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“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”     Antoine Saint-Exupery

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”     Arthur Conan Doyle

“Joy isn’t the natural response to blessings – joy is what comes from acknowledging them.” Richard Paul Evans

Whenever parents compare kids the consequences are harsh. Yet many parents who do not compare their kids  still find competition rampant. Their  kids compete if not with each other then with people in their social circles. I question where all of the competition begins and I find  it never ends but appears to get worse.I am aware that the world is set up for a stage of competitiveness. We can’t take a walk without feeling we are being observed and assessed. Are we wearing the cool running shoes, walking shoes or sneakers? Do  our colors match and is our make-up right for day or night? Do we look older than our age from our lack of sleep? Will we run in to people we know so maybe we should wear the other coat? How about the hair and walk? Appearing confident is important.

Somehow the world was changed from a natural environment to one of clashes at every turn. It makes no difference if you enter the game or not. You are still measured and approved or disapproved. Of course if you are approved, people will dislike, distrust and envy you. They will also include you but attempt to discredit you. If you are found to be lacking you will be loved because we all approve of the downtrodden and we love to rescue and support others. It gives us a superiority feeling. That is good to support others but shutting down on those we technically admire is  not good.

I know some people who actually criticize themselves constant;y so that others will deflect their remarks and encourage them with praise. Other people  who just  want to share their positive news are met with smugness. Maybe that is our way of keeping the playing field even. When we notice another moving ahead we have the need to push  them back. So it goes. If we could only alter the evolving nature of the world in a more profound way.

Schools foster the competition with the prevalence of grades and honors for progress. There is no honor for work well done. It is based  on gaining rewards. I am all for encouragement and positive rewards but as a child matures the rewards should taper off allowing one to achieve for their own sake. The thanks is in the knowledge or skill and accomplishment. It might even be a voluntary support to another.

Games foster the same mentality with besting of another. It is hard to imagine any of us can keep a friend. After all, if our friend moves up in the world economically, it is a game changer. They make new friends as they travel in a different circle. Even if they choose to keep with the known group, they make them uncomfortable and end up having to make new friends. The group can’t maintain its’ own stability with the changing of circumstances.  It is a known fact that those that win the lottery usually switch everything about their lives including people they hang out with.

Liking people for who they are ought to make  us immune from such issues. It is also a known fact that two is company and three really is a crowd. Nobody enjoys fighting to be part of a conversation. One is always left in the dust feeling the pain of rejection. Is it important to be the center of attention? Must we speak a certain amount of time to  be correct in the threesome? Are we still the same person? We are the same person but sense we are losing the race. I am not sure what the race is. Most of us don’t but we perceive when we are losing.

Parents instruct the kids to include everyone yet they choose who they will sit beside at functions. I’ve seen many who bypass those they know without a thought. Many imperceptible actions are perceptible to kids who immediately pick up on what we model. Anything that can be contrasted with babies and children is made a contest that we all participate in. Unintentional situations that materialize are also suddenly an opportunity to judge. The more I think about it the more I find it hard to believe we can hold onto our friends at all. It most likely works when we are okay with the pecking order. If it transforms in any way it may topple the relationship.

If I am the one who is always searching for acceptance and my friend is the one in the leadership role offering advice, it is perturbing if we switch roles. One takes a step backward and one a step forward. In actuality the friendship might dissolve. Some friends are available for all of the problems. They relish their role as lead support. Once a person is back on their feet the connections are altered and the relationship may not go back to its original form if at all.

My point is we are never relaxed and enjoying a relationship without the added innuendos. Look at the magazines offering beautiful people. Observe the TV and the power and control of marketing. See our friends in a dither about keeping up with everyone else. Look  at the concern we have with homes kids and ourselves. Too much emphasis is placed on how others think of us and what we hold dear. I’d like to find the magic to change the world. If we could reset the button and delete rivalry we most likely would defeat many clashes.

If the world can’t be altered, the next best thing is ourselves. Resetting us might make a difference. The more we refrain from striving for nonsense things and praise, perhaps we will send others the message of relaxing when with us. We might share without judgement. I don’t care if my child pooped on the toilet at one and your child was four. If it is irrelevant to me I shall not be repeating the news to so many others. It really doesn’t make a difference to another person anyways. If I were to repeat it I still see it as inconsequential  to anyone else.

It isn’t necessary for me to make myself appear improved by degrading someone else. As our kids finish school and move into careers, we tend to dwell on their accomplishments. Although  we might be happy for them and proud,  we don’t understand that to others it may not be as important. I am not saying don’t share the news but I don’t think we must share the updates constantly. I only mention this because there are many who are suffering with their own particular adult child issues. This is no way makes their child less or more important. It also doesn’t mean they want attention. It simply means our roads are complicated and maybe we should stick to what is important.

I love hearing what is going on in other people’s lives. I do know that couples who are attempting to have a baby and are truly discouraged are not so enthused when they hear about others having kids. I don’t fault them. Sharing is one thing but flaunting is another. I remember one couple discussing their recent vacation with a couple whose husband just lost a job. I think we are just so programmed and maybe so insecure ourselves that we have the need to constantly hold up to others things we believe are to be treasured.

As I mature myself, I find worth in the simple things. Again no criticism to another s beliefs. I just place so much value on giving and receiving love. The happiness and contentment is powerful. It is so simple to find out your own gems. All we need to do is think about those things we would hold onto for the last moment as other things slipped away. That is our treasure. If you get worried about the competition surrounding your life, and the jealousy creeping in, recall  what counts in your life. you may  already have won the top prize yet you continue your search and struggle at the world’s calling. I know it is said that stuff bothers us only if we let it. By reminding ourselves of what we have to be grateful for, we dismiss the beckoning of false prizes. We do away with the competition and we get to know who our family and friends really are and we are able to keep them in our lives forever. Most importantly we find ourselves and serenity.

“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of Peace.” William E. Gladstone
“Don’t count your blessings, let your blessings count! Enjoy Life!” Bernard Kevin Clive
“Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.” Thomas G

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