soccer ball.jpgOn Saturday the US played England in soccer. It was the first time that they’ve played each other in many years. Last time the US won. This time the Brits were primed to beat us. Their fans taunted the Americans, making fun of the fact that we call it soccer and not football, which for us is a different sport. They insisted there was no way the US team could win. The British team is considered one of the best in soccer; the US team is not. While the score ended up tied, the members of the US team were winners!

Winning is in the eyes of the individual, not just getting the grand prize.

While they tied the game, the US team held their own. The Brits only scored one point off them. A tie helps them get further in the competition. It shows they’re a team to be taken seriously. The team was happy to tie. It’s sure better than losing or being trounced. As I walked the streets of Manhattan, American fans were celebrating while British fans were lamenting. Same score, same tie, different perspective.

Being a winner doesn’t mean you have to come out on top of everything you do. It’s a personal decision to recognize having smaller accomplishments as winning.

If you do something better than you did before–that’s a win. If you get a raise, even if you’d like even more–that’s a win. If you run in a marathon and finish, even in last place–that’s a win. Of course if you choose to focus on not being first or the best, you’ll stay a loser.

I was hard on myself in my DoorMat days. Nothing was good enough to me since I strove for that elusive perfection, which doesn’t happen. I ignored my personal wins and beat myself up for not doing better, no matter how well I’d done. It was an unhappy time of not loving myself and feeling like a loser who needed to please everyone for acceptance.

It took me many years to wake up to acknowledge that REAL acceptance begins with me. Being accepted for what you do for others is being used, not accepted.

If you feel like a loser, you’ll act like a loser and people will see you as a loser. They’ll take advantage of you when possible but rarely accept you for who you are. As I became more self-loving, I stopped being my harshest critic and began to see myself as a winner with each small milestone I achieved instead of waiting for the grand prize, which might never come in a way that others recognize as the top achievement.

But it no longer matters what anyone thinks now! Your personal wins are what YOU recognize as such.

Celebrate every small thing you do! Every achievement at work, new client you bring in, person you stand up to or cut loose, physical activity you do for your fitness–any little bit of progress in some area–is a win. The more good you recognize and feel proud of, the more your self-image will improve. That will help your self-love flourish and build your self-esteem–win by win.

The US team recognized that the tie with England helps them advance, so it’s a win.

The truth is, I’ve already won the top blue ribbon–the biggest brass ring–the grand prize. All of the small wins I’ve recognized over the years, and celebrated, have allowed me to feel so much strong self-love and confidence that I can’t imagine any win being better. I won myself, as a healthy whole, woman who feels happy to wake up to her life each day. If you embrace your own wins, however small they may seem to others, your self-appreciation can grow into the grand prize for you!

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