Competition can be fun, but it’s not the goal of how we live our life. Competition is for sports, and even that needs to be in major check.
This is a word. I almost wrote a post last night about how hard this competitive culture is on kids. But I was tired and had a big enough day.
I grew up when USA gymnastics was in the beginning stage of taking off, and it wounded me. I love the sport to this day, and I’m grateful Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez are now addressing mental health and gymnastics. I thought I was weak when I couldn’t take it anymore. I was too old (in 8th grade!) to be anything-bc that’s all that mattered (being on top) and I was mad at myself for not loving this sport at seven-years old when they really wanted me. So, when I hurt my back I was grateful for the excuse to quit. We had coaches who were just like Bela Karolyi. They’d speak in their own language and say your name out loud so you knew they were talking about you. There are so many other examples I can give. It was awful and dehumanizing.
I missed the sport after I quit (still do) but I couldn’t take the toxic environment. I cried all the time: why couldn’t we be gymnasts 🤸🏼♂️ just for fun. The levels offered for just-for-fun were below what I could do.
The church did not help my self esteem either. Being a girl alone I was overlooked as a leader, but I was judged harshly for sins. Especially for not keeping boys thoughts pure. But dare I lead, I’d be in contempt bc women lead men astray. Oy! So much to say about these messages that are so wrong and ungodly. Having to appease a God who always sees us not right enough is exhausting and anxiety producing.
I gave a presentation on anxiety in my internship class yesterday, and it was good. I’ve never been thanked by so many people, my colleagues, who received the message. They encouraged me on a level so deep I felt in my core-racham, Hebrew for womb-love. I felt their words in my center. I allowed myself to receive their words to replace what has been imprinted in my spirit for way too long.
So friends and family, please hear me when I say that our kids competing at the highest level is not an indication of their worth. It is not training them to earn their way in life. No one gets by without receiving help. God designed it that way, and it’s displayed in the Trinity. (See! I’m seeing a Trinitarian theology in real life that makes sense). Pay attention to the environment they are competing in and believe it over the results. If the toxicity of the environment is ignored, nothing gets better. We keep having this conversation. This highly competitive environment does produce anxiety. It is not inherent in our human condition that we just have to overcome. It can be prevented.