One aspect of human life that both mystifies and affects me is the controversy of winning versus losing and why each of those words holds the connotations that they do. I have won many things in my life but I have lost just as many and definitely more. What matters, to me, though is not how frequently I win or lose but what I learn from whatever I was competing or participating in.
If you know me, you will read this with the knowledge that I ran for a leadership position in my fraternity and lost. What I am writing this article for is not to spite anyone, it is not to cause distress, it is not to point fingers, and it is certainly not to boost my image. There are two reasons that I ran for the position I did 1.) it would have given me another great addition to my portfolio of social media to show future employers and 2.) I became tired of some senseless bickering and wanted to provide my positive and neutral mindset. So, the reason I am writing this is for other people who may have recently lost at something, whether it be a voted position or just having a bad day, to do exactly what I was hoping to do with the position I lost, spread positivity.
There are two steps to coming to terms with a loss, not a physical loss such as death, but a loss of a theoretical position. Step one, feel hurt. No matter what you lose at, be it even a game of scrabble, there is that tiny, or very large, feeling of defeat. It aches and where it rests in everyone may be different. Some may get a headache, others may feel a drop in their stomach, and some might just make quick fists by their sides and release them. The point is, everyone feels defeat. What is extremely important about step one is that you complete it with the phrase ‘and let it go.’
Let it go. This is a common theme among yogis and meditation. In order to feel more at ease, we must first allow our emotions to exist, we must feel them to their extent, and then we must let it go. This entire first step will give you a sense of validation and it will make you realize the impermanence of that moment. You lost one opportunity, but what did you gain? This is step number two, recognize your gains.
When one door closes another one opens. This goes for anything, there is always another option. In a matter of loss or defeat pay attention to what you gained. What I gained from losing the position I ran for was extra time. I do not have to go to meetings I would have had to go to and while I was prepared to set that time aside for the position, I no longer have to. I can choose to do whatever I want with that time be it give more to the fraternity, which if my goal really is to spread optimism then I should, or I can even use it to study more or work longer hours. The matter of the fact is, I gained time I wouldn’t have had. At this point, by feeling defeat and letting it go then recognizing your gains, you should start to feel something different. You should start to feel a little better.
I could go on about how to cope with losing but in the end, it comes down to you. I am so lucky to have such a supportive system behind me. I’ve had people tell me they are there for me, give me hugs, and tell me positives about myself. I am ever grateful for these people. While the defeat I feel about this position is minimal, I still felt it, and having that support system made it ten times easier. So, to those who don’t have people to turn to, know that you are not alone and no matter how people act they are hurt by losing what may seem like minuscule things as well. Just remember, feel the hurt and let it go, and find your gains. There is no forgiving to be done because there is no one to forgive. No one hurt you, it was only a matter of chance. Everything is about perspective and you choose how to view events that occur. I choose to look at this loss as another door opened. I am going to seek other ways to spread my positivity in the fraternity and I am thankful for the time I gained. I support the person who did win the position I was running for and I hope they will come to me if they ever need anything.
In situations of competition where you lose that means there is a winner. A third step in this situation is one that is hard for many, be supportive of the winner. Even if you lose something you are still a winner because you took a chance, you gained lessons, and you have an opportunity to improve yourself. This means support the people who get your missed opportunities. Everything happens for a reason and if you lose at something it is because you weren’t meant to hold whatever it was. However, it may mean that you have commonalities with the person who did win since the position peaked their interest as well. All in all, be kind to yourself and to your competition. It never hurts anyone to be kind.