Monthly Archives: February 2016

On Overcoming Rivals

On Overcoming Rivals

I never thought of myself as a competitive person because I saw how much more competitive many others were than me.  I never cared to win much at sports or other “see who is best” events.  Maybe it was because the effects of losing didn’t last long or I’d just rather not dive to the ground just to keep a ball in the air.  Regardless, I did engaged in my own competitions from time to time, but they weren’t always so sportly structured.

Often my rivals were simply my friends in school.  We were all trying our best to get good grades and we were all in the same boat when it came to intelligence, so it was often a close call.  I only had to win by a few inches, not cram for a whole mile.

Other rivals were family members of a similar age vying for attention or adoration from the adults, which we were never actually starved for.

These competitions were constant throughout childhood.  As I got older and became aware of these behaviors, I realized that the scars I was accumulating and causing were not longer a result of healthy competition.  It was down right mean.

Though all of this I always thought of myself as a nice person.  I was at heart a people pleaser to the point where I put other people’s wants above my own.  But I wasn’t fully a nice person.  I inflicted social pain on others when they didn’t even know there was a competition.  I felt triumphant when I finally felt better than a specific person.

Then I looked back and realized that they were just being themselves, reacting to the world, looking for a friend.  Here I was jealous of their natural advantages, needing to prove myself when my friend just stood there defeated by my behavior.

Its been over 10 years since I had this realization.  I’ve since made new friends who were so beyond my own situation in life that I felt no need to compete.  We are simply not comparable because we play life in completely different arenas with completely different rules.  We can simply talk about life and try to understand each other without one-upping.

I still encounter my old rivals, often with compassion and guilt over having “beat” them when they were already too far down to fight.  Others, I just avoid, having never settled the score.

Commitment

Commitment

Commitment is one of those states of being that you are only aware of when it accompanies feeling stuck.  I don’t have a choice, this world will take away some big things I care about if I don’t conform.  No, I wouldn’t lose it all I would just trade one set of problems (slave to the system) for another (being homeless and poor).  Luckily I am smart and have a more comfortable stuck-state than many people, but still the cloud looms over me at times.

The bright side isn’t in some foreign country or with a different group of friends.  I’ve been there and I’ve met them.  I am still me no matter where I go or what I do.  I should be grateful for that fact that I have had the opportunity to encounter myself in such a vast variety of existence, but I feel a sense of normalcy about it because it is my life and it was me doing what made the most sense at the time.

So I’m finally here.  At that place where there is nothing to discover in my favorite things.  I have no choice but to live for the small excitements.  The little pieces I hadn’t noticed before.  The personalities I previously overlooked.  The benefits of ongoing love and attachments lingering down the same streets as usual.

I’ve been in a place similar to this many times when my dreams abandoned me because I accomplished them.  I asked similar questions like, “have I not aimed high enough?” “Could I have done more?”  The answers are never clear.  All I can do is make new dreams from the drive left over from the old dreams.  That means mapping out a road leading me right back where I am now.  All that work and emotion focusing on what I don’t have to get me what I want, only to get it and be right back here feeling empty.

But the goals are forming, soon they will be full fledged dreams pumping my heart so I can run in these circles all because the sun keeps rising and I enjoy my days to have a standard of comfort.  Off to work I go, I may as well rise through it…