Self-Competition is a Gambit in a Self-Development Game.
Rustling, quickly-moving, clear-voiced, V. was extravagant and a little disquieting. Large, square face and little grayish eyes – there was nothing soft or gracious about her. Up to everything and down on herself, V. was a splendid actress but didn’t quite believe in it herself. She formed the habit of sticking pins into her dignity and this venerable instrument of her nature was suffering immensely. I always felt an impulse to pull out the pins, they did inflict so much damage on V’s vulnerable personality, and I believed she could make a better use of her sharpness.
Her conversation was of a sort that gave a large license to originality and wittiness. But she accused herself of not being like some other beautiful and successful actress (who AGAIN got a part in a movie she was auditioned for) – and that competition she was constantly in with others heated me so that it almost scorched.
Some Interior (self) and Exterior (with others) Competition is like a bad and a good joke – one is amusing to everybody you care about and whose opinion matters to you, and the other is funny only to outsiders, people of the world in which you have no place of your own. An infinity of malicious amusement lurks in those who compare themselves to others instead of finding enough will to meet the metrics and values that suit them. Because to win in Exterior Competition is possible but the reward, whatever it is, won’t do one any good.
Imagine fighting in a war for a foreign government – you end up on a winning side, the country is rejoicing, dividing treasures, lands, slaves and you … you go home with empty hands in ill-fitted uniform and no one cares about your heroic deeds in your homeland. And why would they? You didn’t fight for theirs (you got it – YOURS) freedom.
The noble war against your rivals (negative behavior, harmful habits, pessimistic thinking, procrastination, etc.) is never ending and always self-satisfactory. You win one battle and right away plan another strategic military attack on your own chosen enemies, transforming them into your comrades on a way to a better-future-you. Every victory is adding more confidence and vitality, indolent grace and ease, charm and charisma, and with every year you look far more experienced and at the same time far more youthfully alive.
Turn on the Niagara of the Infinite Change. Determine ‘What’ to Confront
Goodness only knew how far from the truth V.’s self-understanding was. She looked down at the world through sharply evaluating everything eyes. She was somehow always out of spirits and her life was punctuated by little and big disappointments. She lived in a constant state of competition-stupidity with others and the only salvation I could see was to recharge her self-esteem, and to redirect her competitive spirit on herself.
We are not straight lines, those meet only at infinity. We live and learn, experience pain and pleasure, establish relationships and break up bridges – we change. Having made this pronouncement I want to emphasize that the modification ‘to the better’ or ‘to the worse’ lies entirely with us. Like a ship you can choose to move along a sleek and oily swell that leads nowhere or a bumpy troubled sea that will get you to a wonderful shore with a marvelous view.
The process is most likely arduous and exhilarating but the result is always pyrotechnical – and when one colorful transformation takes place you cannot help waiting, open-eyed and alert, for the next one. Change to the better-future-you is fascinating, and it demands to be continued once started.
Read more: Distractive Loneliness and Positive Solitude: 6 Kinds of Loneliness and 3 Ways to Confront It
The winter of 2017 was the toughest in V.’s life. She lost her father (her mom died two years prior) and being the only child, she was now left alone. My voice was hoarse and weary with preaching the weekend I spent with her. I came to console and pull her out of that misery she thrashed herself into, willingly and almost gladly, taking that as an excuse to her apathy and lack of desire to fight her way in life.
The battle with procrastination is simply a development of magic. You stop the baa-baa business of excuses and make an action. Deeds not words are the man’s first and most grandiose invention. With directed activity, you can create a whole new universe of your own. Charge yourself with envy to a Tomorrow-You, endow yourself with passions and faculties of your inner stronger personality that was waiting for the privilege to come up front and pronounce the sentence of power and will. A lizard person should rapidly shoot up into a lion person – that power resides in every one of us.
I kicked all the clothes off the bed and chairs, made V. get up and look in the mirror. Her ears didn’t play her false – I was not very picky with words when like a policeman arresting the flow of traffic I held my hand to keep her silent and listen to the voice of reason. She popped back in self-care immeasurably during the weeks spent in her deserted family dwelling. And she had clapped the door shut behind self-love and respect long before that happened. Being almost oracular in painting symbolical pictures of TRUE success through TRUE completion I made the atmosphere palpitate, and at the end of my tirade her smile was irradiation and the best reward I could ever ask for.
You should write yourself in bigger letters in your own system of values. Organize, content, administer – work your will, believe in yourself, justify yourself. Give an extension to the term of self-love and you won’t ever reproach yourself for self-negligence. Wrap up yourself in care and attention, love and respect. Let your imagination take a flight when you are thinking about the ways to make yourself feel better. Make sure to buttonhole the tricks that help to call up the memories of your better days: listen to uplifting music, watch inspirational movies, talk to motivated people. Do not let yourself to fall into despair and misery abyss where only negligence rains.
Read more: The Poison of Detracting Tongues or How to Live by Your Own Judgement: 4 Major ‘Why-s’ to Consider
3) Negative Behavior
V. had a habit of talking to herself in a mocking and resentful key. And I made a goal to change it during the week we spent together in a Turkish all-inclusive hotel by the sea. This trip, that I almost forced her to agree to accompany me to, was a transformation therapy that I prescribed to my friend. My voice sounded and sounded in her ears with the insistence of mechanical noise when I went on and on in continuous expressions of love and beauty, serenity and benevolence, exquisiteness and originality of her personality.
I call people wise when they are able to meet the requirements of their better selves. One should have a great deal of will to struggle against his own harmful habits. Never saying anything underhand about yourself, you still should be well acquainted with your faults. Correct anything you want to better in yourself in sips, one by one, making sure the habit you got rid of would not come back. Calculate right and substitute the bad by the good if possible, this way the transformation will go smoothly and much easier. If you think that you drink way too much coffee, get a decaf one next time. You do not like going to the gym but like dancing – subscribe to a regular active dance class and enjoy your way to a slimmer-you. You tend to talk to yourself in a disrespectful key – start by adding ‘love’ or ‘honey’ to whatever you’re saying. It may sound comical at the beginning, but the ability to be funny, to humor yourself in a well-intentioned way is a huge step towards the art of self-improving.
Read more: ‘Draculas’ of Today – Energy Vampires: 8 Types of Vampires and 4 Major Life-Survival Strategies
‘How’ to Be Busily Engaged in Self-Competition and Enjoy It
I made my best to instill in V. envy to her better-future-self, substituting the raving and displeasing desire to be somebody else. Only when she took herself and the choices she made in an axiomatic loving and respecting manner was she able to call her life her own. And starting from this turning point any defects, that she had in her own eyes, became goals – a way to flawless crystal image of her future self.
Winning in a true competition makes you feel the most blessed and favored of mortals. Because it means that you are achieving the goals you’re setting for yourself every day. It matters little small or big, you may start small and get to a major change step by step – the winning spirit will be awakened within you and will start pushing you farther. What rewards can equal the feeling of satisfaction? You prove yourself strong-willed and devotedly loving, caring and supportive when you devote yourself to a self-purification combat.
1) Be Guided by Self-Love
It was worth the trouble of looking at and admiring my renewed friend. When V. stopped her bleating, bellowing, and neighing her features started to express intense intelligence which brought her self-respect back to her eyes and self-love back to her heart. Now the atmosphere about her sent a cheerful warmth and a suggestion of comfort and ease. Her loving heart spoke to her and to others. Every intercourse was amiable because positive expectation was in the air.
Deep affection and eagerness should not turn you blind but make you ever so mindful of your weak points. When a filial devotion towards ‘future-you’ is stronger than affection towards ‘you-now’, it seems almost criminal to refuse being guided by this feeling. Your whole self will be following this lead and a radiant happiness will befall you when you reach your goal. And you will set another one, falling in love ones more with tomorrow, craving for this feeling of satisfaction.
2) Be Led by a True Idol
V. was wrongly choosing idols from a famous Hollywood crowd, and that was a definite failure and a pointless race that painfully oppressed her heart. This false competition like an ill-made overcoat made her look ill-fitted to life. People liked her description by others better than they liked her because no one could hear her own conversation, those were only words expected, gestures already made by someone else, and expressions approved by the mirror.
When the wind of self-respect and self-love started to blow in her sails V. became a capital person to be around and to listen to. Every human being has his shell, and her shell was her vocabulary and the whole envelope of her sharp mind. Now she was brave to be different, courageous to disagree, bold to self-express, and daring to call her-future-self the best person in the world.
Do not write your life in a variety of strange hands rather than using your own. You do this when you get into external competition. It squeezes you into insignificance when you try to be someone else instead of finding your own way, style, amplua. The only hero you should be obsessed with is ‘you-tomorrow’. There is an inspiration in this strive, you grasp at pleasure and fail to get a complete hold of it as it always gets bigger and a little farther from your reach. It remains possible and impossible at the same time. And this game is never ending which makes life a fascinating experience.
3) Be Directed by Positive Criticism and Hones Praise
V. was able to unite the intrinsic (love to herself) and extrinsic (praise and criticism) advantages and became an extraordinary personality, the one that you can drink like a healthy cocktail and never have enough of the precious taste and benefits. She found the best acting teacher in a stand-up women’s comedy show. People praised her, and she rejoiced, friends criticized sometimes, and she was grateful. She started as an out-of-stage minor character and won her way to a leading actress participating in every show in her best disguise – never rudely present, always profitably clever and wisely funny. Everything she did or said was up to the most intelligent unoffensively critical and humorous way. Ingenious people loved her, and slightly shallow minds didn’t understand and avoided her – and that was just the price for being true – likable and not so much, lovable and not so much, respected and always so.
Praise is a high-grade fuel, but a positive, well-intentioned, and wisely worded criticism is an engine that drives the self-improvement process. That kind of criticism will leave you light in your heart and bright in your visions. It will strengthen the deep affection you feel and broaden your self-understanding.
Woe to those who dream of what others have and fail to see the potential in themselves. Competition with others runs you into a blind alley. It takes the truth and love to present to you an internal competition anew. To be guided by things meaningful for you is like an invocation to a sacred beauty that awaits you on this way. The world is made small if you busy yourself with the faults of other people. When you overcome your fears and strive to be better than you were yesterday – the world enlarges by your presence. Living in this state you are never in repose but forever in flight. You arrest yourself for a moment when you reach one goal and continue an endless way to a better-you. Every move you make is a smile not a sigh. The vision of ‘you-tomorrow’ should be intoxicating and reviving.