“Walk Your Walk…” A Lesson About Comparison Inspired By Michelle Obama

Leave it to Michelle Obama to deliver a quote so captivating that it literally stopped me in my tracks.

Back in February Oprah Winfrey sat down with former First Lady Michelle Obama to have a conversation in front of a live audience in Brooklyn, New York that later aired on Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations podcast (listen here). This conversation episode explored topics related to Michelle’s best-selling memoir “Becoming” and was filled with inspiration, encouragement, joy, influence, and certainly pure excellence. 

I have quickly become restless being stuck in the house, so I thought I’d grab my headphones and embark on a neighbourhood walk (while practicing social distancing of course) to begin catching up on the podcast.

About halfway through the episode [22:39] Michelle and Oprah were talking about working toward your own happiness and defining your own journey through life. Michelle shared an experience she had at a spiritual retreat where the group would go on a daily four hour hike. While sharing her story one profound phrase struck me so deep that I came to a standstill: 

“Stop comparing yourself to the person walking ahead of you or behind you. Walk your walk.”

In that moment I immediately interpreted that phrase as a metaphor for life. ✨

Everybody has their own way of walking through life. Some people choose to rush through it, some people brace themselves on the incline, while others may walk through it slowly. Everyone walks along that path differently. They may change their walk due to circumstances, personality traits, or opportunities. No matter the situation we should be conscious of walking our own walk regardless of the pace of others.

I learned this lesson recently. It has taken me three years to complete my masters thesis (that’s one extra year than I had ever planned) and the occupation of ‘student’ feels to be dragging out. Honestly, writing my thesis has been my most difficult challenge to date, but part of that struggle was to stop comparing my timeline to the timeline of others. This would result in feeling defeated, unaccomplished, disappointed, and frustrated. I chose to take my mind back to reality and remind myself that my project is really great and it will bring value to cancer and exercise research.

“Stop comparing yourself to the person walking ahead of you or behind you. Walk your walk.”

Despite your age I believe that by default and unknowingly we compare our timeline to others. We look at the milestones that family or friends have accomplished, opportunities they have been given or even their physical appearance. We may compare job status, relationship status, family status, vacation getaways, items they own, friends they have, or clothes they wear. This list could go on and on.

Comparison raises nonessential stress and dissatisfaction with yourself. Even if we’ve accomplished some pretty awesome things during our own timeline the comparison dims the light of that success.

Michelle continued to explain by saying “if you do what [they] did in front of you, you won’t make it,” meaning that our individual paths taken through life should not be a replica of others. Those in front of us are to set examples, but they are not the blueprint for a successful life. We can follow the paths of others, but you can still walk your own walk on that same path. 🌼

“Stop comparing yourself to the person walking ahead of you or behind you. Walk your walk.”

I invite you to practice walking your own walk through life. When you see people on their own path, smile and wave, then continue walking forward on your own journey.

– Liv ✌🏽💜


Feature Photo by Henry Xu on Unsplash

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