It’s easy to miss it when you’ve won. The road to victory can be so painstaking and difficult that when you finally arrive, all you can think about is taking the next step, going further. Battle has become a habit.
Before, the goal was X. But now that you have it, you realize that it would be nice to have Y and Z, too. And what’s stopping you?
Pushing onward, it’s easy to forget what the goal was in the first place. Intoxicated by victory, you forget to celebrate at all. Moving from battle to battle, all that exists now is the struggle for more.
It’s is a form of ingratitude, this failure to acknowledge when you’ve won. When you fail to pause in victory, you condition yourself to expect only an endless struggle for more, never an enjoyment of that which has been accomplished. In a world without victory, we live with only hunger, never fulfillment.
It’s a path to brutality. When we are never satisfied, never allowing ourselves to feel that we have reached the goal, we become bullies. Nothing is ever enough, and we become willing to grind others into the ground in order to get what we want. Never celebrating, we see only the battle – only enemies to be conquered.
It’s important to know when we’ve won, and to stop. Stop and give thanks. Stop and forgive. Stop and show kindness to those who disagree with you. The moment you’ve won should be the safest time to do that. Be gracious in victory.
Can you think of a time recently that you’ve won? What did it look like to celebrate that victory? Where did you experience the temptation to keep going, to win another victory without practicing gratitude first? What does it mean to show honor and respect to those who had to lose so that you could win?