Here’s how to love yourself more – and embrace the joy of not competing with others.
Note: This is guest essay by Denise Barry
When my daughter was in high school she was on the crew team. One happy day the four-person boat she led came in first, and she and the other girls won a medal.
Sam was very proud of herself. She had trained night and day, six days a week, to prepare for that race.
The next day she left the medal on her dresser and went to school. When she returned home that night she mentioned that a couple of the girls had worn their medals to school.
“Why didn’t you?” I asked.
“Because I didn’t want the girls on the team who didn’t win to feel bad,” Sam answered.
What a lucky girl, I thought, to not want to separate herself from others. She did not need to compete, compare or stand out.
And we’re taught that it’s okay, even necessary, to be the “winner”.
There are tons of categories in life to compete in, if you’re so inclined.
There’s prettiest, smartest, nicest, sassiest, best dressed, best cook, best athlete, happiest marriage, highest paid celebrity, etc.
But we’re taught that if we have a passion for something, we need to be better at it than everyone else. Instead of connecting with (and supporting) those doing the same things we are, we compete with them.
We alienate ourselves by comparing ourselves to each other.
If someone excels where we haven’t yet, we declare ourselves a “loser.”
By traditional standards, you cannot have a winner without a loser.
But I don’t buy into that. Neither does my daughter.
My daughter and I know that winning is a personal thing. It’s the result of your efforts.
Being a winner means you’re someone who works hard and jumps through all the hoops.
If you want to feel like a winner, you don’t have to beat everyone else – or anyone, for that matter.
You simply need to set a realistic goal for yourself – then go out there and try to achieve it. In the end, you’ve won, whether or not you were given a title.
Did you get that?
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
But this good news gets better.
Well, these feelings of being a winner have nothing to do with anyone else.
You can love yourself more simply by deciding it’s important to appreciate ourselves.
On our best day we can’t beg, buy, borrow or steal “Winner Feelings” from anyone.
We can’t even earn them, because we already own them.
They come from within, and everyone has a set of “Winner Feelings.” Everyone, without exception.
Re-define what it means to be a “winner.”
Of course, that would mean dropping the word “loser.”
But hey, I’m willing to do that.
This essay is written by Denise Barry
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