A few posts ago, I wrote about the difficulty of figuring out what The Thing You Can’t Not Do is when you’ve spent most of your life avoiding doing things.
A couple of posts ago, I wrote about the moment when I finally discovered what it really felt like to get something I didn’t care about out of my life.
But getting out is all well and good – how do you know when you’re doing the opposite?
A couple of weeks ago, I put some posts up in local hobby groups on Facebook, announcing that I wanted to get rid of the RPG stuff still on my shelves. It was pretty successful – folks have picked most of my gear up, though I’m still struggling to divest myself of some of it, even for free.
One of my initial hand-overs included the Lacuna roleplaying game. the gent who took it came to my place to pick it and Deathwatch up and we got to talking. He told me how he’d become enamoured with the ideas in the game since he researched it prior to making an offer and that he was going to put a group together. I told him that I wouldn’t mind joining in.
A couple of days later he e-mailed me. He’d got some folks together and was getting a game ready.
If I were to try and put my immediate emotional reaction into words, those words would be: “Oh, crap.”
That was it. My first reaction was that I wanted to not be involved.
But then I started trying to talk myself around. How did I know whether it’d be any good, whether I wouldn’t have any fun? I hadn’t tried it yet. Maybe it wouldn’t be that big a deal. How cold I say not to the guy’s enthusiasm?
That, I reckon, is giving in: deciding that your basic reaction to something isn’t right – or that actually saying “no,” especially when it does no one any true harm, is the less favourable option than disappointing someone else.
So I called the gent, apologised and explained that when it came down, I didn’t really want to play Lacuna. He was a little disappointed but otherwise cool.
Since then I’ve started becoming more aware of those times when I find myself trying to talk myself into something I don’t want to do. I’ve noticed that it tends to happen a lot on things that don’t otherwise matter too much – like staying at my computer when I could be up and about, cleaning, tidying up or mowing the lawn. (Those things are surprisingly easy to do; you just do them. It’s only when you’re stressing out about other things or are feeling greedy that you pass them up for other things.)
How do you know when you’re giving in?
Become aware of your honest emotional response to the world around you, and of the words your brain uses. That initial gut reaction when you’re presented with something is the most “you” that you can get.
Listen also to the words you sue when talking with yourself. Do you try and talk your way into acting contrary to that gut reaction? And what’s the emotion behind those words? Is it shame? Fear of the judgment or disappointment of others?
If you feel the need to goof off doing something you need to, ask yourself: Am i goofing off because I need to do something to cheer myself up right now? Will the thing I want to do honestly help me? Will I honestly get any real joy or sense of achievement out of going online and playing a game for a couple of hours? Am I just trying to scratch some kind of itch?