Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Being A Bad Sport

This morning I was with a wonderful women, Laurie, who was very upset about putting her all into a project that did not win the competition.

We live in a society where coming in 2nd may sent a message of not good enough.  How many viewer are disappointed after an Olympic event when their countries flag is flying over the bronze metal recipient.  "We're Number One" is chant many of us remember from youth.  Any vivid memories of the elation of victory or the crash when our team loses?

It hurts to not be chosen, especially when we have given best effort.  Hearing the words "losing builds character" or "this is God's will" or "don't be a bad sport" do not bring much comfort when we are tasting the salty tears traveling down our cheeks.  Losing hurts if we are 7 or 70.

I had the honor this morning of holding a space for grief.  Letting go of the expectation or dream was compounded with strong emotions of conscious and unconscious past loses.  Big girls (and boys) do cry.  It is good to cry.   Giving the feelings permission to be, invites in release, insights and healing.

This wonderful wise women shared this morning "when my emotions are strong I can not think clearly".  After a few minutes Laurie was able to list the gifts of creating and birthing this 2nd place project...

  • Enjoyed creating
  • Creating increases creativity
  • Others had enjoyed supporting creating the project
  • Sharing it with others brought joy
When asked "are you complete on this?"  She went inside, tears again filled her eyes and she said "I am being a bad sport".  Who said it is bad to feel sad when we don't get what we want or feel we deserve?  Why would anyone who loves us want to layer guilt and regret on top of the sadness, anger and frustration we are being present with?  Laurie was wise and powerful in hearing and feeling the impact of this old message.  

It was easy to acknowledge Laure for her effort, clarity and wisdom in this situation.   I asked my friend to take on 2 requests:
  1. Spend some time being with this loss in a space of curiosity (noticing) and compassion (non judgement).  To think about, feel or journal and see what comes up.  
  2. Find ways to celebrate the effort put into creating and sharing the project.  
It takes courage to be present with strong emotions.  Our own emotions and strong emotions of others.  There can be gifts in giving permission to be a bad sport -- as long a we do not hurt our self or others.  

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