Friday, February 20, 2009

Are You a Competitor?

Do you compete? I mean, compete at board games, bowling, in discussions or for relationships? Have you ever competed for a man? A position? A friend? The attention of a family member? Do you determine to fight til the end for it? Do you find yourself fighting for the most definitive conclusion in discussions?

If you do, will you please share with me why? I really want to know. What makes you this way and why do you do it? I was told a while back that it was because of insecurity. I can see that, but I'm not convinced that that is the only reason why. Maybe, if you are a competitor, you have a good reason why you do it and it has nothing to do with insecurity. If you could help me here, I think I might be able to navigate life a little easier sometimes.

I am not a competitor. In fact, if there are any signs of competition, I will leave. I will bow out. I will do my best to become invisible. It's just not in me. I have felt like, if things were worth having, they were worth fighting for. I would say there is some truth to that, but not when it comes to the kind of adult competition that I see regularly.

I've never been one to fight for a guy. Never. In fact, I usually dated the guys that other girls weren't really into. I don't compete well. I never fought for friends either. I didn't keep a big circle of very close friends because of it too. Angel was my best friend for a long time and though I had lots of other friends, I would have to compete with other friends to go out with them. With Angel, she was with me. I didn't have to compete for her. We were alright.

Now, as an adult, I still find competition all around me and I still refuse to join in, but now, unlike then, it is conscious. I purposefully walk away. When I see it coming, the feelings of rising up and fighting against it turn in my stomach and I want so badly to put my foot down and say, "NO this is what *I* want and I'm going to do what I have to do to get it." That doesn't feel right though. It doesn't sit well with me and I'd like to think that I'm just not that selfish. I don't feel like I'm following Christ's example with that feeling in my stomach and I always shun away from it.

Shunning away doesn't make me feel good either. In fact, I feel terrible because I lose out on things that are important to me.

If there is anything I've learned throughout the years, it is my worth. I know who I am - I know my insecurities. I know what moves me. I know my strengths. I know me. I'm comfortable with me too. I'm not afraid of who I am. There may be a relationship that I sincerely want to cultivate more, but I don't because I have to compete for it. For me, I know that I'm worth getting to know and worth being in that relationship, but if the other person doesn't see that worth then I don't push. I've found that that can come across as arrogant. I've been known to say that it's ok if you don't like me. I don't mean that I'm not likable and that I don't want you to like me. It's that I know who I am and I'm not going to change for you to like me. If you don't, it's ok. Some people just don't like other people. I can accept that you don't like me for who I am. I'd never be able to accept it if I constantly tried to be who you wanted me to be and you didn't like me.

Does that make sense?

Justin isn't a competitor either, at least not when it comes to relationships. I'm fairly certain that his is for different reasons though, and I know that he suffers because of it. He doesn't compete for attention or time, and if he even conjures up in his mind that there is a glimpse of competition, he seems to assume he's already failed and won't even attempt it. For some, it's the rejection thing, I think. I can understand that!

It's the why some compete so fearlessly that I don't understand. Why others have to suffer because you just want to win - you just want to be the best and to have it your way and to control the situation. It's manipulation. You may not see it that way, but it is and it hurts people. Being the prettiest or the smartest or the least sinful or the happiest or most involved - none of that wins you a prize at the end. It's the grace, the mercy, the giving, the sharing, the putting others before yourself that presses you more toward that mark.

Trust me, even when the game is over and you return to being a good sport, those of us that didn't compete with you still remember what you did.


~* N *~ said...

I'm not a competitor in all the things you described. I just don't care to do it. To me it's a fight not worth my time lol!

I do compete when it comes to something that I should. As in games and such. But I'm not a "fight till the end" type. I'll try, but if I fail, oh well.

I do like to compete a bit when it comes to working out. I never say anything to the other person, but I'll try to do just a bit more, push myself a bit farther because I need the motivation and lack it on my own. I'd never say things like comparing the results and such.

I do hate the parent competition. To have the cutest, smartest, best kid.... that stuff drives me nuts.

Kim Peri said...

Competition is something BORN in truly a God-given part of who they are. The mis use is either insecurity or immaturity....not really KNOWING why it was given to them.

People don't bother me, though. Unless they are manipulative. I hate that...I might just have to call that out.

My weakness would be in the NON-competing arena. I, like N, don't care a lot of the time. I am a person that doesn't require a lot of relationships. I am somewhat...okay...a LOT self-centered and really require MUCH alone time....that is my weakness.

Christine said...

I think if the world didn't have competition, we would have a lot more suffering. We wouldn't have the best doctors, the best engineers, the best inventors...the best anything. Competition is just what fuels some people to go beyond what is comfortable, go beyond what takes no effort.

I think I am somewhat of a competitive person, particularly in the areas that matter to me. I don't have to be the prettiest in the room, but I'd darn well better be the one my husband is looking at. If another hot young thing starts making eyes at him, I could take the attitude of "if he is going to leave, he'll leave"...but even if I take that attitude, I'll be in red heels and a miniskirt. I'm just not willing to take a backseat in life in the things that matter to me.

Honestly I can't imagine that's hurtful to others. It's not so much competitiveness as territorialness.

And on some level, I'm not sure that checking out of the game entirely is morally better than existing in it. It seems like it is its own way of being the "best." It depends on how it's done--in humility is one thing, but in a morally aloof matter is entirely another thing. Does that make sense? I *am not* writing this in a judgy tone, either--just sort of thinking out loud.

Mandy said...

What I hear more that you ladies are talking about seems to me to be more drive or personal goals than competition. That I can understand, and no, I suppose that I don't think that all competition is wrong.

Now, I have personal goals of keeping my husband happy and how to do that, but I don't have to push someone else down to do that. Know what I mean? I have drive to be better at things, but not to outdue someone else, purely to outdue them.

For example. Let's say this purely for saying. I'm not saying that I am very "green" or that Christine doesn't have the desire to be "green" and Jane doesn't even exist, ok. It's for an example. Let's say:
Mandy is an earthy person, very much into being green.
Jane is an earthy person, very much into being green.
Mandy and Jane would naturally be friends.
Christine really isn't into being green but she wants, for whatever reason, no one really knows, to be friends with Jane, so she gets really into being green. And, she purposefully keeps Mandy and Jane apart. At times when Mandy and Jane would naturally be together, like maybe going to a community meeting, Christy goes to Jane and asks to go to the community meeting (that's not even in her community) and is all over her throughout the entire meeting. Any time that Mandy tries to talk to Jane, Christy is all over it, trying to outdue Mandy.

Or how about this:
Mandy and Christy are sisters. Jane marries our brother. Christy never lets Mandy be around Jane alone and when the 3 of them are together, Christy is all over Jane the entire time. This is done to the extent that Mandy is never able to cultivate a relationship with Jane. Christy is always trying to outdue Mandy when Jane is around. Oh then add that when Jane isn't around, Christy acts perfectly normal around Mandy, but when Jane is around, Christy is almost an enemy to Mandy.

Those are some examples of what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about playing Mario Cart and trying to win. :) But then again, I might not like that either. :)

God's Blessings Photography said...

I hear ya on this post. We live in a competitive world. It has it's positives and negatives, but when you get down to the nitty gritty--one has to realize if their actions are hurting others. Some actions are intentional and some not. Bottom line is we have to be careful with every area of our lives--because it affects others. We don't live to ourselves and we don't die to ourselves. Thanks for the post--it definitely made me think!

Christine said...

Hmm, this has got me thinking!

I wonder if we are more in agreement than it would seem. Competition purely for the sake of feeling superior, IMO, is silly, but competition because you truly love the thing is not quite the same. But I don't equate drive to compete with the need to feel superior, I suppose? Like I think Michael Phelps swims because he loves swimming, not because he's like "y'all are fat lazy bums, suckahs!!

Kim Peri said...

Sorry, it takes some time to read your last couple of I have been here a couple times today amidst interruption.

I just read your new has also got me to thinking like everyone are my $ .02

I think, because you DO know who you are, you just have to be confident that your value is noticed. I have never really thought of my closest friends and their relationships with their other closest friends as a competition or a detriment to my value to them. I guess I have always considered that what I bring to the table and the memories we make are unique enough to hold that bond secure.

But mixing personalities can be annoying. Some people are just "one-up-ers". It helps them feel inclusive or validated. But, the person being competed for (Jane) has to see that, too.

It would not be the competer but the competition that would trouble me. I would have to decide if fostering a relationship with someone who does not value me like I know I deserve, would be worth my time. But, I may be wired different....I don't seek many relationships.

I guess, if the relationship was worth fostering, I would set up times ALONE with that person so we could just enjoy what we have in common without interruption. Memories and special bonds built in even those short times alone can carry you through the times when you feel you are pushed to compete.

It is hard to not want to change others annoying, rude or ignorant behavior, but...unfortunately, the only person I can can control is myself...(and my husband on occassion. lol)

Wishing you some happy friendships!