Do You Need To Win?

Do You Need To Win?- HSP Health Blog

Do you need to win?

Do you feel pressured to win?

Do you feel left out in a culture that creates winners and losers?

Where does this fixation on winning and losing come from?

Why do we compare ourselves to others and rank each other?

And why is this such a problem for HSP’s?

Where Does Winning And Losing Come From?

Winning and losing is about more than a set of values. They come from the survival and economic needs of a society.

Once a society knows what it needs, it creates the organization to answer that need. As the complexity of human societies increased, newer more complex social structures have developed to create different trades and disciplines to serve the needs of the society.

Each society creates winners out of those that further its survival interests however they are expressed. In some societies, that expression has been extremely violent, particularly if war was a constant. ┬áIn those situations, “winners” and the most highly regarded would likely be the warriors.

The social organization in a society often becomes solidified when different group form subgroups within a culture, affecting the growth and mobility of its members.

So what started out as a way to make life work often turns into a source of deep social friction and pain.

Effects Of Social Stratification

Social organization affects how we perceive our possibilities in life. By accidents of birth, we inherit a set of social expectations, and committments which may or may not serve us.

Our birth affects the resources available to support our lives and therefore our ability to thrive.

Unfortunately our options at a young age are often created by our circumstances.

There Is More At Stake Than Status

Ranking systems can affect our ability to survive, so they matter.

They also matter since there is more to life than survival.

They also matter if you recognize that we all share this planet and it belongs to all of us.

They also matter if you recognize that we are interdependent and social structure can make effective sharing more difficult.

They also matter because we all need to live in integrity and peace.

The Questions That HSP’s Need To Ask

HSP’s have a chalenge living in a society whose values are antithetical to their nature. For many highly sensitive people who need to ask aand find answers to these questions:

  • how to I survive as a compassionate person in a survival oriented society?
  • how do I maintain my integrity?
  • can I survive without becoming a pleaser, which is often how HSP’s resolve conflict?

Social Structure And Highly Sensitive People

When a society’s structure and values are survival oriented, the investments made are designed to further survival.

HSP values conflict with violent survivalistic cultural values.

HSP’s have difficulty surviving for values and other reasons:

  • our talents and skills are not combat oriented
  • we are not competitively inclined
  • we find one-upsmanship to be painful
  • we find that aggression is often reckless, in addition to being harmful, wasteful and counterproductive
  • we are not good at giving up our integrity for survival reasons
  • spiritual considerations trump status in our values hierarchy

Choosing A Path

HSP’s can do well when they find a path that ets them be themselves and maintains their vaue and integrity.

One way to do that is by becoming technically proficient in some area. Learning software or other technical skills woud be an example.

A second approach is to find a calling as HSP Barrie Pace has recommended. Healing, art, and spiritual work all fit in this category.

Of course, you can always do both.

For many HSP’s, self employment is a necessary step which enables them to create some quality of life for themselves and is worth considering.

The worst choice is a life of drudgery in a combative, status seeking environment.

Leaving the world of competition behind is one of the best things you can do.

I highly recommend it.


  1. says

    Hi Maria,

    This is quite an interesting article. I was attracted by the title of it. And as I read more, I realized- I am not a winner/loser in society, but tend to criticize and judge myself in this way… the old inner critic routine.

    I love your points about HSP and agree that I must be one of them- maybe that’s why I had to leave my job, create my own business, and love working creatively on projects that help people.

    I really enjoyed your post and it gave me a lot to think about. Thank you so much! Have a healthy day,

    • says

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for your perspective. The winner/loser paradigm in society is very damaging since we are often judged by our “success” which is often a simplistic and short-sighted way of looking at other people.

      Congratulations on creating your own business. Just using the word creating shows that you are a very creative person and that is excellent. HSPs need to value their creativity since it will help them solve a lot of problems.

      I look forward to hearing from you again.

      All the best,

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