I’ve always been fascinated by the many different ways of human nature. Things that set us apart or unite us. One such way being competition.
When it comes to the idea of competing, I am somewhat of a contradiction. On the one hand I think it’s healthy, and on the other it can be ugly.
If there’s one thing I dislike in a person, it’s an ugly competitive streak. When someone is willing to trample all over another, just to win, this is ‘ugly competition’. It could also be seen when someone is jealous of another’s achievements, and they undermine these achievements, just to continue to feel superior.
That said, if we don’t have a level of competition, we don’t tend to push ourselves forward to become better.
Unlike me, my husband is very competitive. If the game doesn’t have a competition, there’s no element of risk and he doesn’t want to play. I used to love playing badminton. Not competitively. Just hitting the shuttlecock back and forth, over the net, without it falling to the ground. My husband also liked to play, but for him the joy was in the competition. So, playing together never really worked. He wanted to score points for fun and I wanted to have fun without the scoring.
That’s not to say he, or the many other men and women like him, have an ugly competitive streak. He’s not a sore loser and he wouldn’t manipulate another to win. If anything, he would encourage others.
I don’t think I have ever enjoyed competition. It almost seems like winning makes another into a loser.
When competing at school, in sports for example, I felt myself weaken physically. I now realize this was just another part of being an Empath. For one thing, if I won, it meant the other lost. Which felt wrong. And for another, during competitive sports, I was likely picking up on the others’ intention (wanting to beat me), and I morphed to fit their intentional energy. (If you have experienced this you will know exactly what I mean. Read more here).
When we are unaware, as Empaths, we can pick up on the intentions, opinions and judgements of others which can impact our behaviour.
I go to gym classes most days (Zumba, aerobics, etc.). When there, I never like being too close to the competitive people. They give off such strong vibes. I can feel them wanting to be better than others in the room. I don’t need to know them or have talked to them to feel this.
I’m not saying this makes them bad people. I just don’t like feeling this energy when I work out.
It took me some years to understand that I could feel competitve energy when in gym classes.
It is often in yoga classes where I sense ‘the competitive energy’ at its worst. It’s a big reason I don’t like practising yoga around others.
Again, I understand that although I’m not partial to being in competition, it can drive people on to being the best version of themselves. But it can also do the opposite.
There is a great saying that, ‘It’s not about the winning it’s about the taking part.’ Yet some would argue that if there’s no chance of winning, what is the point of taking part? That is a mentality I don’t agree with (I told you I was a contradiction). It’s the ego talking.
If you enjoy the competition, do it for yourself. But don’t not compete just because you might not win.
I believe the best competition is with ourself. We should always be working to become better than we were last week or last year, in all areas of life. And self-competition is something I do enjoy.
So, yes, I see competition as both healthy and unhealthy, good and bad. It just depends on the way we use it.
It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the subject.
How does competition affect you as an Empath? Does it help you thrive? Or does it make your energy recede? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Until next time.