I am not really a competitive person, unless it’s with myself…that is, until it comes to others doing well where I am not but really want to be. It’s a pride thing. For instance, when I see other writers I know who are having any degree of luck while my book sales seem to be in a “dry spell,” I want to be happy for them, but I’m secretly thinking, “My books are just as good. It’s not fair!” (even though it mostly comes down to my getting lazy, which is obviously my own burden).
This sounds a lot like jealousy, but it is also prideful.
And then I witnessed something that should change my entire outlook, and it does, except my human flaws are going to cause me to forget this from time to time, and so hopefully posting it here will help me remember a little better.
A couple weeks ago, our little one had her class end of year party, and we went. The kids were playing a rather intense round of musical chairs and our girl was the second one out. She didn’t get upset, but immediately took her place on the outside while she and the other child out became spectators. The other girl was chanting the name of one student, so ours joined in. This was sweet as it showed they were not sore losers and were able to cheer for someone else. After a few more kids joined them on the sidelines, our sweet girl began to chant, “Everyone! Everyone!” to which one child still circling the chairs yelled, “Not everyone can win, you know!”
Not everyone can win. It’s true, and a lesson I want her to understand; however, I loved her reply, “Well, I know, but I just wish they could.” Even though she was already out, with no opportunity to get back in the game, she wanted to see everyone else do well. That was where she was finding her joy in that moment. It’s easy to scoff at the successes of others when we aren’t feeling exceptionally successful ourselves. It is equally hard to cheer others on when we feel we’ve lost our way or our opportunity.
She went on the play other games, and won a few. That’s usually the way of life. You know that old saying, “You win some, you lose some,” has some merit. When we lose, we need to realize there will be other games. So go ahead and cheer for the successes of others. One day they will also cheer for yours, and you will feel much better if you can focus on and take joy in the good.