A loser

fisherman-twilight-72What is a real loser?

You may have heard the expression, “Sometimes when you win, you lose.” There is the flip side, too. “Sometimes when you lose, you win.”

Considering all the times that the 45th President of the United States has called people losers, I’ve been wondering if being called that is such a bad thing.

What if being a loser is learning a cosmic lesson?

Without insulting or degrading myself, I would have to step up to the plate and claim to be a loser.

I lost at love. People I have loved, sometimes passionately and deeply, left for greener pastures. They decided that we were done or that logistical obstacles were too great for us to join hands. Once that decision is made, it seems futile to me to fight it. Some married others. Some seemed to fall off the planet, never to be heard from (by me) again.

I lost at career. I never had what I would consider a dream job. I had some fun gigs as a freelance writer, which included experiences I still treasure, but I never made it into the center stage of a job that filled me with passion and zeal. Despite being a published author, I did not feel exceptionally successful. The what do you do question fills me with angst because I don’t have much to talk about at cocktail parties, which is probably one reason why I am so introverted—and I don’t like cocktail parties anyway.

I lost at things that I wanted very much in life. Bad eyesight ended my baseball career (yeah, so I was still in Little League, but I had to give up the dream.) Being born cross-eyed didn’t help matters with self-esteem. When I became an intimacy junkie in my thirties, I cringed at the phrase “eyes are the window to the soul” because my eyes weren’t the right stuff. It’s only gotten worse with aging.

I am a loser at being able to perceive spirits (no clairvoyance, no clairaudience, no clairsentience, no NDE or OBE.) Despite being intuitive and creative, I feel as if I lost out on the ability to have tangible proof of life in other dimensions than this physical one. When people talk about their astral projection trips or hearing from their deceased loved ones in a variety of intriguing ways, I feel as if I am a loser.

There’s more but you get the idea.


Coping with loss has been a big part of my life. Despair has sucked up a lot of energy. But it has also led to much spiritual growth, so maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

One of the first things that coping with loss entails is achieving consciousness on more important levels of being human. Society often peddles us a black-and-white, win-or-lose mentality about nearly everything. Win is good and lose is bad. But only when you deal with your own losses do you learn that loss arguably teaches more than winning. And winning often follows the lessons learned from having lost a bunch.

Getting everything you want might feel good in the moment of victory, but in the big picture that may span multiple lifetimes, is winning without losing worthwhile? It is often said in afterlife research circles that we come here to Earth School to learn about love. Part of that is to intimately know separation (i.e., losing.) Losing helps us better appreciate winning—or any of the experiences we succeed at having.


Losing is often a change agent. It forces us to veer off our habitual thinking and doing. As we look for answers or solutions, we have the opportunity to grow and change. It is not always obvious, but we often end up in better situations from our loss recovery. Stories abound about people who lose one job or relationship or living situation only to find a better one, often through circumstances revealed only after the loss.

Going through loss is often not fun, and it doesn’t help when some New Ager does what I just did: you’ll do better, just wait and see. But the more I’ve aged, the more the principle has proven truthful. What I like to do is feel the loss and absorb the pain—not deny the ouches—then look for the gifts or opportunities. I ask myself if I designed that loss for some reason, what is that reason?

Fiction authors put their characters into harm’s way all the time, often as a way to lead their characters to the prize. In so many stories, part of the creative formula is that your characters must struggle and suffer before they triumph.


The concept of losing often supposes that we are living just one life in one environment. We get what we were born with in terms of our genetics and faulty status. The assumption is that if we don’t accomplish what we hoped for ourselves, we’re losers and failures.

Normally people do not account for the possibility that our higher self built our loss into our lives by design. Many of us do not believe in multiple lifetimes or a higher self, so obviously these possibilities are not part of the thought process. Nevertheless, more evidence is coming out that suggests that our lives have certain scripted events that happen to help us learn important lessons.

For one, there are past life readings or hypnosis regressions. These often suggest that someone came into this life to experience certain things, and many times, those things involved loss. In my recent book reading, a suggestion was made that many soldiers were incarnated to experience 1) their own death, 2) the death of a close friend, 3) the death of a son or daughter. All of these would normally be considered losses.

However, in a bigger picture, those losses were simultaneously successes for the soul. They were wins!


You don’t necessarily have to go woo-woo to appreciate how losses can be victories. In one period in my life, and I know this is shared by millions, I found myself hard-up for work. I was single and just had to take care of myself, yet on the other hand, going it alone can also be very scary. Just about all my meager income went to pay my mortgage. One winter I went without heat except for three extremely cold days.

I understand that I was still in the lap of luxury considering how many people are forced to live in dire poverty. It was tough for me, though, and I found myself doing without plenty of pleasures and some of what others would call necessities. Yet as humiliating as it was, it was also a time of great creativity.

The biggest gift was that I found out how much I appreciated what I did have. I was not collecting new stuff; I was enjoying what I already had. I also enjoyed receiving the generosity of a few kind souls who befriended me, showed me love, and made my life happier.


We are taught as kids to fear losing. Parents, teachers, coaches, bullies, siblings, and others learn the art of casting the rhetorical voo-doo spell of insults by invoking the loser concept. Due to all this social conditioning, when someone loses big, he or she is often scarred for life. It’s like a big pile-on. Not only is there the content of the actual loss, but there’s all the mental rubbish that goes with it.

It pays to have a healthy philosophy about losing to help weather the storms of any form of defeat. It’s a bit like the famous story of the salesman who convinced himself to love hearing no because he knew it meant he was that much closer to hearing the next yes.





11 thoughts on “A loser

  1. Char says:

    Thank you for being so open and candid. Wonderful writing!
    P.S. I’ve always thought your eyes made you mysterious and unique, in a good way. You could have used that to advantage if you weren’t so shy (wink) but that doesn’t make you a loser.
    P.P.S. Please don’t ever take anything that #45 says as truth.

    • Joshua Bagby says:

      Thank you, Char, for your comforting and supportive words. Regarding my eyes, it’s difficult to know what anyone really thinks because people are so trained to be PC about stuff like that. An no, I do not regard 45 as a truth-bearer, or truth-barer for that matter.

  2. Duffy McMahon says:


    Wanted to tell you I forwarded this to Pat. He didn’t look at the author and called me into the room after he read it and said…I don’t know who wrote this…but it’s brilliant. By the way, I think there is a big difference in having loss and being a loser. I don’t believe any person is ever a loser…while they may have loss or “not win” something…it doesn’t define the person as a loser. Duffy >

    • Joshua Bagby says:

      Thank you, Duffy. I think that most people who are called losers or think of themselves as losers will not make a distinction between having loss and being a loser. It’s not part of the insult culture. That’s more of a lesson in therapy or spirituality. Our culture seems to be pretty keen on stereotyping loss as losing and as being a loser even though in the bigger picture there is the difference you suggest. Glad Pat liked the post, too.

      • poohsmom16 says:

        When I met you, I didn’t notice your eyes- I quite honestly just “felt” you, and the beautiful energy you brought with you. I’m a believer that there are no coincidences, that we plan each meeting and experience. I have had a painful life in many ways, but each loss made me stronger. Strong enough to withstand the cruelest loss of all, my beautiful baby girl. I will tell you that creativity comes from the Soul, and is a form of connection to spirit, similar to the clairs. It’s channeling from your higher being, much the same as I now channel her. This was a beautiful, honest, and inspiring thing to read. Thank you for reminding me that each loss has a flip side, one we often miss if we don’t take the time to think it thru.

      • Joshua Bagby says:

        Thank you for your kind remarks. Clearly there is no spiritual basis for calling people losers, yet here in the world of duality, of opposites, we get caught up in competition, ranking, and the resulting name-calling. I always think that a new vision of losing is very helpful, especially after getting into afterlife research and seeing how some of the most devastating “losses” have brought the sufferers some important gifts. So many conversations at the recent symposium were about that, at least indirectly. In the big picture, and as hard as the experiences can be, our losses are transformational wins.

  3. godtisx says:

    This was a slow burn for me. I read it, more skimming it, because I am insulted by knowing myself as a loser. Not that anyone has ever directly called me that, but in the words they have used and the perspectives they’ve openly shared about me with me, some refer to me as one.

    And in many ways like this post, I count the ways myself, that I’ve lost the war in life. Sometimes pointlessly fighting the battle. The funny thing about your post is – I thought about it for a while this morning. Thinking about things you pointed out, adding them to insights about life (from last week), resulting in feeling that some of the things I have been assigned the role of “loser” through, whether by myself or others, were wins buried in the losses.

    At my job I speak to alot of husbands and wives, separate from each other, and you would be amazed how much (when no one else is watching, and they think, not even me) each tramples on the rights and potential wellness of the other. Recently, it has left me with a very different view of the face most present. AND WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A FAILURE ON MY PART – never securing the husband and kids.

    Doesn’t make me better than anyone, but recently I realized the grass isn’t so green.

    So I lost at that. But — did I??

    This is a brilliant post. Love your writing…

    • Joshua Bagby says:

      Sometimes a slow burn is the best of all. Thank you for sharing. Recently I was with about 500 people in an afterlife symposium. So many stories of loss emerged there, yet at the same time, so many stories of transformation and rebirth. Loss propels us to look harder, explore more, and question the reality we have been taught. I know for me it sometimes feels strange to spend so much time alone, single, when I am such an intimacy lover, but all that time has allowed me to write, explore, and discover worlds within my own consciousness that probably wouldn’t happen if I were partnered. Dynamics change, that’s all I’m saying. I am glad you reframing those thoughts that have pulled you down. And yeah, the green of the grass is fickle!

  4. godtisx says:

    Hmmm…stories of transformation and rebirth. I feel like I am in the middle of the field, in the middle of a 180.

    I understand what you’re saying about how you spend your time as well. However, maybe depends on the partner? But yes, the green of the grass is FICKLE.

    • Joshua Bagby says:

      I have had some lovely partners in my life, but very few of them have been intrigued by the topics that fill my writer’s world. We gave partnership a go, but it turned out to be more for practical reasons than sharing passions. It could be a very different story if we shared passions in common.

      • godtisx says:

        I used to feel the same. Something happened when my mother died, I can’t truly let anyone near me. But I hope you find that person Joshua. You REALLY deserve all life can afford you. You’re gifted.

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