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 works towards an outcome where we are deemed better or worse than another, and in observation of society, it is everywhere.
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, we see that this changes and the expectations shift.
As we grow, we can learn from 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 can step away from the knowing that we are complete already, with no concern for who may be better or worse than us.
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 pushing ourselves in 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 all this pressure have on a growing 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. This all can take a toll on our bodies through the stress and unnatural environment we can force ourselves into, in order to make the outcome happen.
There are ways we can exercise, study and work with clear direction and purpose that do not require this push or compromise, and yet this does not appear to be 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? The constant drive to be better, or feeling like they’re not able to meet the mark, all has an impact.
How do we stop the ill effect that competition has on us? And not allow it to do the same to our offsrping? It requires each of us first of all to recognise the comparison and competition that has become a normal part of our lives. We also need to completely appreciate who we are – without the accolades, awards, titles, PHDs and positions that we have accumulated. When we do this, we can feel much more settled, without the need to push to obtain something to make us whole, complete or what someone else may desire.
The appreciation of who we are 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 can reflect to those around us that there is a way to be that does not need to push, drive or exhaust ourselves in order to be something or achieve.
Our settlement allows another to feel their own, and the importance of this cannot be underestimated.