February 03, 2006
Everybody likes to be a winner, but some people are “competition freaks” who have to be first, be the best or win at every thing they do. This overly competitive nature oftentimes causes tension in their personal relationships. “Love and competition are oil and water, they do not mix,” Dr. Phil warns. He offers the following advice for competitive people who want to overcome their need to compete, and learn to relax and enjoy what they have.
Don’t compete with siblings, rather, enjoy their accomplishments.
Making a brother or sister feel bad about who they are or what they look like is sabotaging your sibling. Dr. Phil tells his guests, 46-year-old twin sisters who have competed with each other for their entire lives, “When you’re competing with your sister, in order to win, you have to make her a loser.” Think about it. Would you really be proud to say, “I made my sister a loser”? When you compete over superficial things, you miss out on each other’s lives.
Instead of always competing, live vicariously through your sibling. Be proud of his or her successes in life. “The purest love in this world is the love that we have for our family, because we’re not in competition with them. We’re cheering them on.”
Live true to your authentic self.
Discover who you really are, and accept yourself. “You don’t need to compare yourself to somebody else to be able to look in the mirror and be proud of who you are,” Dr. Phil explains. Remember that you are an individual, and people will form an opinion about you based on your own actions, not how you compare to someone else.
Decide to stop being so competitive.
One of Dr. Phil’s guests tells him that she is competitive in everything she does, from playing a board game to dating. She says she can’t turn of her competitive nature, but Dr. Phil assures her she can. “You are a free-thinking adult who can make a life decision,” he tells her. It is up to you to willingly stop competing with everyone in every situation. Take ownership of your actions and decide to make a change. True competition is about doing your personal best.
Know that the need to win is a search for external validation.
“Your self-worth should not be tied up with external validation of some game or some career activity,” Dr. Phil tells his guest. If you are living true to your authentic self and are happy with who you are, you shouldn’t need to win in every situation.
To another guest Dr. Phil says, “You say you want to be the best, then why don’t you make the goal of being the best-balanced mother, the most self-accepting individual?” He tells her that it’s not healthy to continually put the stress of competition on herself. “What I want you to think about and try to embrace is that you can feel enough acceptance of yourself that you don’t have to earn your right to be loved by your daughter. You don’t have to earn your right to be in your family. You don’t have to walk into a room and earn acceptance. Sometimes, just let it come to you.”
Recognize that your competitive nature will influence your children.
One of Dr. Phil’s guests gets angry, gets upset and pouts when he doesn’t win a game. His son is now showing similar behaviors when he plays with his friends. “Sometimes we worry that our kids don’t listen, but what we should worry about is the fact that they are always watching,” Dr. Phil tells him. “You have two beautiful, intelligent children. I would hate for them to become so externally defined that when they lose they feel worse as people. Their self-image goes down, their self-esteem goes down, their value goes down to the point that they’ll withdraw.”
Make sure your kids know that you are proud of them for playing the game and trying hard, and that they don’t always need to win. Also make sure your children are proud of themselves from the inside out, and that they don’t always need someone to validate them.