You don't truly know someone until you've played a game with them. I say this because the trait of competitiveness is immediately revealed. Whether it be a board game, cards or some sort of sport, you quickly learn who plays nice.
The act of competing goes beyond sports and games, people are competitive in all aspects of life. It's a trait that I believe should be handled with dignity and care, since it can quickly bring a sense of inferiority to others.
I've noticed that there are different levels of competitiveness. There are individuals who have a drive and genuinely put their skills to use, so that they may compete in the hopes of winning a promotion or excelling in some way. Then there are those who play dirty, competing in an aggressive and negative manner with an attitude of poor sportsmanship. They aren't afraid to step on others during their climb to the top.
Of course, the latter is the one I frown upon. I think it's healthy to have a good competition now and then. It challenges the competitors to push themselves and work toward a goal, but it's no fun when someone is competing with a negative outlook or ulterior motives.
I feel competition daily, especially from my peers. I even felt it while planning a wedding.
Most of you have probably heard of the website Pinterest. It enables the user to search and select or "pin" millions upon millions of decorating tips, pictures, recipes, etc. to virtual boards that the user has created and taylored to their interests.
One of the big draws of Pinterest is all of the wedding ideas that are offered. I don't know about other pinners, but seeing all of the extravagant and unique things people have done for weddings overwhelmed me. I joined in though by creating a "wedding board." I got a few ideas, but almost none of it came to fruition, which was fine. It gets exhausting trying to keep up with others.
Facebook has also introduced a sense of competition. Most people only post positive things about themselves on the social media site. Many post negatives too, but mainly we want to promote how well we're doing in life. This also becomes discouraging at times. I have to remind myself that no matter how good someone's life may appear, they have hardships too.
I've become aware of the fact that competition can easily slip into comparison, which is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves. We should try our best not to compare ourselves to others.
When you aren't able to focus on what's best for you because you're too busy trying to keep up with the Joneses, you lose yourself.
I have to remind myself to quit worrying about what others may think and to not compete for something that wouldn't even benefit me. My personal decisions and growth will not be the same as my neighbor's.
Our society has placed a lot of pressure on us to have the best job, the perfect family, lots of money and a carefree lifestyle, but it's not worth fretting over. They are great accomplishments, but having them all will never bring anyone complete happiness.
As The Byrd's song, "Turn, Turn, Turn" goes, which borrows from King Solomon's writings in Ecclesiastes, there is a time and season for everything.
I think it's important to remember that someone elses' season may not be the same as yours. We need to enjoy the season we're in and if competition becomes necessary, play nice.
(Laura Reed is a desk editor for The Review. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org)