You win. #winning. Win-Win.

What does it mean to win? Outside of sports, where there are clearly defined rules and generally a person or team has a better score, what does it mean to win?

Search Twitter for #winning and you’ll quickly see that winning is political and we have redefined it as proving someone else wrong, appearing to be in a better position than someone else, and general one-upmanship. Search Instagram for “winning” and you’ll find everything from people drinking beer to people liking their outfits to people asking their bird to congratulate the Raptors to people showing how they decorated something.

I’m not convinced this bird is really a Raptors fan, but he’s cute.

How they decorated something. Their body, their house, their dog or cat, their car, and even their political argument. Winning has become about decoration instead of function. It’s become about how we look to others instead of who we are.

Our outfit may have cost $500 but if it covers a body we don’t love or a heart that chooses self and hurts others, are we winning? Our house may have nice things and decorations for every season but if it’s holding bad energy from the past (and present) or we have to hide in it, are we winning? If our country has your preferred political party in power but our retired citizens and military veterans cannot access medicine they need, are we winning?

Our “winning” news and media feeds should be filled with examples of acts of love and bravery and courage and resilience. Pictures of scars that show a healing. Pictures of people helping others. Pictures of leaders trying to find compromises. Pictures of people rebuilding. Pictures of people who’ve succeeded despite something.

My girls both won awards this week – one for dedication to academics, arts and service and one for most improved student. I am so ridiculously, incredibly, smiling-from-ear-to-ear-while-crying-happy-tears proud of them and I don’t have adequate words to express it. These particular recognitions are significant because, really, they are about resilience. And while I’m over-the-moon happy they are resilient, I can’t kick the feeling that they never should have been put in a position to need to be this kind of resilient this early in their lives. The ugliness that forced their resilience is not decorate-able.

The thing of which I am most proud is how they each responded to the recognition of their achievements. In separate events where they didn’t see how the other behaved they were both happy and proud, and they were both humble and cheered on and hugged their classmates who were also recognized. It reminded me that winning is about being a good human and it’s about encouraging others.

I know very little about sports, and all I really know about the Cowboys is that they can’t be all that bad because they love navy blue and navy is my favorite color. I visited the Ford Center a while back and I learned about the Hail Mary. I’m not sure I think it’s really a way to “winning” but I like the idea of doing something while hoping and praying for the best. I was also introduced to this Jason Garrett gem: Fight. Fight to be your best. Fight for each other.

Because winning is about fighting and trying. Winning is trying, and trying, and trying again. It is fighting and fighting and fighting. It’s about continuing to fight and try even when we fail.

Winning is small steps day to day, like taking the stairs up to the office. Winning is big steps, like finishing a marathon. Winning is refusing to hide. Winning is embracing our scars that show healing. Winning is forgiving. Winning is helping others. Winning is having the courage to ask for help. Winning is collaboration. Winning is not focusing on self. Winning is not looking for winners and losers. Winning is being real with others, without hiding under any decoration. Winning is loving and being loved without any decorations.

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