Monday, June 22, 2020

This Is Not A Zero-Sum Game

Just because you're being lifted up doesn't mean I have to feel put down!
I used to have this friend who would get all cagey when someone else was having an exceptionally good day.  She absolutely hated to see someone having a better day than she was having.  

She firmly believed that if someone was having a good day, it meant she had to have a bad one.  If someone near her got a compliment, it meant she was being put down.

For her, life is a zero-sum game.  If one person wins, someone else, HAS to lose.  

I bet you don't have to imagine how uncomfortable things could be when it was just the two of us, sitting at a table having lunch. 

I think that being in a zero-sum mindset comes from a place of scarcity, and people who think that Life Itself is a zero-sum game have experienced a lot of things that validate that mindset for them.  Maybe for them, someone really has to lose, in order for them to win.  

But it doesn't have to be that way.   

The thing is, while there are plenty of zero-sum games in this life, Life Itself is not one of them.  There's enough Good to go around for everyone.  We aren't even all playing the same minigames Life has to offer.  So why can't we all win?  

Eventually, with this friend I used to have, the tension got to be exhausting.  We had a very high school-esque falling out and I haven't talked to her in years.  They say you become like the people you surround yourself with, and in this case, all her good qualities were outweighed by the jealousy.  Not just of me, but of everyone having a better day than she was having, or of anyone who got compliments, because she read a compliment for someone else as a dig at her.  Anyone who was having a better experience being them than she was having, being her. She wouldn't accept that we could both have good days, and I wasn't willing to mope around so she'd be happy.  Life is too short.

Don't compare your life or your experience to others if it makes you all strung-out, Friends.  Comparison is the thief of joy.  If you let it consume you, so is competition, when you're competing against someone's whole life and circumstances.  

Anyway, I hope we all have a good day today.  It's Monday.  A fresh start to the week.  At least every day isn't still feeling like Saturday.  That IS a win for all of us.

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