My older brother Otis & I have always been very competitive with each other. No, let me correct that. I have always competed with my brother. With our two years age difference, it often seemed like my role was to be better than my brother. As the older sibling, his task was to set the bar high and that, he did. My task was to raise that bar. Anything he could do, I could do better!
This meant erasing Otis’ record and setting new ones. At NGSA, I was one mark shy of Otis’ score. A single mark. Uno. Not only did I place second in my Region, but I also placed second to my competitor Otis. I was devastated. (By now you know me, always crying) and according to my brother, “it was still a mark less”. Mission failed. Five years later, he achieved more grade one passes than I did at CSEC and my 100% pass wasn’t enough. Mission failed, again.
Perhaps, if I had taken the lessons of my younger sister, Youkona a bit earlier I would have realized there was never a competition. For Youkona, there were never any bars. She did her best and whether that was good enough for any of us or not, it was her best. Having attended the same schools throughout our lives, Youkona established very early and very clearly that she was not following our steps. She was going to create her own path.
More importantly, whenever anyone made comparisons between us as siblings, Youkona was swift to remind them that she was neither Otis nor Daniella. We were excellent role models (I knew we were) to Youkona and she never competed with us- in any way. She knew she wasn’t us and she didn’t need to be. She was herself and that was enough.
Over the years, that competitiveness has spilt over to other areas of my life. It has spilt into my classroom, it has sometimes spilt into conversations and it has definitely spilt whenever I logged on to my social media platforms. What was constant was the need to be better than my competitors; my need to win. When this didn’t happen, I was devastated by the loss. Except, I was in a competition that only existed in my mind.
Perhaps, you’ve learned this already like Youkona, you’re learning this like me or you’re yet to learn this: Life is no competition. You may not be where you want to be but you’re exactly where you need to be and you are enough. You’ve always been enough! The one thing we all share is a purpose and for each of us, it is different. Today, be reminded that you’re not competing with anyone and set bars for yourself if you must.
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. –Galatians 6:4
Learning. Being. Becoming.