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COMPETITION: WHAT WE LEARNED

The following excerpt is from the self help
psychology book, Be Your Own Therapist.


We usually forget what it was like to be four years old. We were inferior in everything. Mom and Dad always knew more than we did about whatever topic came up. Seemingly they could do everything that we couldn't. They seemed like the biggest, strongest, most powerful people in the whole wide world. We did feel inferior, but that is normal for four-year-olds and felt OK unless we were put down or rejected for being that way. However, as the years pass, the desire to be as powerful and clever as our parents typically becomes important to us.


In a given situation, there is no emotional response common to everyone.

One therapy session with a young boy stays in my memory. While he and I talked of various topics, we were busily competing in a ball-toss accuracy contest. He consistently was the better of the two competitors. As the session was ending, in a serious tone he stated that he had won the competition. I replied, also seriously, "Yes, you did". Truth. And an obvious chunk of increased self-esteem was written all over his face as he walked away. He had accomplished his unconscious mission for that session, an increase in self-esteem.


If at an early age we suffered some form of rejection of our emotional selves (i.e., trauma most of us suffered), then it is likely that we will want to continue competing forever unless the trauma knots we suffered can be untied. The traumatized child, dependent and feeling inferior, often thinks that everything will be OK once he is bigger, stronger or more clever. Because getting bigger, stronger or more clever does not routinely change the trauma knots involved, many adults keep competing and competing. Such competing provides only temporary relief, such as that obtained from men's obsession with sports and women's obsession with shopping. Both are competitive activities (though some women deny the competitive aspects of shopping) that temporarily chase the inferiority hobgoblin.


Schools today are frequently attempting to give grade-schoolers success and praise for being the best at whatever. The essential point is not so much the importance of the activity ("you are a great hall monitor" is fine) as the feeling of self-esteem that helps overcome the natural stage of inferiority in young children. These school efforts are important but will not be completely successful with children who feel seriously flawed because of past or ongoing trauma experienced at home.

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This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself to be a mighty one..... George Bernard Shaw

More Excerpts This Chapter
   WORK: DOING WHAT YOU LOVE
   THAT IMPOSSIBLE BOSS/ COMMITTEE
   JOB STRESS
   WOMEN'S & MEN'S WORK - WILL THEY EVER BE THE SAME?
   GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE
   THE GLASS CEILING
   COMPETITION: WHAT WE LEARNED
   COMPETITION: GOOD OR BAD?
   JOB DO'S


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