The One Game No One Wins!
Do you remember playing board games as a kid with family or friends? Was there one person who was a stickler for the rules–somebody who took all the joy out of playing by arguing every roll of the die?
Now as adults, we might find ourselves playing the “I’m Right, You’re Wrong Game”, but does concentrating on who’s right and who’s wrong ever leave anyone happy and satisfied? Have you become the stickler in your game of life?
if so, you can stop playing that less than satisfying game right away by learning three steps to help you move towards a happier, less stressful and more for filling life.
What are you thinking about?
Before you do anything else it’s essential that you figure out why you end up feeling tense, frustrated or angry in the first place. Take a moment and listen to what you are saying to yourself. Many times, upsetting thoughts end up focusing on things that you “don’t want” and who’s “right” and who’s “wrong” in this situation.
Your thoughts might sound something like this:
“They shouldn’t keep me waiting!”
“Somebody who really cared about me just wouldn’t treat me like that!”
“How can they think it’s appropriate to interrupt me when I’m talking!”
Each of these thoughts focuses on what you don’t want to have happen—don’t want to be kept waiting, don’t want to be treated that way, don’t want to be interrupted.
Focusing on what you don’t want makes it very easy to slip in to playing the “Right/Wrong Game”.
Where did we learn to play this game anyway?
The adults in our life played this game with us as kids as a way to teach appropriate and inappropriate behavior. We learned early on to distinguish who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s nasty and who’s nice, who’s good and who’s bad. As we grow up we get pretty good at identifying these things. We also learn to point out what we don’t want, but we’re almost never taught how to identify what we do want–the things that are really essential to us personally.
As we grow, we continue to play this “Right/Wrong Game”–even though it becomes a major stressor that affects our sleep, our attitude, and ultimately, our ability to be happy. Playing this game over and over, creates a cycle of discomfort, confusion and pain. In fact, if you feel uncomfortable thinking about the same issue more than three times, you’ve most likely slipped into this cycle already.
How does the discomfort–confusion–pain cycle work?
Stress can be caused by worry, frustration and anger. Your mood is affected by stress. How you interact with the world is heavily influenced by your mood. Unsatisfactory interactions lead to more frustration and anger. The cycle starts all over again and gets even harder to break.
When your thoughts return to the same upsetting situation, and leave you feeling uncomfortable, tense and angry, you’re probably headed to the Hall of Fame as a major-league player of the “Right/Wrong Game”.
But there’s good news! You can make a fairly simple choice to continue playing this game or to stop. As The Course in Miracles says, it all comes down to one simple choice: “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”
We know this is easier said than done. That’s why in part two of The Games People Play: Being Right vs. Being Happy we’ll take you from being a player in this blame game and show you three simple steps that will support you in playing a much more fun and satisfying game from now on.
Until then, start paying attention to your thinking. Are you focused on who’s right and who’s wrong? Are you paying attention on what you “don’t want”? The answers to these questions will support you in easily understanding and implementing the steps in part two.
Until next time…