Win-win or win-lose?

We had the European football, Wimbledon and of course the Olympics and Paralympics, that saw us through the summer weeks, if we had felt in need of watching the talented, athletic and energetic putting themselves through whatever sporting disciplines they have spent their lives perfecting and developing to world class levels.

Each of these athletes or competitors spend years of dedicated training and focus their life towards their dream of competing, and winning, at the highest levels. When it all comes together the elation must be incredible for the winner; those who haven’t matched the elite performance levels somehow pick themselves up and compete again.

I prefer watching (not running) the London marathon or similar events when the focus is more on the masses of people each achieving their own personal success in completing the course at all – each has their own target or ‘personal best’ to aim towards and it is possible for each and every participant to feel success and achieve their goal.

To my mind, something of the life of heaven is in the way everyone can find a successful outcome. Heavenly living is something we can all aspire to, and can all find too. In other words it isn’t a ‘prize’ for a special few or the nicer part of a reward or punishment outcome we discover at the end of this life.

According to the books of spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, God has made us all with that angelic potential and it is His desire that we use our time on earth to discover for ourselves the joy that caring for others brings; that way we are making ourselves ready for the unselfish life of heaven where love of God and love for each other rule the thoughts and actions of everyone.

Love like that requires consideration and self-sacrifice from each of us. Seeing someone who needs to talk and unburden themselves in a difficult situation means we can help – but we help by listening and not by saying “that reminds me of…” and launching into one of our own tales.

Being willing to spend  time with someone is what really helps relationships to flourish, time to get to know them, time to perhaps understand their different views on life and hopefully time for them to see and appreciate your qualities too. That works best with a positive approach to people and situations, being willing to see where you can fit in – not where you can squash them out or force your ideas into situations.

There will be times when we feel our voice needs to be heard but this can be done in kind and considerate ways without destroying or diminishing others in the process. It isn’t always possible to find the ‘win-win’ scenario in our difficulties, but hopefully we can avoid the ‘lose-lose’ ones and work with positive and generous attitudes towards the best outcomes possible.

And this summer may we all have found something to celebrate in the achievements and successes of the students with exams, the athletes in their chosen sport and for us in our own personal high points.

Based on material provided by Christine Bank 2012

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