​(Social Media) Comparison Is the Thief of Joy

Kasey Schumacher

kasey schumacher | social cues | june 2018

If you read my bio description for Frankly Green Bay, you'll notice the first interest of mine listed is that I enjoy running. While that hasn't always been the case (I was definitely the girl who would prefer to go to history class than gym class in school) it's been true for the past five or six years. I wouldn't consider myself a particularly fast runner, but I'm consistent and determined when I put my mind to something I want to achieve.

Back in November of 2017, I discovered my husband and I were going to have our first child! While this was very exciting news for both of us and our families, I would be lying if I said it didn't cross my mind mere minutes after seeing the two pink lines, “Can I still run for the next eight+ months?" I know, I know, maybe my priorities need evaluating. After consulting with my doctor, I was cleared to continue running. The rule for continuing was that I couldn't push myself to the point of exhaustion and that I should still be able to “carry on a conversation with someone" while running. So, I kept putting one foot in front of the other as my baby started to grow. I even decided to sign up and train for a half marathon while pregnant. Full disclosure, though: My “run" turned into more of a jog and the standard pace I was used to running at became much slower.

So, what does this have to do with social media? After all, this is supposed to be a social media column, right?

For the most part, I keep my running to myself. I've never been the type to share every workout or gym session via Facebook — it's just not my style. In addition, I don't typically look at #TransformationTuesday pictures and my Instagram feed is not filled with fitness gurus and models.

A few days before the big half marathon I signed up for, I decided to search the hashtag, #pregnantrunner on Instagram. I'd seen the hashtag used on pregnancy blogs and running forums before and figured, “Why not check out what other moms-to-be are doing?" Bad. Idea.

All of the sudden I was scrolling through picture after picture of these super fit and fast pregnant women. I was seeing women either as far along as I was running significantly faster than me or women who were still running well into their third trimester and I hadn't reached that point yet. It became very easy to start comparing myself to these random strangers on Instagram and to start feeling bad about myself. Logically I knew I shouldn't do that. I've (kindly) lectured other people about not doing that very thing. I've read article after article about the dangers of social media comparison. Yet here I was, comparing my pace to women a decade older, who already had three+ kids and were winning the #pregnantrunner thing more than me. It really got me down and I started thinking, “What's the point? Even if I complete the whole 13.1 miles, I'm just going to be embarrassed compared to what these women are doing."

Thankfully my husband and family were able to help snap me out of my rut. I was able to get a better attitude and remember that this was about my love of running, my months of training and ultimately the goal I wanted to accomplish while expecting my son.

On Sunday, April 29th I completed my 8th half marathon and my first one while pregnant. I was 27 weeks along at the time. It was a perfect day for a race and I truly tried to simply enjoy the moment. It didn't even matter what the time stamp said.

I proudly shared a photo of myself after the race on social media and was humbled by the kind words and congratulations my friends commented on the post. It was just a few days prior I had, unfortunately, let social media comparisons take over my mind and make me feel worthless and stupid for even trying. I hope the next time I am faced with the opportunity to so bluntly compare myself via social media, I'll take the high road first before it dampens my spirit.

If you're reading this and you face a similar situation, you'll do the same as well. It's not easy, but it's so much better in the long run. Pun intended.

Kasey Schumacher is the marketing director for Let Me Be Frank Productions by day and a performer for the troupe by night. When she isn't updating Facebook or singing a 1970s classic, she enjoys running, cooking, questioning final rose picks on 'The Bachelor" and planning overly extravagant trips to Disney.

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