When I met Katie Den Ouden at her KDO Studio open house event in Denver a month or so ago, her message really clicked with me. Katie believes in feeding your soul, freeing your body, and loving your life. So, when she asked me if I would join her Skinny Dip Society blog tour, I was excited to say yes. After all, I’m a firm believer in loving and living your life to the fullest.


But to be honest, after committing, I was nervous about writing this post because I wasn’t really sure what to share (not to mention that this post is quite different than the typical sewing tutorial post I write). I mean, I don’t feel like I have some amazing insight or an incredible story… I still very much consider myself a work in progress and that I’m still figuring it all out.

But, after thinking about it for a while, I realized I really do love my life and myself and I’m completely thrilled with where I’m at. Then, I started thinking about how this came to be. I definately wasn’t always this way. After reflecting, I realized that I became a lot happier when I stopped comparing myself to others and I wanted to share that message with others.

So, here’s a little essay on how setting my own baseline freed me from my own negative self-talk.

Setting My Own Baseline

In a world where seeing what everyone else is doing every minute of every day is just a click away, it’s so easy to compare ourselves to others. I used to read blogs and friend’s Facebook posts and compare my life to theirs. I would see something that they were doing and want to do it too. Then, when I couldn’t accomplish it, I felt like a failure, not realizing that I had actually accomplished something, based on where I had started.

For instance, back when I was in college, my college roommate loved to run. She would start out almost every day with a 5 mile run and looked and felt great. I wanted to be like her too, so I set out one day and tried to run. I could barely make it around the block and had to run/walk to finish a mile. I felt so disappointed in myself, that I couldn’t do it, that I actually gave up on running all together after that.

A few years later, I was fresh off a breakup and needing to find some motivation (and, honestly, myself) that I laced up my running shoes and hit the pavement. It was a struggle to make it to the first stop light down the street, but every day I tried again. I didn’t give up.

Sewbon.com || Sewbon Running Belt

Looking back, I realize that I didn’t give up because I wasn’t comparing my running ability to anyone else’s. I had changed my frame of reference. I looked at each run compared to how my last one went, not how anyone else was doing. Looking at it this way made me realize that I had actually accomplished something based on my starting point (absolutely no running ability). My baseline was pretty much 0 miles and it was really exciting to slowly watch myself improve; to make it to the first stop light, then the second, and then all the way around the block without stopping. Watching myself improve gave me the motivation I needed to keep going and keep trying, day after day.

I’m so glad I kept at it because I actually met my now husband at a local running club and our first kiss was at the finish line of my first half-marathon. Apparently endorphins make you do crazy things like kiss the guy you like. :)


I still have to remind myself to set my own baseline and not compare myself to others. I still see these wildly successful people and want to be like them, but instead of focusing on how I don’t measure up to them, I look at where I’m at now, where I want to go, and then celebrate my journey there.


Interested in continuing the blog tour where 24 other women share their stories on truly living free and happy?

Check out yesterday’s fabulous post from Robin of The Balanced Life.

Robin: http://www.thebalancedlifeonline.com
Facebook:  The Balanced Life
Instagram: @thebalancedlife
Twitter: @balanced_life_

And continue the tour tomorrow with Audrey from Rewired Life.


Audrey: http://www.rewired-life.com
Facebook:  Rewired Life
Instagram: @audreymichelphoto
Twitter: @myrewiredlife

And, be sure to check out Katie’s Free 21 Day Challenge, which starts February 1st.


  • TheBalancedLife

    This is such a great reminder Erin! Thanks for sharing. I agree – social media is so great…but can also lead to comparison. Thanks for sharing a healthy perspective :) xo

    • http://www.sewbon.com/ Erin

      Thanks Robin! :) I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Katie Den Ouden

    Erin I love this!!! I’ve set a false idea in my head for business and where I “should” be so many times because I was watching other people. I’m slowly getting better at this, but really starting to own that I’m happy and proud of where I’m at, I’m doing good work, and I’m loving my life. I love the concept of my own baseline because that takes external pressures away. And I heart your sewing projects. Simple things and environment are huge in how we experience and feel life… living and loving it. Thank you for being so real! xo

    • http://www.sewbon.com/ Erin

      Thanks so much for having me be a part of your series! :)

  • Amanda

    This is a neat project and introduced me to some new-to-me blogs. Thanks for that.

    • http://www.sewbon.com/ Erin

      I’m glad you are excited about the project! I think it’s really awesome – Katie’s sending such a great message with it!

  • Lissa Layman

    So simple yet so difficult! I’m getting better but not comparing myself to others is still something I have to be conscious about! I’ve noticed that the better I feel about myself, the less I compare. Definitely a motivation to keep nourishing my body and soul :)

    • http://www.sewbon.com/ Erin

      Thanks Lissa! I’m so glad you liked the post! I’m still a work in progress too- sometimes it can be so hard not to compare ourselves to others… especially with facebook and all the other social media out there.

  • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

    Erin, I’ve had the same experience with running! Starting, then being discouraged because I can’t immediately go three miles, then giving up altogether. I recently signed up for an 8K with two wonderful friends and am training from basically point zero. So I’ve had to give myself some gentle reminders about slowly working up, but because I have an exciting goal in the distance, I appreciate each little improvement I can make.

    • http://www.sewbon.com/ Erin

      Whoohoo! Congrats on signing up for the 8k! You are so inspiring!

  • http://www.DesignYourOwnBlog.com/ Marianne

    What a fabulous realization and what most of us tend to do on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing your heart and what you’ve learned. I do this too much but am slowly learning to remind myself that everything is a learning process and takes time. Your friend didn’t start out running 5 miles a day I’m sure of it.

    I love your site, it’s very eye-pleasing and your work is beautiful!

    • http://www.sewbon.com/ Erin

      Aw, thank you so much for the encouragement, Marianne! :) You rock!

  • Erin

    Wow a half marathon is impressive. I’m still working on 5k’s but I will get there some day. :)

    • http://www.sewbon.com/ Erin

      Congrats on the 5K distance! That’s awesome! :)

  • http://www.thehomeyowl.blogspot.com/ Stacia

    Such a good reminder! Thanks! :)

    • http://www.sewbon.com/ Erin

      I’m so happy you liked the post! :)