Last night my roommates and I had a game night, various card games like Munchkin and exploding kittens. Normally I would make winning my priority because I value the winning experience. Making winning the only thing that matters can actually make playing the game not very much fun at all. So I chose to alter my priorities. I chose to make Player interaction my priority instead. What happened was that everyone won a couple games and had a lot of fun along the way. Many times I did things that made no sense to the other players, Seeing that confusion in their faces made me smile though and lightened the atmosphere. When all was said and done I had more fun losing than I have had winning in quite a while.
This illustrates the idea that “there is more opportunity for joy along the journey than there is at the end.” Don’t get me wrong , Winning feels great. The drawback only going for the win is that you only get to feel good when your winning or have won and someone else has lost. There is no in-between either your on top or your not. I have lived this way for most of my life and I can say that it results in an emotional rollercoaster of major ups and downs. Very stressful way to live. This isn’t the first time I have realized this truth. Nothing else feels like winning does and that is what draws my focus and attention back to winning over and over.
The Cycle for me goes like this, I get frustrated with losing and get depressed so I have the epiphany that if I can make playing the game fun then I always win in a way :). Not long after I start playing just to have fun I will start Winning a lot and get hooked on the winning feels best train. I will ride this train until I Start losing a lot and get depressed. Rinse repeat or change games or find something else to do that I might be able to win at. Over and over I am seduced by the dark side(winning) and find redemption in the light side(Playing for fun). So why do I keep repeating the cycle?
That is a really good question. It might be that I am hollow to some degree and am always looking for the next high in life. It might be that I like the highs and lows a bit, I have done this before. When I was younger(in my early 20’s) I hated water and would drink 2+ litres of cola a day plus redbulls etc. At some point I decided to make healthier decisions (from a place of thinking I was not healthy) And cut out pop and caffeine completely. After a month The results I had noticed were, My energy level remained steady all day, I had trouble sleeping because I no longer would crash to bed, Life seemed to be Steady and boring. So I chose to reintroduce 1 cola per day. What happened was that I would get a rush (high) for a while after and then I would get the low after that. For me this made my day more interesting. DO the highs and lows of sugar/caffeine/consumables and competition (winning/losing) Have value to me?
Yes. There is value in every experience. Perhaps I am getting somewhere with this, DO I actually Benefit from this pattern? Or Is this just another aspect of “Chasing the dragon”? Is it worth it to feel like shit tomorrow if I get to feel good today? I Say yes to that question everytime I start drinking. My mind Is telling me that I would only be reaching for Drugs/alchohol/sugar/caffeine if I had some need to feel better than I do. So now I wonder, That boring life without the highs and lows, could that have more opportunity for joy? That idea works for gaming.
Have I forgotten what feeling normal is like? Is that why life without highs and lows felt boring and unappealing. the highs are so good but don’t last very long and the lows only last until the next high. I just might be that my addiction to feeling high has made feeling normal feel bad. That would mean that I believe something to be true that isn’t.
I have been Brainwashed before to believe I wanted something that I truly did not want. Cigarettes/nicotine Where a part of my life for an average of a pack a day for 8 years. I had tried quitting several times, each time experiencing strong withdraw symptoms. Finally Someone bought me a book called “the easy way to quit smoking” I read it over 2 days every spare moment I had and on the second day I smoked my last cigarette before bed and woke up a non-smoker. I had 1 craving a couple days later that lasted about 30 seconds. Almost unbelievable how strongly I believed that it would be hard to quit. That book walked me step by step how to Change my mind about something and reverse my programming. I believed that smoking made me feel better and/or brought me relief. That simply idea meant that smoking would always be an option to make me feel better when I was down. This is why many people who stop smoking don’t actually quit and will start again when they are down.
It is quite likely that I have other beliefs like this that aren’t actually true to me. Some that I have been considering have to do with anything that makes me feel better. Is pot just like cigarettes? making me feel better short term only? Sugar, Same deal. Is Sugar just another quick feel good that actually leaves me feeling worse after? Caffeine? Pain meds? Even Food can fall into this category. I think anything can be used like this if I believe that it makes me feel better. So By what metric or standard can I decide when something is actually beneficial?
Do I value The High more than my Truth? Am I reaching for these things to make me feel better because I feel not-good? That would mean that I am feeling lacking and searching for something to fill that void. Then over time It becomes habitual to smoke a bowl or eat some candy or have drink even if I am not craving the high. Also once I reach the high The moment I start coming down is the moment I start feeling the need to fill that void. Problem is the void is now bigger and will require more to fill it. Chasing the dragon.
If/when I figure this out it will be life changing as I have been chasing highs for as long as I can remember, Probably since my father left my family in a very dramatic way when I was 5. I remember things before that and I remember things after that. I do not remember the night it happened . My Mom told me that I screamed and cried for hours until I passed out. To this day I get very choked up and cry anytime I see something Father/son in a movie or elsewhere. Also Super heros and soldiers Get to me like nothing else. Ill dive into that another day.
So its pretty safe to say that I have some deeprooted pain and probably some false value or belief that is keeping it hidden. I hope to uproot it and allow it to heal one day.
What in your life causes you to have reactions that are out of your control?