When You Win, You Lose

My mom and I got in a fight recently. It was big. And it was ugly. And I was right.

Like most women in a family, we can have knockdown, drag-out, all-around crazy kind of fights. We yell, flail, and make mountains out of molehills.

We both stood our ground and dug our heels in, making point after point all for the purpose of proving that we were right.

That’s the goal, isn’t it?

It’s not reconciliation. If it were reconciliation, we wouldn’t act like that. The goal is to win, to be right.

I knew I was right at the time, and in hindsight, I’m still positive I was right. I won. And here’s what winning looked like—here’s what that meant:

It meant that I hurt my mom’s feelings and made her feel bad.

It meant that I regretted what I said, no matter how true and right it was, and consequently I felt bad also.

It meant that it drove a wedge of hurt and distrust between us and damaged our relationship.

It was one of the many situations in life where you want to win so badly, but when you win, you lose.

Remember in You’ve Got Mail when Tom Hanks says to Meg Ryan, “I must warn you that when you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows.” It’s the same thing. When you win, you lose.

Or it’s like dating that guy. You know the one. He’s the one that plays games, sends mixed signals, and wanders around in life trying to “find himself.”

You attempt to drag him along because you see what he could be. You try so hard to win him over. You think that if you could just be pretty enough and awesome enough that he’d pursue and value you. But even if you do “win” and end up with him, that’s a situation where when you win, you lose.

I know it’s hard to give up the good fight.

It’s hard to give up on someone when you want so badly for them to be what you know they could be. More than anything, you want them to see and appreciate you for all that you are.

And it’s hard to let someone else have the last word and be right—to bite your tongue and walk away.

But what’s even more difficult is a lifetime of regret.

Whether it’s winning a fight or winning the wrong guy over, remember that in some situations, when you win, you lose.