If You Believe “There’s No Way for Everyone to Win” … Read This!

And if you believe “there is a way for everyone to win” … Read this!

Recently, a well-known news commentator* — remarking on a comment by Bill Clinton that the only way for us to go is to make sure everyone wins – emphatically stated, “THERE IS NO WAY FOR EVERYONE TO WIN!”

Would you, or do you, follow someone who made a decision that in life there’s no way for everyone to win?

And, whether or not you follow a commentator who believes this… do you wonder where a belief like this comes from… and how it can affect our lives and our world?

When I heard this comment from Glenn Beck,* it struck me so . . . as something so familiar. It sounded just like things I’ve heard from my clients so many times over the years. This statement – There is no way for everyone to win – is a classic example of what I call an “early decision.”

I’ll explain . . .
When we are children, and we suffer pain or trauma that’s too much for a child to bear, we bury the pain and defend against it by making unconscious decisions about ourselves, others, our world, and life in general. Now when we are children, an “early decision” may be a life-saver . . . it saves us from agonizing pain, perhaps emotionally, perhaps also physically. But as we grow, if we are unaware of this unconscious decision, and if we haven’t healed it, it can haunt us from our own underground, affecting our feelings, thoughts, attitudes, behavior, and choices. The important thing to remember is that this is unconscious. We are unaware this is happening inside us, and unaware that early decisions like this are driving our lives.

Here’s an example. . .
Let’s say you’re a child. Your father files for divorce because of your mother’s alcoholism. However it unfolds, you and your sister end up living with your mother. When you are 15, your mother commits suicide by drowning. Then your step brother commits suicide. You and your sister move to live with your father . . . the same father who divorced your mother and moved away. Without even realizing it, out of each of your traumas or out of the accumulation of your multiple traumatic experiences comes an early decision: There is no way for everyone to win!

Without even realizing it, you make that decision again and again at each painful incident. You also come to use that decision to defend against your pain. And you use everything you can . . . not only to defend against your pain, but also to hold onto that early decision for dear life!

You believe you are proving that decision every time you have a painful incident in your life.
Your first daughter is born with cerebral palsy . . . and you prove it again. You struggle with substance abuse and ADHD . . . and you prove it again. As an adult you use your power to prove to yourself over and over that there is no way for everyone to win.**

And then you draw people to you who also decided as children in their families that there is no way for everyone to win. You use your power and your following to make choices and take actions based on that early decision. If you have decided there is no way for everyone to win . . . what kinds of choices will you make and what kinds of actions will you take? Likely those that will make you and your following win . . . and everyone else lose. And if your following is filled with people who also made that early decision, how much chance is there that anyone you would listen to can pierce that decision?

Can you see how this would affect all of us? And our world? If our leaders, politicians, celebrities, and media don’t become aware of and heal their early decisions? And if each of us doesn’t become aware of and heal our early decisions . . . we could end up following the cause of someone who decided as a little boy, just like we did, that there is no way for everyone to win.

Remember, you are fighting for dear life to hold onto that early decision, and so are all those around you . . . Because when you let go of that early decision, you will be right back at the scene of the very first trauma out of which you decided there is no way for everyone to win. And back at that first scene, you will be feeling all the feelings you have been defending against ever since . . . which is exactly what we all need to do purposefully, safely, for healing. For once we have gone through and felt the pain we were so relentlessly trying to avoid, we will never have to hold it at bay again, and we can free up our precious life energy for constructive, creative, life sustaining changes for ourselves and everybody else.

Can you see how this would affect all of us? And our world? If our leaders, politicians, celebrities, and media do become aware of and heal their early decisions? And if each of us does the same?


*The well known news commentator was Glenn Beck. My intention for choosing to talk with you about his comment is not a way to comment on his politics, per se, but rather to utilize a perfect example to help us really comprehend the relationship of a child’s painful experiences to not only his adult life, but also his politics, the politics of our nation, the politics of our world and the well being of all involved. And how many times do we get to hear such a public figure, who is a leader in his arena, say one of his/her early decisions aloud and so publicly?

**This example has been created from some of the events in Glenn Beck’s life, beginning with his childhood.

© Copyright 2010 by Judith Barr, MS, LMHC. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • joe stevens

    June 9th, 2010 at 12:04 AM

    there is a saying that “if you believe you can accomplish something, then you surely can, even if you didn’t have the ability to do so initially”. this is all I would like to say to those who believe there is no way to win.

  • ERIN

    June 9th, 2010 at 2:22 AM

    I just think there are too many people out there who have been through a lot of unpleasant situations.Most of these cases are due to not having a stable family and due to parents separating, and that too early in their childhood. Family and couple counseling would help people who are actually looking at separation as an option.

  • Teri

    June 9th, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    What I think about this is that if this is the kind of feeling that you exhibit day in and day out what an absolute downer life will be. Life is what you make of it and if you go through always relying on the early decisions then I fear that there is a whole lot that you are going to be missing out on!

  • Judith Barr

    June 13th, 2010 at 7:34 AM

    Thank you all for your comments.
    Your sense that it is possible to heal is accurate.
    Your sense that we need counseling to help us heal is also accurate, for we all have blind spots.

    As I said in the post,
    The truth is . . . we all have early decisions, ones we are not even aware of.
    And they drive our lives in ways of which we are not even aware.
    We may believe we think everyone can win, while beneath our consciousness . . .
    we believe it’s impossible for everyone to win.
    It’s not that we consciously rely on our early decisions.
    It’s that they live in our unconscious and are an integral part of our psyche.
    It’s that they came out of whatever pain and trauma we experienced as children,
    and immediately began to help us defend against pain we were unable to bear as children.

    Our task is to commit to the counseling and therapy that will help us discover our early decisions and build the capacity to feel the pain that lay beneath them . . . making it possible for us to win, by leading truly conscious, healthy, and fruitful lives. . . and to therefore fully live a life of ‘everyone can win,’ adding the healed and true version to the collective unconscious.

    Thanks to all of you and many blessings,

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