Monday, 13 May 2013

Why Winning Sucks Just as Much as Losing

Everyone wants to win. But not me. I think that winning sucks just as much as losing. Or at least, I am really trying that attitude on for size. What's up with that? It's not because I am completely self aware and totally Zen or anything. I am as competitive as the next girl. And it's not because of any fears of losing. I have considered that and I know that there was a time when that may have rung more truth bells than I care to admit. But because I am learning to love me as I am and that feels better than anything that I have ever won.

I am competitive. It's in my nature. I was (working on that and its going well so I am allowing myself the past tense as a kind of reward) also afraid to loose so I would try to be selective about competing when I could be. I have albums and boxes full of ribbons and medals I earned as a child in both synchronized and competitive race swimming. I was good at that and so that became my "speciality". Never a well rounded sportsman I stuck with what I knew. And it felt good to win, I won't deny that. I competed in everything that I thought I could win. That sent me out into the world competing only where I thought I had a shot at winning. Not trying what I thought I would lose. Sabotaging myself along the way if what I thought I had a shot at went south. And feeling bad about myself in areas that weren't meant to be an obvious competition but yet were. That last part seems to be a natural part of being a teenage girl, but its been many a moon since I was a teen and though I now know how to handle that part of me, that part still shows up once and a while.

Competing in sports is healthy. Sure, I get that. But can the competition be kept on the playing field? I'm not so sure that is the direction in which many of us are heading. We compete in school. We talk about it being a competitive job market after school. We compete for the promotion. Corporations compete for market share. We compete with the models in the magazines, with our neighbours and our peers.  Heck, kids now compete to even make it onto the playing field to begin with. And I have watched people compete to be next in line at the coffee shop. Really?! Do you think that guy is gonna get the last cup of coffee there is?

How do we then expect to grow up and not compare ourselves to each other in every way. She is prettier or skinnier. He makes more money than I do. They have more than we do. That's a nicer car than mine.

What do many of us do? We get comfortable with our competitive side and then follow those comparisons up with a big dose of blame to make ourselves feel 'better'. We say things like "You can't have it all" or "Life isn't always fair". It's not my fault.  His father got him that job. She doesn't have to work so she gets to go to the gym everyday. Their parents both have top jobs and so ____.  (For the record blame is the quickest path to feeling worse about ourselves not better)

When there can only be one winner there are usually many who are left comparing themselves and coming up short. How on earth can one have that kind of inner monologue going on and still grow up to be a truly comfortable and confident adult? Is it any wonder that so many of us end up in a place where what we DO feel is a lot of lack and what we DON'T  feel is a lot of love for ourselves.

Winner or loser, either outcome fosters our competitive side, and that side is not what leads us to a place of fulfilment. I vote we dial back the competition. What would a world feel like where nobody felt the need to "keep up with the Jones'"? Where we could all embrace exactly who we are? What would it look like if personal growth began in a place of wanting to feel good instead of in wanting to feel better than anyone else? How would it feel to live in a place where success was born in an environment of support and our only competition was the one that we were having with ourselves?

Competition leaves us striving for more not because finding that level of more will feel good but because we believe that losing will feel bad. Let's leave the competition among us on the sports fields and remember that the Universe is a place of abundance, and it can and does care of us all in exactly the way we allow it to. 

I don't want to consider myself a winner or a loser because 
I don't want to be a competitor. 

Where are you competing and how does it make you feel? Are you driven by the great feelings that winning will bring to you or by your wanting to avoid the bad feelings that might come with losing? Leave a comment and share your story. 

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