They Walked So Slow

It’s been only a few months since I committed to walk daily and make at least 10.000 steps per day. I had been pretty sedentary before this – so I’m still at the beginning of building my strength. To be able to fulfill the 10.000 steps I would have to do at least a session of 40 minutes devoted to walk, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been quite faithfully doing that for the last 3 months, sunshine or rain.

So I begin to feel proud of myself, of my achievement and strong will, and I begin to feel stronger as well. I feel like I can walk very fast now, sometimes I have this feeling like I want to start running!

This morning, knowing that my day would be very full with two piano lessons, I thought I better start immediately and get things done, and go out for my walk. So I did. It was much colder than a few days ago, what supposed to be spring weather seemed to evaporate to the sky and return as winter rain again. Huh, should I really walk in this (little) rain? Let’s just start, and we’ll see later – that’s what I thought. And so I started, and after the first 10 minutes I was on fire.

I finished one route and turned back to get home when I saw two elderly walking a bit far in front of me. Both had completely silver hairs, and both walked very slowly. It was at least 10 or 20 meters distance between us, and I saw that one of them walked funny, it seemed she had hurt her leg – perhaps from being her age. 

I thought I would be able to overtake them in seconds! They walk so slow! But then, I began to observe their movement, trying to count their pace – and compare it to mine, and I realized those slow old ladies moved their legs at the exact pace like me!

I was confused! They walk so slow! And I walk so fast! And we’re actually walking at the same pace??

We humans (or perhaps only me hehe) often regard ourselves too highly compared to others.  Being proud of our achievements, we easily think highly of ourselves and see others as less than us. Especially when we think we have done our best… and this small-minded-mindset can come from the fact that we don’t know enough about the world around us. The world revolves around ourselves, and we forget that out there, there are people who can do better (and worse than us).

Since I locked down myself from doing social media around 3 years ago, I became pretty isolated. And the corona lockdown doesn’t help either. My world revolves around me and my family, and I don’t think too much about anyone else. Of course I have valid reasons to act that way, and no, I wasn’t that self-centric. I still care about people in my small-ring but I prefer not to burden my heart about too many things.

My cousin told me once, what she learns from joining a writing club (which is the reason why I’m writing again now), is the fact that she actually doesn’t know everything. By looking at other’s works she realized that she didn’t know it all, and she still has a lot of things to learn.

I guess that’s what happened to me today. When I walk alone and measure my strength and speed compared to myself, I feel like I’ve been doing very well and perhaps I’m the best. But when I look around and see other people, I realized that I still have a long way to go!

The internet kindly provides me with a name of this symptom: illusory superiority. But I guess if I just be honest with myself, I have to admit that at times I do have problems with arrogance. It might actually come from the feeling of inferiority within, the feeling that I have achieved so little compared to others, and I tried to cover this feeling by boasting my own self-worth – by comparing myself to people I assume do less than me.

An example of such insecurity is people (or perhaps me) love to look at the lack of others in order to raise their self-value.

“Do you see that woman over there? Isn’t she bigger than me? I’m not THAT big, right?”

“What a stupid comment! I do make stupid remarks from time to time, but never that bad! Didn’t she think first before she opened her mouth?”

“You know, our house IS messy, but not AS MESSY as their house. I wonder what’s wrong with them.”

“I’m glad that my child doesn’t play as much on the screen as hers. She seems to be too occupied with herself instead investing time with her children.”

“I know I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world, but I’m definitely pretty enough compared to many.”

Hahaha. My mom often called me, “The arrogant humble person.” Oh and she’s definitely right about that. I might not realise it often enough, but I still have many improvements to work on on this field.

Galatians 6: 4 (ESV) says: “But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.”

It’s important to look at others as one method for a ‘reality-check’ in measuring our work, to see how far we’ve been, and use it as encouragement to do better. But we shouldn’t use other people as a way of glorifying ourselves by mocking their position in the race.

After all, we are all human, created in the image of God, and all of us are granted different kinds of races, different kinds of challenges, different kinds of tests.

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