Hi, my name is Deena and I am competitive.
It’s just a little problem.
Not to the point of obnoxious screaming matches or fist fights over a bad call type competitive.
But the type of competitive that losing a family cornhole tournament makes me want to keep playing and playing and playing until I win. Or simply not playing a game anymore because I am not good at it. Why play if I don’t have a chance to win? Just for the fun of it? HA, that’s lame!
I am pretty good at covering it up with a silly joke about how much I hate games I am not good at, example A: Cornhole, but on the inside I am throwing that same screaming fit my 6 year old does when he loses any game against his brother. But for whatever reason, I still want to play. I still want to compete. In ANYTHING. I just like the competition.
So it’s an internal problem. I like to think I can control my big external reactions and “keep my cool,” but inside I am totally freaking out! It burns me up and I can’t control it, I literally can not, not care. Do you get that? Or am I totally alone here?
Let’s take a step back for second, this internal battle is a little bigger than just competition. I actually hate when I can’t control ANY emotion I have. It’s the same reason I don’t like to watch movies that will make me cry or make me scared. It’s why I don’t like to talk about things that will make me upset or make my voice quiver. It’s not that I don’t want to open up, it’s that I know it will have an emotional impact on me that I can’t control and I hate that! I don’t get mad about the fact that I feel the emotion, I just get mad that I can’t control it. That I physically can’t hold back the fear or sadness no matter how bad I want to. So maybe I have a control issue? I don’t know.
Anyway, let’s go back to the competitive problem. It is a real emotion that arises in me that I can’t control. I can’t not experience it, it’s just there. I know that I can control how I deal with those emotions, so I don’t see the need to start a physical fight or throw that tempter tantrum, but that doesn’t mean I am not battling it internally.
It is ALWAYS there.
So ask me then how I am doing since my kids have started play sports these last couple of years.
Well if this is any indication, I told my son I don’t think he can play sports anymore after his team suffered a heartbreaking loss after being up 9-0 this weekend.
“What, why?” he asked.
“Because it is way too hard on mommy!”
Of course I was joking…
But truthfully, it is so hard to watch your kiddo lose when you are a competitive person. Again, it is just in me. I can’t turn it off. But when you are competing yourself, at least you have somewhere to channel that emotion. I could play harder, run faster, do more, not give up. But as the parent, there is not a single thing I can do.
Nothing, not a single thing.
I have absolutely NO CONTROL.
So what do I do?
Well, I went up to him after that game when I saw him fighting back the tears and instead of whispering “I am so proud of you, you did your best” (for the record I did tell him that later) I simply put my arm around him and said, “It sucks doesn’t it buddy?” He looked up and smiled through tear filled eyes as he nodded his little head. I think he was surprised by my honesty and me telling him it was ok to be mad, frustrated or sad. He may only be 7 (almost 8) but I could see it in his face. He has my “problem”, he wants to win but he also doesn’t want to let those tears fall.
He is his mama’s son.
I have to let him play. I have to let him compete. It’s in him already.
That means this mama has to learn to let go. It’s not going to be easy, in fact I know it is going to be a struggle for me every single game. And even worse as the games get more and more serious as he gets older. (Let’s be honest, I am screwed! When these kids get into high school I am going to be a terrible mess!) But I guess this is just another example in parenthood where I thought I would be teaching my kids something and instead am having to learn more about myself.
Some people might not relate, and that is ok. I know that competitiveness is not a trait in every person and I think that is part of God’s plan. He puts different traits and characteristics in each of us for a reason and I believe they can all be used for good. So I will be choosing to set a good example for my boys as I watch them compete and handle both the wins and the losses with grace.
And that just may be my biggest competition yet.
We love to compete! Why? I don’t know, it is just in us.
As crazy as it sounds, even though it makes me battle internally and there is always the risk of losing, it is still so exciting to compete.
Plus, there is always the chance to win.
And let’s be honest, winning it just darn right fun!