Run your own race

I'm not as far along on my recovery as they are...

Why do we so like to compare our journeys, experiences and mental ill-health with other peoples?

We are all on our own journeys, experiences and levels of mental ill-health, yet we like to compare ourselves with each other - "my mental ill-health isn't as bad as theirs".

Firstly, your mental ill-health and well-being is only comparable to your own. What one person may experience and find difficult another person may not and visa versa. Labels can be very subjective - for example "they have challenging behaviour" or "they have a mental health illness" for both of these statements you would conjure up your own vision of what they mean based upon your own experiences.

Therefore we either need to ask more detail questions about what people mean by those labels or create/find out for ourselves what those labels mean to us.

Comparing our experiences with others can bring a sense of understanding, sympathy and empathy, which can create an environment that is comfortable and understanding. Even so those in that environment will take greater steps forward on their personal journeys when they stop comparing themselves with others and 'run your own race'.

You may have many personal limiting beliefs that you compare yourself with others which can create a sticking point for you from moving forward. When you work on your own journey and race you can easily reflect upon how far you have come.

During our Men Up peer support groups we often share our personal journeys and experiences with the knowledge that others may not be as far along as others. This is done to show others that progress is achievable and doable...and it is done at your own pace. There is no way I am going to compete with Usain Bolt or Mo Farah in their respective distances...what I will do is get to my destination in my time and direction. There are may analogies and metaphors about the journey, the road and the destination - the most important element to me personally is to keep moving and if you have a rest, there is no need to beat yourself up about it.

Run your own race, take advice from others, learn...and remember the power of YET. It is not that you can not do it, you just have not done it yet... #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

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