You’re a Loser...But Take Ls Like a G with These Steps
Winning is the best. We feel like we’re on top of the world getting an award at a special dinner, someone saying yes when you ask them out, or for you BJJ-ers out there, standing on top of the podium receiving a medal for winning in your weight class (more kudos if it’s for open weight). Nothing beats the feeling of knowing you’ve achieved something; The feeling of being on top. When that feeling is consistent, you feel unstoppable and that nothing or no one can beat you.
But when we lose, it’s the absolute worst. Getting rejected, coming so close to winning but losing after making a careless mistake, then seeing that person who beat you stand on the podium while you look up at them. When all these things that happen in your life happen, it makes you feel like you’re not worth anything.
The sucky thing is that we are all losers, we can’t escape it.
But, in our losses (the Ls), the lessons learned can help make for bigger wins in the future. Which is why I want to talk about my biggest Ls (highlighting BJJ and dating as my inspiration for this post) and how I learned to take them like an OG to become a bigger winner.
Jiu-jitsu can be one of the most positive and life changing things you participate in, if you know how to approach it. If you go into it thinking that you’re going to automatically win every time, then you’ve gone into it wrong. I had that mindset to start when I needed to beat everyone down and win in every circumstance: gym rolls, positional sparring, competitions, coming to the most classes per week, etc. etc. Then of course your humbling begins when life happens: you meet someone better, stronger or faster, you aren’t well versed in a technique, so you get throttled every time you roll, you have a job, kids, social life, and then those two-a-day trainings become once a month.
If you keep the “I need to be a winner at any cost” mentality, you end up losing every time. You can start to make excuses for yourself about why this technique didn’t work or why you ended up tapping during every roll you do. I’ve been in situations up to even recently (today when I trained) when I feel that my jiu-jitsu is trash and I’m never going to get better. You might even want to quit if you don’t learn how to reevaluate the losses you’ve taken.
I would say my biggest L came after I lost a match back in 2017. I made a stupid mistake and got arm barred. I had won the previous match by 14 points and felt that I could continue to kick ass. I was arrogant and thought that because of my size and the fact that I was “participating” in BJJ (aka not actively training) I was going to win. Tapping to a girl who was at least 20kg lighter than me was the biggest blow my jiu-jitsu ego could have gotten. I was afraid to compete for a while, but it gave me the push I needed to get better and stop making excuses for my jiu-jitsu. When I competed again, I wasn’t afraid because I knew I put in the work.
How excited do we get when we see that special person across the room and think about all the possibilities. Then there are a variety of Ls you can take when you decide to approach them… Too many to even count: they reject you, they’re taken, you get with them and you find out they’re toxic AF, they’re only in town for the evening, it goes on and on and on.
This section I have to speak solely personally because I feel that I have taken the most Ls in this area. I wear my heart on my sleeve, I’m a romantic (don’t want to say hopeless romantic because I have built up my common sense), and my main thing in relationships (both platonic and romantic) is that I want to feel loved and accepted. I feel that sometimes I invest so much into a relationship and when it doesn’t work out, I go into a #singleforever mood where I look at people around me who are getting married and “living life”. (I’ve gotten better at this, if you check out my Staying in your own lane post about wearing blinders when it comes to the other people in your life[DJ1] ).
The World Series of Ls in my dating life was when I was seeing this dude, known to my friends as “yoga guy”. The first L I took was when I realized that he lied to me about his age (by nearly 15 years…Older! I can hear some of the people asking if I was hanging out by a high school) followed by other “white lies” that I was gaslit into believing I was making a big deal about them. Even after hoping and wishing it would work out (dumb I know), I get a message from him saying that he met this “perfect girl who was everything he wants in a woman blah blah blah blah”. I listen to the message and the first thing I could think of to do is curse him out. But I just stopped myself and thought “what good would it do to curse him out when his whole intention might have been to hurt me or get a rise out of me?”
I had my thumb on the record button to give him a piece of my mind but nonchalantly switched to text message and replied with “I’m happy for you. Thanks for the time” then deleted him right after. I graciously accepted all the Ls knowing what was up from the beginning of the lies and I’m quite proud of my growth. I think a younger me would have tried to curse him out and blocked him to take back the Ls I already lost. Sometimes in these cases it really isn’t about you, it’s about the other person and you make it worst by trying to win the dignity you thought you lost back.
After you get bombarded with all the Ls, how do you deal? Here are some ways that can help you take them like a G:
How to take the Ls like a G
Realize that it isn’t the end of the world
We always think that when we lose that it is devastating in some way and that we will never come back from it. We sometimes think that we are taking several steps back in that loss and we will never get ahead. It is important to remember that this L that you’ve taken is just a small bump in the road, despite how big it feels. You’ll recover and you’ll get better. In BJJ, this might mean getting better and defending a submission you lost by or learning how to counter it. In dating, maybe you realize how you like to be treated so when the next person comes around, you know exactly what you want, and you won’t compromise.
Realize you gotta play to win.
When we take the Ls, we sometimes just want to give up and never experience that L again. For me, that meant not competing for a while after I lost that bjj competition and even considering quitting. I fell in love with BJJ, and I didn’t want to give up so easily. I didn’t compete for a while but I did eventually go back into competing and will try to compete more so I can get better. I know that if I want to grow within the sport, I just have to keep going and not be afraid of losing again. If you decide to remove yourself from the things that scare you, then how will you live your life? You can’t be afraid to try that thing you’ve been wanting to try or talking to another person because you’re afraid of breaking your heart again. The beauty of life is that that the losses make the wins greater.
Reevaluate what could have been done better
Look back on the loss despite how painful it is and see what led you there. There is that embarrassing moment or that extreme blow that you feel deep in your stomach. Then work through that feeling to think how you could have avoided it. Don’t think of it in a regretful way but recognize the pattern that led you to it and think about what you’ll do next time in order to not feel like you’ve lost. I thought back to my loss in jiu-jitsu and did more to avoid the mistake to train more, get better, and do what I need to do to win the next competition I did. When it comes to dating, I learned to first value myself and realize the things that I want in a relationship and noticing what red flags were there when I was with that person. Once I figure all that out, I cut out all the bullcrap before it can even begin.
Know you are enough no matter what area you’re in
In all the negative thoughts, the ones especially telling you that you suck and that you should quit, just note that you are just learning and growing on the journey. Also, I know it can be hard seeing other people excelling in the areas you want to excel in. You might be a loser now but with your hard work, you will be in a place of win too because you are worth it.
In the end…
We all lose but what makes us better is the fact that we must and will continue to face challenges head on, kick ass, and become the Gs that we’re meant to be.
My question to you is: How do you deal with losing in your own life? Add me on Instagram @blackgirlwhitegi_bjj to share with me and others who want to take their own Ls.