I haven’t won many things in my lifetime. I’ve won a few friends, and a few more enemies. I’ve won writing contests and art challenges and word wars. I’ve won a few fights, but not as many as I lost. I’ve won affection, envy, lust, and a scar here and there. It’s been a pretty even mix.
That winning has a downside is something no one mentions, but has always floated on the periphery of my personal experience. Being a winner is a positive thing, something to be proud of, to celebrate, to share. I was taught to be a gracious loser. A good sport. Because the hard truth of life is, we’re going to spend more time on the losing end of things, but it’s important to be happy for the one who wins. To take it as a learning experience. Better yourself, try harder next time, and congratulate your opponent on a job well done, no matter haw badly you’re bleeding.
It was taught me as though that’s a hard lesson, losing gracefully. Drilled and hammered and driven into me with lectures and lessons. But that was the easy part for me.
I’m inherently uncomfortable with winning.
It’s not because I think I’m undeserving. The times I did win, I worked hard for it. I gave it my all. I played fairly, and was hopefully judged so.
But if I win, someone else loses. Someone who worked just as hard, and wanted it every bit as badly as myself. Is it shame I feel? Shame that I did it better?
They say winning and losing shapes a person, that each is good for you in its own way. It’s important to be as gracious in victory as in loss. Personally? I’d rather hand you the title and praise you for a job well done. Because you deserve it.
I wonder if I’m alone in this?