Compete But Don't Compare
"On your mark, get set, go!" The sound of the blank cartridge fired echoes across the entire stadium. "Looks like Obujinae and Kendrick are outta the race folks. That looks like it's gonna leave a mark and I'm not talking bout just in the record books. How unfortunate for those two vets. Guess they will have to wait till next year's try outs". Screeches the raspy voice over the PA. None other than the legend himself, Hank Graft. He's old as dirt, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more loyal, knowledgeable, decent man that knows the art of "casting sports".
I remember when I was just a wee tadpole and Pop would bring me out to this old dinosaur of a stadium. It's a wonder it's still standing? Competition! It’s only been around for a gazillion years. Thumbing through old copies of national geographic the other day, I just happened to stumble across an article of an early sport played by the Mayans. They named it Pok-a-tok. Using a solid rubber ball which was about the size of a basketball, teams battled one another in a way that reminded the people of ancient Mayan battles and legends. Apparently it was a sport with fierce competition.
If we were to peer a bit further, we would soon discover a plethora of competitive sports. We will mention one other that has always fascinated me and those were the Gladiators. History tells us that hungry animals were often utilized to compete against one another. But it wasn't uncommon for a lion, bear, rhino or other beast to go head to head with a mortal man.
Hopefully, I've done a decent job in setting the stage with these examples and illustrations to provoke the competitor in you. Perhaps as you read the above text, chances are, you may have experienced a spike in your adrenals? Especially those of you who have participated in competitive sports.
Excuse me a moment while I slip into something a little more transparent.
I’ve never been much of an athlete myself. Well, at least not until after a few years of being married. It wasn't until then, that I began competing with my wife. My greatest fan, my cheerleader. The one who always had my back, and a rib. It came subtly. Both of us coming from dysfunctional upbringing encouraged us to work on self-development and create a better version of ourselves. One that relieved us of so much baggage, affording us the opportunity to live a more quality life.
My helpmate was quick on the draw and needless to say, entirely committed to this process. Willing to do whatever was necessary, everyday in order to create the person she desired to become as well as the lifestyle to match.
I, on the other hand, had more excuses than degrees on a thermometer. I’d commit when it was necessary. You know, like when I blew it. And that was quite often. Sure, there was some noticeable change, but nothing really stuck. Not for long anyways. In hindsight, it was as a result of me only ever modifying my behaviors, and that only led to perpetuating my already existent narcissistic “tendencies”.
As I began to, like for real, witness the metamorphosis taking place in her life, witnessing the favor, the opportunities, her overall mental and spiritual growth “something”, inside of me began to create narratives. These were more along the lines of horror stories and all of them ended with me disliking who she was becoming, instead of recognizing that it was myself that I really hated. Not long after I created these balls of negative energy, the misdirected hostility began to seep. I will spare you in illustrating the pages that followed and just skip over to the epilogue, since my goal here is to write a blog, not a novel.
In conclusion, looking back objectively, we were both provided the same opportunity. We started at the same line. We were issued the same tools and resources. We decided on arriving at the same end results, and that was to live a better life together and raise our children in the reverse order as we had been raised. Unspoken healthy competition was certainly in attendance and perfectly ok. It wasn’t until I began comparing that dirtied and smeared my lens.
My insecurities, self-esteem and lack of healthy identity came at me like a tsunami. I was not emotionally equipped, prepared or knew how to appropriately navigate through these waters resulting in years of inner as well as outer turmoil.
This was never to her about winning. Getting a trophy that read, “I’m better than Robert”. Her only competing was with herself and it never even struck her to compare. As a result, one day the butterfly came forth.
I’ll leave with you this simple, final thought.
Compete ( but don't you dare) Compare
The price you'll pay in the end is way to high. The very thing that you desired, 'to win', will not be your reward. "When you play stupid games. you win stupid prizes".