I had an ‘Ah-Ha’ moment this week during and after an image competition. This was in regards to Buddha’s teaching of the four noble truths and how it applied to my life. The first 3 of the Noble Truths are:
1. Suffering exists
2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires
3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
I have discovered that my ‘attachment’ to winning at these competition has led to suffering. When desiring something so bad and becoming attached to it you may feel good on achievement but that is typically fleeting and not permanent. In trying to achieve this desire you can find yourself on the side of many negative emotions that lead to suffering. For someone like me this can even manifest in physical suffering as well as emotional.
My desire to score high in completion resulted in very strong anxiety. You may say that is common, but I’m not talking a few butterflies in the tummy. More like a swarm. My chest gets very tight and becomes hard to breathe, along with Naseua and dizziness. Even when I do score high this will continue on with each new image presented waiting to see if they score higher. Then the judging for best of class and if I make it that far best of show.
This isn’t the only feelings I have. I find myself resentful at times when a judge says something negative about my image or judgmental if another image out scores me and I don’t agree. I will internally argue with the judges thinking the dont know what they are talking about, I did that thing you dont like on purpose and so on. All this internalizing leaves me tired and not feeling well into the next day as I continue to dwell on it.
I’m not saying I’m going to stop entering these competitions or strive to do my best at them. Just that I need to change they way I view and react to them instead of feeling that the judges need to be changed or are always wrong. Image competitions are meant to be an educational experience and that’s the way I need to look at them. It’s not a life or death thing and I need to have more fun with it, enjoy the experience and share that joy with the others that do well. Even when they do better than me :).
Have you ever been overly competitive to the detriment of your health?