This post is inspired my one of friends/clients. We met a few weeks ago through a mutual friend. She was really interested in powerlifting at our university, but, could not find a way to get into it. It worked out really well, we often train together in the mornings and I made her a program to help her work towards her goal of competing in her first meet.
She said something the other day which I hear and say too often. “I am weak.” Makes sense I guess, you just start powerlifting, in comparative terms, you do not have the same strength as someone that has been training for 10 years. But, even that is a stupid comparison, simply by stepping in the gym you are 100% stronger than most of the population. According to the CDC 80% of adult Americans do no exercise. So if you are comparing yourself, you are already winning before you even begin.
But, let us take away the comparison because it is entirely irrelevant. Not only does strength have many facets it is also unique. Unique in the sense that it is 100% relative to you. Relative to your goals, your genetic composition, your lifestyle, your lived experiences. No two people are exactly the same in this respect and you should remember that. Every time you add 2.5/5/10 pounds you are becoming stronger. Every time you do another rep on an AMRAP you are becoming stronger, it does not matter that you are not the strongest. You are strong for you. Comparing yourself to others is irrelevant, you are not them and they are not you. It is like standardized testing, two people can study for the exact same amount of time, have the same IQ, take the same test and get entirely different results. This difference is what makes us human, and what makes us individually special. So embrace the differences, accept that you are strong for you and keep on working!