Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

This is how life works. You cannot always get a medal just for participating. Sometimes you score a win, and sometimes you get a loss. This is how it is.

The problem that comes of this is not about competition, and it is not about whether you are on the winning end or the losing one. The issue to pay attention to is whether you are gracious or sore in victory or defeat.

There are a few small matters to attend to prior to this main topic, however.

We live in a universe of plenty. There is abundance for us all. The problem develops when the “haves” decide to become hoarders, and as such create the “have-nots”. We are led to believe that there is not enough for us, whether it is money, jobs, food, fuel, or what-have-you, and we give away our empowerment and continue this vicious cycle.

Then, to add insult to injury, we find ourselves in competition with one another. We compete for all these material things, and even worse for numerous immaterial things, and we fight against one another for all sorts of silly reasons. Some of these fights are small and interpersonal – and some involve whole groups of people committing war crimes.

We do not need to compete! There is enough for us all, the world is big enough and the universe is generous enough that we need not have competition between the supposed “haves” and the “have-nots”. Yet when certain individuals or groups or organizations come to power, they want to hold their power so tightly they create competition, and the next thing you know we are bickering back and forth about any number of personal issues we need not compete over.

I am not saying we should not hold competitions in the form of athletics and such. This is a different type of competition, and encourages personal growth and development. However, when we all jump in and choose sides and start to stand against the supporters of our favorite team’s opposition, we lose perspective rather swiftly.

This does, however, bring me back around to my original point. Because there are going to be winners and losers, whether from a competitive act or the nature of life in general, what kind of winner or loser you choose to be has a tremendous amount of meaning and power.

Sore losers are not pleasant. They tend to whine, they tend to mope, they tend to throw the blame around and make everybody near feel miserable. They want sympathy, they want you to prop them up, and they want to make anyone they consider a winner feel low. Sore losers are, I think, why we have a problem nowadays with acknowledging those who are meritorious and deserving of accolades.

Equally unpleasant, however, are sore winners. They tend to whine, they tend to gloat, they tend to brag and tell you what a loser you are and make everybody feel miserable. They want attention, they want you to prop them up even higher, they want you to know they are better than you. They want the losers to pack it up and never compete against them again, unless, of course, they can win handily and frequently. Sore winners also cause those who do not win to think less of the meritorious and those deserving of accolades.

A gracious loser, however, does not whine. They do not mope, they do not blame everyone else for their loss. They accept that they have lost, they congratulate the winner, and they let it go. They likely analyze the why and how of their loss, and hopefully figure out a way to win in the next instance. Gracious losing does not mean accepting a loss with resignation, it means accepting that the loss has occurred, but it is a moment in time, and once past need not be repeated.

A gracious winner does not brag. They do not gloat, they do not lord their victory over everyone else. They show gratitude for the win, they congratulate anyone who loses on a game well played, and then they let it go. They likely analyze the why and how of their win, and hopefully figure out how to win again in the next instance. Gracious winning does not mean accepting you will win every time, it means accepting that this has been but a moment in time, and once past might not be repeated.

When you are walking your own path, some of your choices will produce wins, while some will produce losses. This is how life works. Participating is all well and good, but there is a goal, and succeeding at that goal might be considered a win, while failing could be considered a loss. How you accept that situation, with bitterness or with grace, will determine a lot about how your continued Pathwalking will go.

For what it is worth, I have been experiencing a great many hurdles of late. This has been causing me to view my situation as being full of many defeats. I know, however, that if I take these losses sorely, I will certainly be asking for and likely incurring more losses to come. I need to be gracious, I need to be grateful for all that I have, and let go of the things making me feel this way. I have the power to do this. I control how I allow myself to feel.

Yes, there are things making me angry, making me feel powerless. I acknowledge them. Having acknowledged them, I must now change my focus and be gracious so that I can continue onwards. I am reminding myself that there are going to be days I will consider a loss – but will I be a sore loser, or a gracious one? That makes a huge difference in what is to come, and how I deal with it. I cannot hold onto it stubbornly and bitterly, I need to just let it go.

Letting go, however, can present its own challenges. That will be next week’s topic.

How do you accept your wins and losses, bitterly or graciously?

 

This is the one-hundred thirtieth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Feel free to re-blog and share.  Thank you for joining me.

The first fifty-two weeks (Year One) of installments of Pathwalking is available in print and for your Kindle.