of strength required. Even if we wanted to, we could never truly reach an endgame style goal.
Instead, the aim is progress.
Has your stamina improved? Have your splits progressed? Are you feeling less terrified with each attempt? Perhaps the steps of your progress are even smaller and harder to measure.
Maybe you’ve just looked yourself in the eye in the mirror for the first time. Perhaps you’ve stopped apologizing for things out of your control. Maybe you’re more eager to ask for and accept help from your instructor, or you willingly chose the front and center pole instead of the back corner.
Each of these, and anything else that feels like progress is where celebration lies. Tricks will come and go. Life is demanding and unpredictable and sometimes simply showing up is all we can ask of ourselves, other times downtime is a must.
I’m here to tell you that it is just as worthy of celebration as those elite tricks and contortion moves.
Celebrating in a way that feels right to you will help you not only minimize the comparison, but to also whole-heartedly cheer on your training family for their own little wins along the way.
Remember, stay in your lane. Where you are right now is absolutely perfect and you are doing incredible things - you just have to allow yourself to see that.