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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The thing about all's fair in love and war

I don't know if it's something in the air or that time of year but lately I have had a number of conversations with friends about issues they are having with other people in their lives who aren't playing by the rules and come out ahead.

The questions ranged from "Do I tell our boss that he is outsourcing his work?" to "I don't think I can still be friends with her. Is it OK to feel this way?" and "I hate her for getting ahead this way.  I'm pissed that she's getting away with it. I'm jealous. Does that make me petty? Do I say something?"

I am experiencing the same thing too. I have a friend who believes you should always take advantage of situations if they fall into your lap. She always takes the receipts when she goes out with friends to use them for tax deductions. One of my friends has a friend whose parents made a hefty donation to her college right before she was accepted. Another friend has a friend who stretches the truth on dating apps. I once had someone tell a potential boss that I was trying to have a baby so I was unsuitable for job that involved travel. (I didn't get the job.) I have to wonder if winning feels good, even if you achieve your goals through unsportsmanlike behavior.

I have Catholic guilt. I have not always acted sportsmanlike. This is a hard thing to admit.  Truly. However,  I have found our that when you take the low road, it ALWAYS comes back at you. Maybe you won't get found out but you know what you did. Yes, it's tempting to know you can tilt the tables in your favor by taking a glance at the answer sheet or not sharing information with someone when you know it could help them get ahead but there is something to be said for acting nobly. Maybe you don't deserve the promotion right now. Maybe you don't deserve to get into that college. (Seriously, I have to wonder about the parents who cheated their way into getting their kids into a prestigious university. Do they realize that their kids actually have to do the school work once they get in?)

I believe that when you live your life with grace in your heart, when you take the high road, when you are transparent, when you say "I did this. I'm sorry." that life has a way of rewarding that behavior. Maybe you don't get what you wanted but you are a decent, kind person. You're the kind of person that your grandmother hoped you would be. You don't have to worry about being found out or that someone knows what you did.

It won't always feel good.  Life can be unfair. There will be some moments that sting but you can hold your head up and know you did your best. Maybe you lost the round but in the game of life, you won.

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