3 Ways to Gain Confidence When You Feel Unqualified but Called
February 19, 2020
Pride & Kind
February 21, 2020

I Started Winning When I Stopped Competing

God created you perfect.
I have never liked competition. Every time I compete, I feel pressured and disconnected from others. I love harmony, peace, collaboration, and win-win situations, kind of like “me happy, you happy.” I don’t need to watch another person lose the game to feel good about myself. I don’t need to dominate or put someone else down in order to feel superior and worthy.
In some cultures, competing is perceived as a sign of ambition, power, and strength. Most of us grew up hearing constant comparisons, which turned into a habit during our adult lives:
“Do I look better than her? I want to be slimmer.”
“How much is he earning? I want more.”
“Where does she live? I want a house at least that size.”
“I don’t make grades like her? Her GPA is really good.”
“She has everything; I want to be like her.”
And so on…
In my home town, St. Augustine like in many other places, the school system was very competitive to get the best grades and be the first in the class. As a child, I remember spending hours a day studying and doing homework during weekdays if I wasn’t doing sports. I would hardly make a “C.” I never considered myself book smart. I was one of those kids that never felt smart no matter how much I studied.
Teachers were always making comparisons, to my sister, between students, parents would compare their children to their friends’ or neighbors’ kids, and no one truly encouraged individual talents.
As a result of this conditioning, I ended up struggling with serious self esteem issues for many years. As a young woman, I didn’t see myself as good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, or successful enough, fast enough, cheer loud enough, would be made fun of for having such long hair, have the cool friends and I desperately tried to be perfect and fit in.
When I wasn’t competing with other people, I was competing with myself. I was always striving to be the cool kid, more popular, thinner, dress better, a better daughter, but then I would rebel. Getting attention from other unhealthy avenues was addictive because I felt validated not addressing the real issue of my damaged self-esteem. I was blanketing my emotions with an invisible Band-Aid. Relationships at the time led to a long road of damage and sin.  I was lacking, I was searching to fill a void.   
I am not here to blame. I am no longer a victim. I used to be bound by my past decisions, mistakes, screw ups and just really bad choices. But I released those insecurities. Fear no longer has its grip on me. I got into some really crappy relationships, thinking what was the point. Being divorced two times and being treated really bad, I just thought Ok, this is what I deserve.  I stopped loving myself. It was apparent. I had two beautiful children at the time, and just thought I had royally screwed up my life. Two Children, two divorces, and I was a single mom. I will never forgot, I was at a friend’s house, (Previous Friend) I will not say name for privacy reasons. Anyways, I was at her beautiful home, she had a great child hood, the nicest mother you could ever imagine, and had 3 children herself. I remember our children were playing in the living room. I remember we were discussing where we wanted to have lunch. We were having girl talk relationships etc. I recall her saying “You know, if I ever divorce my husband, I would never have any children with another man.” I though Ok, personal choice fair.  She then said “because at least they would all be from the same father.” That really cut like a knife. I thought what ignorance. Now for those of you who don’t know, I have three children now, one from each marriage. I wouldn’t change it for the world. They each are special, unique and I love them that my heart pours out. I couldn’t fathom someone would say such offensive words. I remember my face turned so red, I was humiliated, embarrassed but it broke my heart. Those were my choices, not my children’s. How could someone make such an inflammatory statement? I left abruptly after that, had a nice conversation with her mother who was so apologetic. But I thought when am I going to stop competing? When am I going to be good enough? The answer was I had to start loving myself. I always loved my children, but I lost my self along the way…..
Society did the best it knew. Teachers, they all were really great. I am not blaming but instead looking for hidden and limiting beliefs that have worked against me. Not having my faith aligned with what God had intended. My plans over His. Here’s what I realized I needed to do:
1. Stop competing with other people.
“Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self.” ~Iyanla Vanzant
Our society often encourages competition. There are some circumstances when we have no choice but to compete—when applying for a new position at work or attending job interviews, for example. However, there are situations when we make the rules, and the choice is entirely up to us. We can live our own lives and mind our own journey, or we can choose to compete with others over who’s more attractive, wealthier, happier, or more successful.
2 Timothy 2:5 “Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victors crown except by competing according to the rules.”
The verse translates from the imagery of a solider to that of an athlete. Athletes, both as amateurs and professionals existed even prior to New Testament times. Athletics were especially popular in the ancient Grecian Olympics. Winners were presented with an Olive wreath from a sacred tree near the temple of Zues in Olympia.  When an athlete broke the rules of competition they could not be crowned. In ancient times, just as in the modern today, rules existed both for competition and training to ensure fairness. The Christian is to likewise follow God’s truth in daily life in order to successfully be awarded in heaven. Not a matter of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) but of heavenly rewards.  
So here what I’ve learned: Everyone is on their own spiritual path. Everyone is going through their own hardships, struggles and pain. The grass is never greener on the other side.  What looks pretty on the outside, believe me isn’t always pretty on the inside. God has a plan that unfolds perfectly—at the right time and in the right place. Comparing ourselves to others is an infinite source of stress and frustration, and it doesn’t serve us well.
2. Stop competing against myself.
“Doing your best is more important than being the best.” ~Zig Ziglar
Perfection is nothing but pure fiction, an illusion created by our minds. It’s also a learned practice. Most of us were raised to constantly strive to become better people—to focus on our flaws and perceived limitations—and we either take our strengths for granted or aren’t even aware of them.
While we are all learning from our experiences and mistakes, we also need to be aware of our gifts and talents. We need to celebrate the Blessings God has given us, our uniqueness and detach ourselves from the toxic habit of comparing ourselves to others.
Yet here we are, still reading about “30 ways improve your happiness” and my favorite “Dealing with people you can’t stand.” Yes that is actually a book I own. With so much focus on the need for improvement, particularly in the personal development industry, I wonder when I am ever supposed to turn into the best version of myself and find peace. Easy, When I let go, and give it to God. When you stop competing with your self. When you stop trying to win.
So I’ve stopped competing with myself. I refuse to fight against myself so that I can reach the end of the tunnel, and I am no longer waiting for the magical day when I will become perfect and faultless. Life is messy, we are messy. Its ok, the dishes can wait, rock a bun, vacuum the house in your leggings. Stop beating yourself up! The enemy can’t defeat you, he has already been defeated Girl! You are smart, beautiful and good enough. Eat that bowl of Fruit loops, don’t feel bad if you worked all day and didn’t slave a dinner. Making Memories are more important than keeping up with the Kardashians. But seriously, anyone know when KK new spanx line is coming out? Asking for a friend.
Why turn my life into a never-ending competition? True friendship is not about competing against each other. It’s about support and collaboration. Why act as my competitor when I can be my own best friend? Love your neighbor. We are all Christs’ family. The church, the community not just blood. Blended and blessed. We should be fixing each other’s crown without telling everyone.
If I am to spend my precious time waiting to grow into the best of myself, there will always be something to change, add, fix, or transform so that I can finally feel whole and complete. Stop waiting for the “Until I have this, Until I get that raise; until I lose 20lbs, Until I get that Car.” You are good enough! You have already won!!! The greatest achievement and the greatest love is God. He loves you so much, and is waiting for you. Are you ready to set yourself free from your bondage of shame?
That’s how I discover who I really am and what brings me genuine happiness and fulfillment. By releasing old patterns and limiting beliefs that don’t serve me well, I choose to follow God every day, and know that His love for me is more than any love of this earth. I choose that on my darkest day, and when I forgot this, I open the bible and I read His promise, His word. The enemy will try to drag you back to those old feelings to condemn you. Every time I feel that nagging, that inner voice trying to shame you. You declare it terminated, gone.
Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no comdemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Since I changed my perspective, I’ve stopped beating myself up. I now talk to myself kindly. I treat myself with dignity and respect. I started loving myself, and having boundaries. I know I am worthy. I know I am loved. Your happiness is nothing to compete or fight for. God wants to wrap His arms around you and hold you. You are there, call out to Him. He is there to comfort you always. God gave us that, you can access Him anytime you want.
I also choose to see myself as perfectly beautiful and beautifully imperfect. The only person’s opinion that matters to me is Gods.
Furthermore, I’ve learned to forgive myself for my mistakes in the same way I forgive others, knowing I am also human. I always do the best I can.
I am enough and worthy, so I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. Not even to myself.
I believe the world needs fewer fighters and competitors. The world needs more givers, peacemakers, and compassion.
The day I stopped competing against myself and others, I set myself free. Look in the mirror Girl and tell yourself “You are good enough.”

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