We live in a competitive world. Competing can be a worthwhile endeavor. It encourages the drive for excellence. It has led to advances in science, from our walk on the moon, to the races for success in the business world. The results leading to an advancement in our enjoyment of our personal living conditions. It’s even present in our everyday life when we compete with others for the chance to date and marry our special someone.
Some of us are more competitively driven than others. There’s a special rush to winning! While others don’t like the feeling of being compared or competing with someone else. They haven’t experienced the good feeling which can be wrapped up in the art of competition.
It’s something we learn to enjoy or hate when we are children. Positive parenting encourages it and is a role model of productive competition. It’s important to remember the lessons we’re teaching as we watch and react to our children when they are playing sports. How we behave and relate to competition speaks volumes to them.
Those who enjoy competing, understand the beneficial art of competition which can enhance our self esteem. It’s one of the best ways to learn from our opponent, especially when we lose. Competition brings out our opponent’s strengths and can pinpoint our weaknesses and the areas where we can improve.
We all know someone who has moved the love of competition from the fun beneficial endeavor to something much darker. Someone who’s desire to compete has taken on frightening proportions and has moved into malevolent behavior. The person who’s entire life is about competing and winning. It becomes all consuming and effects even their loving relationships.
What are the signs to watch for in “competition gone bad”? Here’s a few.
1. Putting too much emotion into the loss or win. Losses enrages them. This bleeds over into their personal relationships with ugly mood swings, violent behavior, and the mistreatment of others. Winning can turn into addictive behavior such as betting. Addiction to betting can rob us of our financial and emotion lives.
2. Competition becomes the only vehicle which triggers the emotions of happiness, well being, and self fulfillment. When someone can’t relate to another individual without the need to compete with them. This includes their spouses, children, co-workers, and friends. It damages their loving relationships and ends up isolating them from their connection to their friends and family. Their loved ones get fed up with everything being a competition.
3. Putting too much emphasis on the competition and not on the experience and the lessons wrapped up in it. Someone who has slipped into this self defeating mode will be critical of anyone they believe could beat them or overly verbally abusive when their perceived opponent loses. They are consumed with winning at all costs. This presents itself as bad sportsmanship. Cheating to win, rubbing it in to an extreme when they win, or being mental or physical abusive when they lose.
Competition can be fun and filled with learning experiences. It can teach us how to do something better. It can lead to emotional, scientific and technological breakthroughs which have a positive impact on our lives. It can be a fun way to enrich our lives and improve our self esteem. When it goes from fun and life enriching to the opposite, it’s time to address it. Fix it before it moves into dangerous waters where only a professional can lead the way back to a more safe and fun place for competition to reside.
- When the going gets tough …. (translatescotland.com)
- Sports: Become an Emotional Master Athlete (psychologytoday.com)
- Defining Self Esteem (1amme.wordpress.com)