Competition as A Way To Take Care of Myself

Picture of an archery competition at Mönchengl...

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Self-Care Tip #183 – Compete to be a friend to yourself.

Competition is not always thought to be a friendly word.  Pictures of hair-pulling, whining, learned helplessness, failure or success come to mind.  However I’m happy to say that we can put away that old grudge and open our arms to what competition can offer.

We are sharper intellectually when we compete.  It is stimulating and good brain exercise.

We feel better when we compete.  It releases dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter (brain messenger.)

We are more likely to win in self-care when we include competition.  Some people call it, “Making a game out of it.”  But that is really just saying, get competitive in a friendly way.  For example, this is one of the few successful ways to get long-term success with weight loss.

We are able to connect with others easier when we compete, believe it or not.  Competition is in fact a way to get out of isolation.  Pretty cool.

Competition can increase productivity – a boost to one’s quality of life and self-esteem.

Today I was speaking with my daughter’s teacher about bits of this concept.  I am hoping that more competition is integrated into her school curriculum.  For example, her daily writing could be shared with two fellow students of like abilities and vice versa.  She would read what they wrote, coalesce the information into her own thoughts, and write her response.

She would be working on:

  1. Writing
  2. Reading
  3. Interpretive thinking
  4. Learning how to let her thoughts travel the sometimes seemingly endless road between her mind and out her fingers.
  5. Productivity
  6. Connecting with peers/socialization
  7. Personal achievement/self-esteem/confidence
  8. more….

Question:  What role has competition played in your own self-care?  Please tell me your story.

Bringing Your Worst or Your Best – Family

When I go to work, I feel my spirit get up off the floor, onto its knees and then it’s feet, and then fly into skies of happiness and inner congruence.  Work is where people are respectful to others.  If not they disappear.  (i.e. They’re fired.)  They do their chores and sometimes even with pleasure.  I am less often reminded of the fine line between success and failure, and I can always find my scissors, tape and stapler.  I’m sitting at home now, letting out a dreamy sigh.  Ah.

Why do we treat strangers so well and our family not so well?  Why do we give our best where our best is valued only as much as the going rate of gold and

silver?

John Tauer, Ph.D. states that coöperation and competition are not an either or.  He tells us from 4 years of research at basketball summer camps that the effects of combining coöperation with competition (intergroup competition) is much more powerful than either one alone.   In other words, individuals competing isn’t as fun or successful as a group of people competing against another group of people (i.e. teams.)  I propose that this might be part of the play in the difference between home and out of home behaviors.

In the home, we tend to see ourselves as individuals maybe even competing against each other.  Out of the home, we ally with others whom we can work with to compete against others.  We bring our best to the playing field perhaps.

In The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss, we see a family who is marooned, cooperating as a team against dangerous elements (intergroup competition) to survive.  They have so much fun doing it that when rescue finally comes, nothing could entice them to leave their happy treehouse.

We see other examples of this (intergroup competition) when a family member gets sick and everyone rally’s to fight the disease together.  I wonder how we can do that good stuff without having to wreck a ship or fight cancer.  I’d like to give my best to my husband and kids every day.  The fraternities, the gangs, the undying lure of neighborhood rivalries, reality TV show Survivor – all show us that this intergroup competition is pleasurable and effective.

Question:  Have you experienced this kind of success in your own home?  Please tell me your story.

Self Care Tip #57 – Bring your best to the people you love.  Be a friend to yourself.