Finishing second in her recent gymnastics competition meant the world fell down around my young daughter’s knees. The biggest tragedy was that she broke it herself. She entered the event with a goal that depended on someone else’s outcome – she wanted to beat her arch rival. How hurtful to watch my daughter’s nemesis copy her every move, and be judged above her.
I remember a similar experience in school, when a friend copied my homework word for word. She received an A, while I scored a B. How could that happen, it was so unfair! Years later, I understood the only real competition is against myself, maybe conquering my previous best or prevailing through mindset. Sometimes, the real win is simply beating my nerves to achieve something I never thought possible.
The way you learn to handle disappointment in childhood is the foundation of coping mechanisms which last a lifetime. When things fail to go your way, do you sink low…mired in anger, frustration, sadness and disappointment? Better if you know how to dig deep, and identify internal resources to handle current stressors and build resilience for the future.
Childhood coping mechanisms rarely suit adult life challenges, so reach out and learn anew. It’s never too late to create purposeful happiness.