This is probably the only space I’ll ever feel comfortable talking about this.
I know I’m not the only one, but that doesn’t normalize it for me. Competitiveness is such an awful feeling for me. I don’t believe it releases positive vibes or makes me a better person, as some studies/people rationalize.
Instead, it makes me feel a little sick, and I start to dislike the person in question. Instead of feeling happy for the person, I get upset with myself, and with themselves and feel the intense need to overthrow them. In any way.
The worst part is, I understand exactly what’s happening, I can acknowledge that my following thought process is wrong… But I don’t seem to have any control over it.
Here’s one example of my competitiveness:
In school there was always this one girl I was very competitive against. I’m not sure if she knew, I didn’t even dislike her at all. In fact, I quite admired her. Ever since I was fourteen, my grades started improving a whole lot. But this girl was always ahead. There was even one time- she beat me in English, my best subject. I was so incredibly upset, I cried for a day, and resolved to never ever lose to her again. For the next two years, I spent every conscious moment determined to beat her. Determined to get better scores than her. And now that I think back on it, I was almost too obsessed. I downplayed my hours of studying (I studied till past 1am, alternating between cups of coffee and tea. To give you some context, I was fifteen.) As this happened over that period before our national exams, I grew very competitive with some other students. They probably didn’t even know. On the outside, I seemed to be a totally slack, heck care kid who was destined for failing. Little did they know, I was constantly scheming on how I could beat so-and-so for each specific.
In the end, I did succeed a little bit. I beat all of those people I was competitive against. On results day, when I got my scores, I knew I had done extremely well. I had done very well by anyone’s standards. Yet, I wasn’t happy because I worked hard, I was happy because I won. And that itself was a sick feeling.
I thought that it was all over now, no more competitiveness against those people, but I still feel it, a growing ache in my body.
The need to be superior.
Probably because I am incredibly insecure though I don’t show it. I think to myself “So-and-so did this now. And she’s better than you. Who cares about last year now?
You still lost.
And now that I think about it, it’s true. I lost. When you’re a competitive person, you always, always think that there’s a finish line. The truth is that there will be no finish line when you are competitive. There will always be something that you need to beat people at. It never ends. It’s fucking exhausting. Most of the times, I’m like, “
Stop. I don’t wanna do this. I never signed up for this.
Occasionally I get confidence flashes where I feel comfortable with myself as a whole, but it doesn’t last long at all. But those are the moments that I need to hold onto and remind myself that ease is possible.
This quote by Amy Poehler is incredibly relevant.: “That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again… ‘Good for her! Not for me.‘”
So here is the list of things we need to remember when we feel that competitive feeling creeping up on us:
- Remember: Those moments of confidence we’ve ever experienced, even if they are only flashes, because they remind us that self-ease is possible.
- Focus: On your dreams, your future, what you want to be. Imagine a world without them. Remind yourself you are not doing these things to win, but rather to acquire more knowledge to be better at your future jobs/tasks, to be stronger for yourself, and yourself only.
- Erase: If you’re active on social media, and they are: Unfollow, remove, block them. Or avoid looking at their posts. It helps sometimes to pretend that they don’t exist at all.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep adding to this list.
It may seems so fabulous to be good at things, but if you’re unhappy all the time, then what even is the fucking point? Take heart though, you’re not alone in this.