Where flattery meets phony
By Natalie Serafini, Contributor
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] pride myself on being a gracious loser. In the face of struggle, strife, and sucky situations where I definitely don’t come out on top, I push myself to be generous. Even as I bite back a grimace at the bitter taste of losing, swallowing the disdain that I feel at my core, I’ve gotten good at accepting defeat and being genuinely happy for the victor.
Unless they’re that person. They work hard, they’re superbly kind and friendly so you can’t really dislike them—but you do anyways. Their success is just too hugely expected.
You think, “I could do better than them if I set my mind to it, I just haven’t yet.” They’re your rival, but only in your head, and only because they’re too perfect in every way. It’s almost impossible to be completely happy for these people.
I’m fine with being happy for unfortunate people who randomly do better than me because the stars, planets, and heavens aligned in their favor; I’ve decided that is how they beat me, and since even I can’t fight the supernatural, I might as well be happy for their questionable victory. They can look back on their moment of triumph decades from now and feel good about having beaten Natalie Serafini in that egg race at camp.
[quote style=”boxed”]I’m fine with being happy for unfortunate people who randomly do better than me because the stars, planets, and heavens aligned in their favor; I’ve decided that is how they beat me, and since even I can’t fight the supernatural, I might as well be happy for their questionable victory.[/quote]
So you can be genuinely happy for the losers who win, because you’re generous and deep down you know it was a fluke—yeah, it was a fluke. My thing is, I like for other people to succeed, but within reason.
You can’t be completely happy for the perfect people because their success is altogether too consistent and too huge: they get better grades than you, they’re the valedictorian, and they get all the solos in choir. I’m always impressed and vaguely glad for them, but my congratulatory message is often another story. When I congratulate these people on their roaring success, it’s a generic “kongratulations!” with a “k.” They don’t need anyone else telling them they’re fantastic.
Is this okay? I do it, but as much as I like to find reasons to justify my bad attitudes, I think it’s better to be a gracious loser. I always find myself eventually liking people I started off hating. Why not push past the disdain from the start? You get the pride of knowing you’re incredibly mature and generous. Hey, maybe you even beat them in that category? Go you!
Besides, as much as I am pro-bitterness, it’s not worth it to fixate on the accomplishments of others as compared to your supposed lack: you end up wasting time that could be spent on getting ahead!
So even if it’s painful to get the words out, congratulate people for their accomplishments, however many there are; when you’re a roaring success, you’ll have that many more people returning the sentiment. Keep congratulating people until your fake happiness for them is genuine!