Competitive is not the first word I'd use to describe myself, even if I'm slowly realizing how competitive I really am. Going to the gym exemplifies this: I do believe I'm racing the person on the treadmill beside me. I have to one-up the person doing sit-ups beside me. I have to hold that plank a second longer.
There are definitely positive aspects to competition. I like to become more and more efficient at my job. I like to push myself to learn more skills. I like to try new things.
But there is definitely a negative aspect to it as well. When I see the successes in others, and I haven't achieved them, I can't see it as a "work in progress," I see it as a failure. Why can't I have a house? Why can't I go on that trip? Even when it is a goal I have that I am working towards, I find it hard to recognize the achievements I have made thus far. I begin to obsess about how far I still have yet to go, and try to find ways to get there faster -- even if it's completely unreasonable.
Since the Lenten season is upon us, I've decided to try to help myself maintain a healthy level of competition, where I do try to push myself harder to succeed (but in areas where improvement isn't an obsession -- the gym, guitar, etc), and in those other areas where I don't have as much control, or where my attempts aren't reasonable, I'm going to focus on the small victories. Rather than focusing on "giving up" my competitive nature, I'm going to find one thing, every day, that I should be grateful for, whether it's a tiny bit of progress towards a goal, or a simple joy I've found in the day.