Beyond competitiveness is a place where we can accept and embrace our wholeness with compassion.
I’ve been known to be competitive at times as a defensive reaction.
It’s not necessarily a word that I would want to say about myself but I do recognise that I can turn things into a competition.
I will never forget this ridiculous example one weekend when the kids were small. My husband and I ended up having a discussion about how many nappies we had both changed and who’s turn it was to do the next one. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?What drives defensive competitive behaviour?
I get competitive when I feel I’ve got something to prove.
I’m not talking the kind of competitive that's healthy, going for a shared goal, collaborative competition.
I mean the kind of competitive that is because I'm reacting to something.
For example, when I’m scared and I hold the belief that I need to prove that I’m enough, I become increasingly competitive with those around me. I need to be better than the rest.
This notion of mine is fundamentally flawed because if I accept myself, and show up as perfectly imperfect, there are no hoops to jump through!Can we accept ourselves as we are?
I’ve been reading Kristin Neff, Self Compassion and was taken by one of the exercises in it and wanted to share it with you.
The Exercise is called Seeing Yourself as You Are and it asks you to...
- List five culturally valued traits for which you’re above average
- List five culturally valued traits for which you’re just average
- List five culturally valued traits for which you’re below average.
We’re surrounded by performance cultures that encourage us to strive to achieve outstanding results. These assessments are likely to rate both what we achieve and how we do it.
They reinforce this myth that to be outstanding and receive the performance related pay that we desire, we need to be above average at everything. Unwittingly it has us own the parts of ourselves where we excel, and pushes into the shadow the aspects where we are below average.At home
When we come from the place of needing to prove our worth, we create unnecessary competition.
Think about the last argument you had with a loved one. Did you find yourself needing to prove your point of view? Do you get caught up in conversations about who's turn it is to take the rubbish out or who's cooking dinner tonight?The solution?
The only solution is to embrace our wholeness.
I remember co-leading a session with senior leaders and my co-leader turned to the group and said, “Vanessa’s rubbish at detail.” As soon as she said it I felt my muscles clench and an instant desire to fight back.
I took a breath and suddenly laughed. There was absolutely no way I could argue with this statement. It wasn’t personal. I am rubbish with the small print. I said, “You know what, that’s true and knowing and owning that fact helps me develop strategies to mitigate it.”
It’s why I love working with strengths. We begin to look at ourselves through the lens of appreciative enquiry and from that place we can accept not just where we’re brilliant but also where we’re not.
If this post resonates with you, why not try the exercise and consider if there are aspects of you that are harder to take ownership of.
Being human means we are average in lots of ways.
Accepting it makes the journey of aliveness much more fun!