Something I should have told you sooner...

Life is not a competition! 
Really, it's not.

When I was young, I spent the better part of my life jumping through hoops to gain attention and make my parents proud. Being the 5th child of 6 kids, I learned early on that I got the kind of attention I liked by bringing home good report cards, winning the gold medal, or coming in first place. 

I grew up thinking that life was a competition for affection, attention, and pride because I had to fight for it.

History repeated itself with the birth of my twin daughters, which I imagined would be best friends for life...

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What I got was two girls constantly vying for my attention. A reflection of my childhood, and an opportunity to amend that? Maybe.

Everything became a competition between them...Who got more cereal, who got to bathe first, who picked the better friend to play with, who got the better mark, who wore pink and who wore purple.

It was exhausting. 

So, I took on the role of the referee but soon found out that didn't work.
I lectured them on kindness and sharing. That seemed to work with others, but not with these two sisters.

I was willing to try anything so that they didn't feel how I felt when I was a little girl...with the sense that everything in life was a competition. I even resorted to crying.

I've found out the only thing that works is unconditional love, kindness, and surrendering...

...and maybe (eventually) a maturing of them both.

The war between them escalated this past year when one of my daughters was accepted into a special grade 6 program at a separate school.

The daughter who wasn't selected was heart-broken and angry that her sister got in. She raged at her and fought with her, argued more than ever, and when confronted with the fact that maybe she was jealous of her sister, ran off and slammed her door.

Gradually a softening occurred. She begrudgingly accepted my hugs and enjoyed coming home for lunch because her school was in our neighbourhood. 

She started to think independently, realizing that no one was comparing her to her sister but herself. 
She only had to be herself and realized that was enough.
She is beautiful as she is.
She is only 12, and my biggest hope is that she retains the confidence that comes from confronting herself.

"The only competition we have is with ourselves."

When we stop trying to win at all costs and we start striving to only better ourselves, we learn self-respect and self-love.

You are a beautiful, divine spirit.
Collectively we can create change by learning to love ourselves fully.
I see you and you are beautiful.

With love and gratitude to you all,

Kathy Donnelly