I used to play Kings on the Corner with my grandmother. It was a fun game that I enjoyed as a kid.
We played it often and I thought I was good at it. As I grew up it suddenly got harder. I wondered if I had lost my touch. Then I realized that my grandmother had been holding back. She had thrown the game to boost my confidence as a kid and when I realized it I confronted her.
“Why did you throw the game and let me win?” I said.
“Because when you enjoy being with someone it doesn’t matter if you win or not,” she said.
That stunned me. She wasn’t driven by ego to win, she rather enjoyed spending time with me and helping me feel confident about playing games and interacting with people.
I learned from her. I learned at an early age that winning isn’t everything, and that often what seems like winning is losing. As I grew up I saw people who “won” in life, and often it was to their greater loss. For example, that same grandmother lost her home in a fire and most of the possessions that she had. This was tragic of course but it also meant she had to move into town and then she enjoyed a community with her neighbors and was able to be close to the church she believed in. If she had stayed in that original home, it would have been harder to have that life and her final years would have been more stressful and lonely.
Sometimes the people who love us make us think we are better than we are just because they love us. Love doesn’t need to win, it just wants to spend time with the other person.