Confessing my competitive spirit.
An email hit my inbox today from an Anusara yoga teacher I follow, Hillary Rubin. In it, she confessed. She talked about not studying with her own teacher for about a year, assisting him again recently, and realizing through that time spent with him how disconnected she had become from her own heart.
Do you do this?
I think we all do. And don’t let the “touchy-feely” sense of this turn you off out there, guys. We can all become disconnected, no matter how tough, manly, I AM WOMAN, or I’ve-got-it-all-together we are.
It’s up to us to call ourselves out on that. And it’s also up to us to recognize that we have teachers in all capacities. Our kids. Our coaches. Friends. Neighbors. Pastors. Experiences. Our pets. Teachers. Or perhaps someone who’s just been randomly kind to us.
So here’s my disconnect: dealing with my competitive spirit. Competitiveness is necessary, yes? It spins us into becoming better. It’s a kind of “stress” that we need in order to grow, to step up, to take it to the next level. It’s seldom ever alone, though. In diagnosing psychological disorders, we call this a “comorbidity”; in other words, when one thing is prevalent, it usually is coming hand-in-hand with something else to complicate it further. With competitiveness, it’s attitude. Ego, maybe, as well. And all three of those things – competitiveness, attitude, and ego – can be extremely positive or…not so much.
With mine, sometimes I feel really icky. Trying something physically, then giving up part way through the activity and not really giving it everything I’ve got because I know I won’t be able to beat that person or even worse, I won’t even be able to keep up with her.
I just went from being super healthy, trying really hard, to self-defeating attitude and bleh, bleh, bleh.
So what about that good competitiveness? The one in which we say things like, “I felt really good doing that activity. I do realize that I should have pulled more weight, however. I’ll do that next chance.” Re-evaluate, reapply, and then bring people up around you. Cheer them on. Be happy, genuinely happy, for one another’s success. Everyone’s success looks, feels, is different. Constructively talk about stuff with each other; be a good friend. There’s a photographer who I follow online, and she has a “Critique My Photo” post every so often in which the commenters absolutely may NOT leave a critique that simply says, “Good work. Beautiful.” That’s not a critique, it’s a comment. It didn’t say much. How can you help someone grow if you never really say anything?
This week’s challenge? Work it out with a good friend or your partner to constructively critique something in each other (even if this is just a conversation with yourself!). Discover how to use the positive parts of competitiveness to be a great foundation for growth, not just sitting in the, “I’m better than you” seat or the “I can’t <insert here whatever that is>” attitude. That’s not going to take good care of you, your heart, or your spirit one iota.
It’s going to help you listen better, see things in others and yourself differently, and the best part? It’s going to make you be awesome.
Wanna know about our previous two challenges? Real simple: 1.) one week of no complaining (you may make observations, but not nag or complain – and COME ON you know the difference. Don’t insult your own intelligence.), and 2.) one week of slowing down by doing these two things: breathing slowly, and eating thankfully and mindfully (no arguing or stressful conversations while eating. It wreaks havoc on your digestion!).
Rock it out, people!!
Oh, Mary – I LOOOVE this post. I think it’s a little like taking a faithful leap into the unknown, but you do it because you know it will be beautiful in the end. A little like an itch of change that you know is coming, but all the while wondering where it will take you. You so very eloquently describe the process of finding oneself…
totally agree! i love this, “you know it will beautiful in the end.” perfectly said. :)