While people often ask this question, our society has been set up to insure this idea of everyone getting along does not consistently happen. From a young age we are trained to see those different from ourselves as our enemy. We are trained to compete against each other. We are trained not to trust each other. We are trained to blame others rather than taking personal responsibility. We see this in politics, religion, education, sports, economics and in many other areas. One of the things that fuels this “us versus them” mindset is competition. Competition has been around for a long time because it does have some positive aspects such as:
- Encourages us to strive to be better than we thought we could be
- Teaches us to set goals and to keep after them
- Not to give up when things get difficult
- Keeps us from becoming lazy and mediocre.
However, competition also has some negative aspects that prevent us from getting along with each other. It sets us up to have winners and losers and our value and worth as a person is determined by if we win or lose. Rather than seeing you as an equal, I put you down, instill fear in you, see you as an enemy, verbally attack/taunt/bully you, so I can win rather than you. It is hard to feel love toward another person when you are treating them this way. While competition will most likely always be apart of our culture, I would like to encourage you to consider the benefits of cooperation.
- You are valued, wanted, loved, and accepted for who you are, not for what you do.
- You work together to help each other meet your needs or wants.
- You feel loved whether you win or lose.
- You can celebrate who you are without having to prove yourself against anyone else.
- You value other people and do what you can to help others, not just yourself.
- Because you feel love toward others, you seek to understand them rather than fear your differences.
- You live with less anxiety when you are not competing against each other.
- It is easier to trust people when you are working with them rather than opposing them.
- You see yourselves connected to each other.
As you interact with people this week, whether is it co-workers, friends or family members, start noticing the times you find yourself competing versus cooperating with them. When you find yourself competing, ask yourself why, who is it benefiting, how does it make you feel, how does it affect the one you are competing against, it is helping you get along with others? And when you are can, choose cooperation over competition. Let us celebrate and seek to understand and respect the differences between us rather than trying to prove we are better than someone else. We are all part of the human family, all from the same Creator God Source. We can all get along when we choose to.