With increase in social media such as Facebook or Athlinks we are inundated with information daily and constantly about others peoples daily lives and running life. This information was not around 3-5 years ago. We had very little information about the runners we run with at races. Now we have so much information yet not having anything truly of value at all. We glimpse into others lives, make judgments and assumptions but yet have no idea really what is truly in someone's heart unless you are true friend and family member. It is very easy to get caught up with this information without having any clue about the people behind the status updates or race times. It is very easy to get up in the compare and contrast game. Facebook/Athlinks almost encourage that part of ourselves that we know is not of our nature. It is not natural for us to compare ourselves, our gifts, or our journey's that is why it feels so bad when we let ourselves go there. There is a very famous quote that is so true that "Comparison is the thief of joy".
We can never truly know someone's story or journey or where God is taking them or doing in their hearts. It is our job to celebrate each other, champion each other and truly wish all well with a sincere heart not just our friends or those easy to cheer on but those that you may see as competition or those that are works in progress. We are not here to compete with each other but to cooperate with each other.
I know what it is like to race a race in both competition and cooperation mode. I can tell you that it feels a million times better to support another runner or vice/versa to an awesome time than trying to run against another runner. If we truly value each other we all can benefit from some cooperation.
Cooperation works best it is freely given and encouraged. It promotes goodwill toward each other and is a gift that is always appropriate in running and in life.
I recently read this in a medical journal article about the value of cooperation for mental health. Here is a valuable and relevant excerpt.
Focus on doing well. Isaksen points out that attempting to do well and trying to better than others are two separate mental processes. It is impossible to concentrate on both. Of the two, cooperating with yourself and others to create a positive outcome has more rewards.