The other day, I complained to a friend about a project at the church. “It’s not going well,” I said.
My friend asked, “Why do you want this project to succeed?”
“So I don’t have to feel like a loser,” I replied.
We both laughed then we changed the subject.
Later I revisited the conversation and wondered: Is avoiding ‘feeling like a loser’ my motivation for other things in life?
It’s a harsh question. Kind of embarrassing. But I like it.
I know I’m not really a loser, nor is anyone else. But checking my fear-based motivations allows me to witness and befriend how much I use success to validate my existence. I see how I chase love and approval even though I’m pushing sixty. Then I consider what I sacrifice in order to feel successful and un-loser-like. I sacrifice things like innocent joy, peace of mind, and esteem.
Paradoxically, I see that I’m less available to give my unique gifts when I’m busy making sure everyone thinks well of me….
There’s a part two to this post, coming soon containing an antidote to this common yet often unconscious issue. For now, just love the loser.
Ask, with compassion: “Where am I trying to avoid feeling like a loser? Where do I seek excessive approval from self, God, or others? How does this get in the way of my full joyous expression in life?
Love the questions and love the answers. It’s all part of the holiness of who you are, a lotus blooming in the mud.