“He says he is winning all the time. Who are you when you don’t win?”

– Doris Kearns Goodwin, speaking of President Trump

Forget about politics. No trolling, snarking, self-righteousness allowed. Every one of us, in our youth, with every “A” on a paper, and every “D” on a test, felt either validated or outed as completely worthless. But later, for many of us, maybe most, who have defined ourselves not by love but by demonstrating an ability to be lovable, failure is guaranteed. If perfection is your standard of lovability, you are doomed to an unloved life. If what defines you is limited to the measurables, then the impossibility of living up to expectations—yours, others’, the cultures’—is inevitable.

We are judged by everything we are given. Every paycheck, every gift, every look from a stranger conveys more than the moment (but, also, is completely confined to it). You could be fired in a minute, get cancer, lose a loved one. And if, like with every President and public figure, your every act is judged as evidentiary of the greater reality of who you are, then any break in your script, any flubbed line or wardrobe malfunction will reveal that you just suck.

And we like that. Because all of us register our place by the place of others—this is called jealousy, or schadenfreude—and that fearful confirmation is as shallow as we are, every day.

The last generation has exponentially increased all that is measurable in our lives. If the world can reveal our worth or confirm our legitimacy or celebrate our value, it can also display our terminal inability to perform. And it is terminal. The baseline performance of life will inevitably get the “F”. We know the bits of our bodies that inevitably degrade no matter how hard we work or how fortunate our circumstances. The mocking, goading, reveling is all performed on the sinking ship of mortality; all the anger, joy, hate and devotion of the moment, of the Internet, are momentary.

In all the extreme complexity being revealed by science every minute of every day, there is no base reality revealed. The are but two constants, gravity and God. The rest is human judgment. And anything human is brewed in subjectivity.

The hardest thing for anyone to swallow, especially the winners, especially you, or me, is that we are objectively loved. Born in love. Loved in our essential reality. Not judged and abandoned, or lauded and affirmed.

There are no greater realities than the dumbest ones: gravity and Love. The noise of our passions, our grotesqueries, our follies is, in the end, meaningless. It is that undeserved, irrational love based on nothing but itself of which Doris Kearns Goodwin discovered the absence in the latest drama of current events.

If you live for winning, you will always fail. What then?