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What is competition doing to you?

Updated on August 11, 2015
FitfunNflashy profile image

Mom of 3 that has adopted a new lifestyle. I am fit, fine, fashionable and turning 40. With this milestone ahead, I'm blogging for fun.

Fueled by emotion

Life has fueled an insatiable need and desire for better material goods whether it is a dwelling, ornate possessions or any other semblance of attained wealth. We want some cumulative tangible expression of our efforts; a token of our wealth to show others. Attaining a higher level of success becomes our objective. Succeeding becomes our mission and we become consumed with boasting about our achievements. When we see someone else doing better, that person becomes a rival. Suddenly, you are both striving for the same things as one another. Competition becomes a conductor for resentment. It breeds animosity. It is the lighter fluid of hate.

It is very easy to convince yourself that you are not trying to be competitive…that you naturally like putting forth your best effort. You are just exhibiting behavior consistent with a motivated individual. You are a perfectionist at heart. You are a million things, but what you are not is a competitor. You hold firmly to the idea that you are just inspired to reach new goals.

It is very difficult to maintain a joyful disposition when you watch someone else achieve your goals at a slightly quicker pace. For example, with the goal of weight loss, it becomes challenging to maintain indifference when you can’t lose the first ten pounds, but your friend’s weight is melting away like butter kept out in a hot kitchen. It is hard not to be envious as she parades around her new physique. Watching her buy new clothes as she discards most of her old wardrobe feels like she is mocking you. When she politely offers you her hand-me-downs you become secretly enraged. What is she saying? Is she implying that you are not making any progress? Is she suggesting that you are incapable of reaching your goal? Is this her snide way of shaming you?

When we have been insulted; whether direct or indirectly, we are automatically defensive. The embedded idea of being socially nice is rejected and a more damaging attitude prevails. Suddenly you become the master of indirect aggression. You are the poster child for disdain. You will not like this woman, this friend, this peer.

Backhanded compliments and critiques of appearance are meant to reduce your “friend” to an acceptable level. Subconsciously she has become your opponent. Instead of admiring this woman for her strength and resolve; you would rather abhor her efforts. Developing the upper hand becomes more important. Conversations become more calculated. Communication is an opportunity to affirm your suspicions that she is being inconsiderate. Your tone is different. There is an underlying hint of cattiness that exists when you talk. Nonverbal cues suggest that you are no longer committed to being objective. You start to undress her with your eyes more than ever looking for some indisputable evidence that she is not better. You frown when she smiles. You cringe when she talks. You encourage others to be spiteful. Every word is now a deliberate attempt to hurt her. Even to your own ears your words are petty, but no more insulting than the way in which she mocks you. When she walks by, you use this time to politely suggest to your audience of mean girls, that her jeans are perhaps too snug for her body. You state rather loudly, that roomier jeans are a better fit for an ample bottom, meaning her ample bottom. When she changes into her workout clothes for her daily run at lunch, subjecting you to an obviously smaller chest in her sports bra, you proclaim proudly that you are so incredibly happy that you just got fitted for a new bra at Victoria’s Secret and will no longer have to be concerned about spilling over. When her muscular arms protrude from her dress, you state simply that you would never allow your arms to get that big. Who wants a broad shouldered woman? Isn’t it important to look like a woman… you ask innocently…to maintain some curves.

By your own volition, she is just luckier. She is the recipient of a better gene pool and naturally athletic. She has more time to devote to a healthier lifestyle. Surely she is not juggling the same level of responsibilities. Her workload must be minimal. Her family must be less needy. You are steadfast in your quest to point out the differences in your lives. You refuse to accept that her success is built on a strong ethic of hard work. That it comes from countless hours at the gym. That it is built on a foundation of steady choices. You start to become tolerant of her. Suddenly her laugh is annoying. The softness of her smile reeks of insincerity. Her wittiness and attempts at light hearted banter becomes contemptible. You detest everything about her. You will not give her credit for her savvy ways. You will not approve of her polished look. You will not applaud her toned arms and legs. You will not compliment her slender waist in that outfit. You will not appreciate her keen fashion sense. You will continue to disapprove of her in every single way. To scorn her for all that she has become. She will not be your role model for change.

She will not be the reason you wake up an hour earlier each morning for a light run. She’s not your motivation for changing your practices. You won’t justify your healthier eating habits as having been formed by watching her nibble at veggies, snack on rice cakes and quench her thirst with nothing but water. You will not accept that she is the reason for your actions. Looking better than her is not your incentive to workout. You will not admit that you are now fueled by hate.

© 2015 FitfunNflashy

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