There is a phrase common to us in society that talks about ‘healthy competition’. What is this competition though, and how is it truly affecting our health?
Competition starts with comparison, or perceiving ourselves as less or more than another. There are myriad reasons why we start to feel less or more than those around us and it begins very young.
When we are born we are whole and complete & everything that is for us to be is naturally inside us. We are allowed to just sit and be – and in fact are marvelled for our beauty and stillness as we lie, sleep and simply just be. As we grow the ideals and beliefs of those around us, if we take them on, start to dictate how we behave. We often learn from our observations and those around us that this natural and innate way of being is actually not the norm, and we most often lack the reflection of what it is to remain true to ourselves for our whole lives.
We get reflected that we need to say things or do things in a certain way in order to be accepted, and we step away from the knowing that we are complete already with nothing outside of us that we are required to gain to be and function successfully in this life.
This paragraph in itself may seem very foreign to those reading it, because it is so far from how we are now conditioned to be, and how our world operates.
Once we have departed from the knowing of who we are, and our completeness, we look for anything outside of us that is going to allow us to feel whole again – but this will never in truth occur as a search external to us never replaces the magic and beauty we actually are inside.
Comparison and competition is one way for us to search externally. In the striving to be better than another we can create goals, attain them and feel that we are better within ourselves. Likewise, if someone is doing worse than us it makes us feel ok as we are a step ‘up’ in some way.
Competition has become second nature, if not first nature to many and is breeding the disharmonious society we live in. It has become normal, and is vastly unnatural.
How does competition affect our bodies?
Competition allows us to say yes to sports, movements and careers that ask us to compromise our bodies. For example teens who participate in sport and train 5 mornings a week before going to school for a long day – in addition to all the pressures that school currently has, not to mention the possible turmoil of the surrounding relationships teenagers find themselves in today. What effect does this have on the body?
Likewise in pushing ourselves to extraordinary lengths to obtain ‘top marks’ or get the grades needed to please our parents, or get into the university course that will get us the most secure job also takes a toll on our bodies.
There are ways we can exercise, study and work that do not require push or compromise, and yet this has evidently become the norm.
We wonder why our young are eating sugar and consuming energy drinks like there is no tomorrow, or withdrawing and becoming hugely anxious. Is it any surprise with what they are bombarded with in just their daily living requirements? This is just one example of the many, many effects competition has and is having on our health.
It’s fairly clear that competition creates disharmony, so what do we get out of staying in competition? It keeps us in the constant search of betterment and attaining goals that in truth do not better us. It allows us to not feel the reason we entered into competition in the first place – the fact that we felt hurt and not met for who we are innately.
How do we stop the ill effect that competition has on all of us? It requires each of us first of all to recognise the competition we have said ‘yes’ to and come back to the place where we actually feel settled within ourselves. This process can take some time, as it asks us to completely appreciate who we are – without the accolades, awards, titles, PHDs and positions that we have accumulated.
The appreciation comes from feeling ourselves as we were as a baby – the joy and wisdom we so naturally shared with our eyes, our expression and our laughter. We still carry this magic inside of us today, and it is all that we need to be.
When we feel this in ourselves, we reflect to others, and especially our young that there is a way to be that does not need to push, drive and ruin our bodies in order to be something or achieve.
This is a responsibility we all carry, if we can see the world we live in, the state of our health, and wish it to change.