For most of us, comparison is a pattern that we work on stepping away from when
retraining the brain. Our brains naturally want to gauge our progress based on how we measure up to others. There is often a script running under the surface that we should be farther along or “doing better” than others and if we are not, the brain has some strong opinions about that. It can often feel very triggering and decidedly not ok if the brain decides we don’t measure up.
There are so many factors that go into the pace of recovery and it’s important to remind the brain of that. All we can do is go at our own pace and do our best to gradually and lovingly change our patterns. It takes time to repattern the brain and nervous system, it’s not a race. Pushing the brain and nervous system faster than they are ready for just puts us into adrenaline and back into the chronic F/F/F response we are trying to change.
What many of us also need to work on is not comparing ourselves to ourselves. It’s so common that we expect ourselves to do more than we did a month or two ago, and we feel a sense of failure if we aren’t. If we were able to walk one mile two months ago, then anything less than that feels like we are sliding backwards. There is an expectation that our capacity and training zone should steadily grow and never shrink and that’s just not reality. Our training zone changes all the time, and sometimes it gets smaller. That doesn’t mean we are going backwards.
We all know that there is an ebb and flow to the recovery process and that symptoms will come and go. There is also and ebb and flow to our training zones. They change from day to day, week to week and month to month. Sometimes our training zone grows and sometimes it shrinks, that’s completely normal and all part of the rewiring process.
It’s important to understand this because when we compare ourselves to ourselves, it sets the stage for pushing through. If we aren’t ok with walking half a mile today because we were walking more than that two months ago, we push through and walk too far. We go into adrenaline and fight/flight to walk the same distance we did two months ago and we feed all the old pathways in the brain. Instead of interrupting old brain patterns, we are feeding them with this behavior.
Alternatively, how can we meet ourselves where we’re at today? Where we’re at today might be a much smaller training zone than it was last month and that’s ok. How can we lovingly and calmly act back on the brain, rise above the symptoms and teach the brain and nervous system a new pattern? Rather than stubbornly walking a full mile in adrenaline or fretting about “only” walking a half mile, we can walk that half mile and feel good about it, confident that we acted back on the brain without pushing through. In taking that approach, we are doing our best to bloom where we are at in this moment, today.
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