Once in Thailand, I was almost victimized by a terrorist-linked international client that hurt me. I kept shaking my head because I was their guest yet always left alone in strange places. Immediately after I arrived home, a couple met me that led to my most productive work ever. A loss can be a blessing! Was it real loss or simply my “winning in disguise?”
Reality is, it’s important at times for you to lose in order to win. Trauma victims or older men and women often have self-views that are clearer because they’ve often been washed with tears of failure. Pain and glory often blend together in life. It’s a matter of critical maturity for you to be able to suffer defeat and keep standing after the defeat.
I have a patient named Mike who demonstrates this principle. After crashing a multimillion business venture and incurring huge debts, his family and friends began distrusting him. His darkness consisted of people avoiding him in get-togethers as if he’s afflicted with a contagious virus. Even his wife and children developed a negative attitude and low respect towards him.
Overwhelmed by the trial, Mike sought psychotherapy. His tears during our sessions were one of his powerful lessons that there is meaning in spite of his loss. Whereas before, arrogance and narcissism characterized him, over time his pain fostered deeper self reflection and approachability in him. His losing provided him a contrast against which his winning can be defined and pursued.
Thomas a Kempis wrote, “It is good that people sometimes misunderstand us, that they have a poor opinion of us even when our intentions are good. Such experiences lead us toward humility and protect us from conceit. Under trying circumstances we seek God all the more. Our inner life grown stronger when we are outwardly condemned.”
You’ll never know what winning truly is unless you’ve experienced some losing in your life. Delusion damages your self when you think that all that matters is winning. Show me an excellent loser and I’ll show you a person who can handle the heaviness of life well and keep his self esteem intact to keep on going. Remember, an excellent loser is not “all the time” loser.
Yes, winning can be through losing. Losing teaches us that life is of value even when we are not winning. No darkness is forever. Since winning and losing occur in all our lives, the issue of being a winner or a loser is ultimately a matter of life perspective. It’s a mindset.