General Question

wundayatta's avatar

How have you dealt with losing?

Asked by wundayatta (58604points) May 19th, 2009

I’m sure we all have more than one instances in the past where we have lost in a competition of some kind. Maybe formal competition, or maybe a less formal kind like in love, or in seeking a promotion, or in getting into a college.

I applied to six colleges—most of them Ivy League, and I only got into one that was decidedly not Ivy League. It was a college I had never heard of before I started applying, and I only applied because they sent me a letter inviting me to.

I was feeling pretty shitty. I certainly hadn’t met my own expectations. My father eventually told me that he was proud I had gotten into that school. But the shame of that loss didn’t really leave me until I had been at the college for a while, had made friends, and had come to understand that it was the perfect place for me.

What’s your story? Why did you lose? How did you deal with it?

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25 Answers

Blondesjon's avatar

Losing happens. Winning happens.

I’m just happy I was around to participate.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I go through the five stages of dealing with loss.
1. Anger
2. Depression
3. Marble Slab Ice cream
4. A beer at the bar
5. A new resolve

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

My ex husband and I built a business together, we were both artists and this gave us an outlet for that love as well as the means to make a good living. When we divorced, the business wasn’t possible anymore and to me it meant my identity was lost. Everything I had wanted to be up to that point was wrapped up in what I had been doing and the loss of that was hard to take for my ego. Since then, a job is job but not really who I am or a deep part of me. I miss feeling part of an artist community with my product as proof of legitimacy, a lot of ego and pride got wrapped up in there. Finding myself and finding the artist within again has been rough but necessary, it’s made me more resilient to change, open to opportunities I’d previously scoffed at. Now I’m confident I can take up where I left off, resources willing and the fear of not living up to my potential is lifted.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Wouldn’t know. That’s because I’m a winner.

Ok smart ass remarks withstanding, I try to learn something from the loss and put any hurt behind as soon as I can.

lillycoyote's avatar

I wallow in a very shallow puddle of self pity for a, hopefully, short time, then I dry myself off, pick myself up and start all over again. Not to say that each loss or failure or disappointment doesn’t leave a little scar, but I try not to dwell on failures and regrets and try always to look forward, try to look out the front windshield to what’s ahead of me instead of focusing on the rearview mirror.

Aethelwine's avatar

I deal with it.

I know that I’m in the majority.

cak's avatar

I went to school on an athletic scholarship, I’ve experienced my fair share of winning and losing. I guess, because I participated in sports for most of my life, I learned how to handle it pretty early in life.

In any situation, I go in hoping for the best. I understand, though, that no matter what, you can’t control the entire situation, so there is always the chance you will lose.

When I do lose at something, I do examine what happened, but I don’t really obsess over it. I try to find where I was weak and work on that, make that a stronger point for me, so the next time, I am much stronger and lessen the chance of losing, again.

To sulk, whine or let it truly defeat you….that’s being a loser. There’s nothing more annoying to me than someone that lets a situation defeat them. Move on. Everyone loses at something, eventually. It just means you are like every other person on the planet.

Aethelwine's avatar

@cak I lurve you!

dannyc's avatar

At the beginning, very badly, but I have learned a technique. I wait one day to digest my emotion and disappointment, then reflect on how I might have done things differently. I share my disappointment with select friends who then encourage me, and make me feel better. I then have more knowledge and seem to lose less often in future.

zephyr826's avatar

It depends on the loss. I’m a cubs fan, so the experience is a familiar one. Even when things are going well, Fate can still step up and ruin September. The thing I have to realize is that no matter how much it hurts at the time, as my father says “it just doesn’t matter. it just doesn’t matter.” (He does a personal conga line around the room while he says this – I think it’s from a movie, but I’m not sure which one.)
In the grand scheme of life, very few losses matter. It doesn’t affect my personal worth that my team can’t seem to win when it’s important, that I didn’t get into the school I wanted, that my ACT score was not as high as my sister’s and brother’s. What matters is that I’m alive, healthy, and have people who care about me (even if they are supposedly smarter than I am.) Once you learn to accept that, it gets easier.

Now I have that image of my dad stuck in my head. If you do know what movie it’s from, please let me know. I need to put in on my Netflix queue.

ubersiren's avatar

There’s only been one situation where I’ve ever really put my entire self into something only to be cut out. That was a relationship I had about 8 years ago. When we were in high school he was the nerd and I was the slightly more popular nerd. So in our college years when we reunited and moved in together, I thought he was mine forever. After a short time, he didn’t love me anymore and kicked me out. I was shocked, angry, very depressed, and hopeless for 3 years after that. Not to sound all “Woe is me” about it, but it really felt like death… only worse. Until that time I hadn’t really experienced the feeling of loss. The rug had totally been pulled from under my feet. I lost my place to live, 20 lbs, my sense of self, and my joy.

I dealt with it by whoring around, writing some horrible “poetry,” making lots of mixed cds, working 2 jobs and going to school to keep my mind off of everything, not eating or sleeping, and eventually going insane and moving to another part of the state to find a new life.

All this time later, I feel like I was stupid for letting it rule me for so long. I just wasn’t his fit, and now I know that he wasn’t truly mine either and splitting was the best thing that could’ve happened. Back then, I thought I’d be miserable forever. Now, I can look back and almost be amused by those strange, surreal years of my early 20s.

justwannaknow's avatar

It is no longer politically correct to lose. Everyone is a winner! even first graders know that just ask them.

justwannaknow's avatar

I lost my first wife to another man. What did I do? I told his wife and she shot him. 12 Ga. to the crotch does not let you be much of a ladies man anymore. Ex-wife is still hiding from her.

wundayatta's avatar

@justwannaknow “It is no longer politically correct to lose.”

How true! It seems that it hurts the kiddie’s self-esteem. So they design new games so there are no winners and losers. We’re all on the same side. We no longer rank people, if we can avoid it, so everyone feels ok.

There is something to be said for this, but it has drawbacks, too. It’s nice to know how you stack up against others, or else how can you know you need to improve? Or know you are really good? Or believe either of those.

I’ve never known how I stack up, and I’ve always assumed I wasn’t very good. Everyone else always seems to be doing better—making more money, being happier, having more friends, etc, etc. The things I’m good at seem not to be valued by others.

None of this may be true. Maybe I’m better than I think. Maybe worse. But I just don’t know, because, as you say, it is no longer politically correct to lose. I think there is a lot of mediocrity out there because so many people are just hunkering down and trying not to make mistakes instead of trying to do something useful and personal.

3or4monsters's avatar

Life: I don’t see things in terms of winning or losing, because to me that requires strict rules and guidelines, and life is too much of a shitstorm of random events for hard, fast rules. I think of it more as failing and succeeding. I know I’ve had minor failures, minor successes. Major failures and major successes. What keeps everything in perspective is knowing that tomorrow things could change, so to appreciate the good AND the bad as they happen, to learn from those experiences, because they are transient, and in the end, I am in control——if not of the events around me, then of my reactions to those events.

Hockey: I’ve won games I felt shitty about, and lost games I felt great about. What matters is how much I put into it, not what I get out of it in the end.

BookReader's avatar

…just two weeks ago after placing second in a 5K he-man run(fun run my sore glutes), the first place finisher came up to congratulate me, and i growled, caveman like, in his face…i, then, told him that i would beat him next time- to which he responded with his own growl…his was the better growl-grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Darwin's avatar

I love to act so I subject myself to frequent auditions. Trust me, if you can’t handle losing (ie. not getting the part) acting is not for you. The only thing to do is try to figure out why I didn’t get the part, see if there is anything I can do to solve that problem, and immediately look forward to the next audition.

DarkScribe's avatar

Only when the computer cheats.

Yes, like most people, I have lost people dear to me, that is the only form of losing that counts for me. To have someone die. Losing in competition is a part of the game, and I have never lost a job or a relationship.

Facade's avatar

I guess I haven’t dealt with it. I always seem to come in second place to someone when competing. I’m winning more and more these days, but I still hate to fail.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Certain losses have stung, yes, but I’ve always known (well, maybe not always) that there are reasons for why I didn’t get into a school or why I didn’t get a job or the relationship broke up – these reasons aren’t always revealed so I just move on and hope eventually I’ll undersand…it has always worked for me, I’ve learned that in my life things unfold the way they should and I’m just too narrow-focused sometimes to see it

mattbrowne's avatar

When we started to play board games with our children we figured out that losing is actually winning. A parent-child win-win situation so to speak.

In general, in my opinion you can’t grow in life without losing, without mastering a crisis.

ccbatx's avatar

When I was little i used to get so upset and jealous, but now if I lose I just tell myse;f that it happened for a reason, and it makes me want to prove the last loss wrong by trying even harder next time.

Alegio618's avatar

I don’t handle losing very well, so I try to do it as little as possible.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

you tend to be able to deal with things better if you deal with them often.

how emo did that sound?!

3or4monsters's avatar

@tiffyandthewall I GA’ed it anyways, mostly because of the emo-comment. :)

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