When I was young and in elementary school, I was fairly competitive. I won first place ribbons in 4H, I earned Super Reader trophies, and I was nicknamed "the animal" by my gym teacher when I played soccer. I was very fit when I was younger. I rode my bike from the time I got home until the lights came on in the evening. Most of this changed upon my parents divorce as I wasn't even allowed outside by my mother's ex-boyfriend in high school.
This need to prove myself came from feeling I wasn't good enough from my extended family (mostly on my dad's side). My dad was super intelligent, so his family did not praise me for good grades or pretty much anything I did. It was expected. I was able to meet expectations, but never exceed them. I'm sure this was brought on by the utter disdain they felt for my mother. No one was ever good enough for my dad. Both sides of my extended family mentioned many times before I was even a teenager that I would be pregnant by the time I was 16, which was total bogus (I didn't even have my first kiss until I was 27 in 2018, but this is a whole other topic for another day). I have since cut ties to my extended family as this led to depression and attempted suicide in 2015. No one knows you better than yourself. Don't let other people dictate to you who you are. A lot of people think my attitude comes from my mother. It does not. My frankness comes from my mother as well as the refusal to stifle emotions, but holding grudges, being competitive, my drive, being reclusive, being picky in partners, being shy, and most of the other things that make up my personality come from my father. He holds grudges more than anyone I know, but he doesn't talk about it. He stifles it down and lets it boil, so his anger eventually comes out like a bubbling volcano. I won't let my emotions boil. I prefer to remove myself from people who are causing the problem or to confront them. I don't need anger issues.
This need to prove myself led to competition with my sisters. I thought I was better and smarter than them which led them to wanting to prove themselves in this terrible cycle. I recognized this problem in my junior year in high school. I then went to repairing my relationship with each of them. I was mean and terrible to them. It wasn't necessarily my fault. There were parenting issues as well. I just decided that I wanted to have relationships with them. So I worked through my problems with them and more importantly their problems with me. I learned that it is better to not criticize people constantly (which I was doing). Also, if you're going to criticize someone— don't be a jerk about it.
Instead of directly saying to someone "You're fat" or "You're getting chubby" or "You need to lose weight" it's better to say "This helps me to lose weight" or "Would you like to work out with me?" or "Would you like to try this smoothie/ health food/ healthier option?" or "You look better in this" or even "I like the way that looks on you". The first set of comments are destructive to someone's self-esteem. The second set are encouraging and helpful. Just pointing out someone else's flaw is a jerk move as they are probably already aware or working on it or maybe it isn't that important to them at the moment and you are just being a jerk. I was mean. This is just one example.
I was mean and had to learn how to be encouraging and helpful. I don't want to tear people down. It's not righteous and it doesn't make me feel better. If you don't want someone to point out your flaws by being a jerk, then don't do it to them. I learned this the hard way. I could stand to lose a few pounds. If anyone told me I was fat. I would just roll my eyes and never talk to them again. At this stage of my life, I have learned to care for myself mentally and emotionally (I'm still working on the physically part). I just don't need other people to tear me down. I can do that myself. I don't need anyone who says destructive things. Like I'm not smart enough to see my own flaws?
Competing against other people is overwhelming at times. If you are a singer and you are comparing yourself to Aretha Franklin or Christina Aguilera or Adele or Beyonce or Freddie Mercury or Phil Collins or Chester Bennington then you are going to feel overwhelmed. Don't focus on those other people. They can be your goal, but don't compare yourself to them. Focus on competing against yourself and constantly doing your personal best. Use your idols as benchmarks and top skill sets. For an example singing benchmarks will be vocal range, matching a note, pitch, how long you can hold a note, etc. If you say I want to hold a note as long as Adele, then you are not going to feel lost or helpless. You can practice holding notes. You have something to work on. Rather than saying, "I want to sing like Adele" you want to work on specific attainable attributes of her singing ability. Keep going and working on you. Don't compare yourself to directly to other people.
Compete & Be Competitive healthily. Don't bring other people down. Don't compare yourself directly to others. Be kind to others and yourself. Toodles