Usually winning is clearly defined. In sports, it is the team with more points at the end of the game or the person that crosses the finish line first. However, this week I was thinking about the less clearly defined “wins” in life. The ones that involve power struggles. These wins can involve self-sacrifice or end with someone having a Nelson moment at your expense.
I have experienced this exact situation. I was living in a competitive scenario that I did not even realize was a competition at all. In the end, this person decided to self-sacrifice to “win”. And, to this day, I would still say it wasn’t/isn’t really a competition at all. Why? Well, I think it really depends on your definition of winning…
To win or not to win…
What is more important in life – happiness or winning? In the end, is winning always happiness? Sure, you see the smile on an athlete’s face when they win, but it’s because all their hard work has achieved something of greatness. What if you continue to chip away at something that really isn’t worth winning? What if the prize included more years of uncertainty, mistrust, unnecessary fighting, control and more? If you truly had to lose yourself to win, is it really a win at all?
That’s when I realized that losing can be winning. Sometimes a situation doesn’t play in your favour and that’s the gift. When I was younger, I used to listen to Garth Brooks Unanswered Prayers on repeat. A song all about praying for something, not getting it, and then realizing you were better off. At the time, I really didn’t understand the song. Nonetheless, with age and maturity, I finally discovered the truth behind it. Sometimes “God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” As the saying goes, our prayers can either be answered with “yes,” “no,” or “wait.”
Making a decision
In life, we are faced with many choices and, as I’ve said before, even making no choice is a choice. And I understand that sometimes we just aren’t ready to make a move. Frankly, I understand greater than ever that sometimes people are just frozen after reading The Body Keeps The Score. In those moments of making decisions, figuring out the right choice, we can usually determine whether we are winning or losing.
Here’s how I see it… Does the “win” bring you joy? Personal joy? Not just because you’re taking something away from someone else, but because you genuinely enjoy what you are keeping/gaining? Does it feel right? Or does it feel like you’re hammering a square peg into a round hole? A true win fits – it feels good. The situation that is meant for us doesn’t cause us pain or anguish. We are able to live and let live.
How I truly “won”
It’s funny because, in the non-competition, I feel I ended up winning. How you may ask? Because I didn’t lose myself. In fact, I gained so much. I continue to learn that circumstance doesn’t necessarily affect feelings. I have learned that if there’s a will, there’s always a way. I’ve learned that I’m content with me as me and will never alter my genuine self. The whole situation made me revisit my values and morals. My time reflecting led to new respect and understanding for both myself and the situation.
There has been no Nelson moment. Only joy at the overall experience I gained. Nowadays, I actually thank my non-competitor. Winning isn’t always winning and losing isn’t always losing. It’s perspective. So, take a moment in those competitive situations and really assess – are you winning? Or are you potentially losing yourself? Because you are the most important relationship in your life. <3