Monday, August 8, 2011

Lonely Games Too

"I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you."
- Dr. Seuss, Oh! The Places You'll Go!

This weekend was spent down the shore with my family and extended family (Mariana!) doing fun stuff. There was swimming, running, long talks, beautiful sunsets, funny conversations with Pop-pop, and lots of corn, fish, peaches and spaghetti consumed (but not in that order thank god.)

There were games of Top Toss (I won the first two rounds!) and tanning competitions (clearly my dad won on that one) but there were also lonely games too. Even though they were NOT invited, my inner critic made a number of dramatic appearances over the course of the weekend. I've referenced my inner critic in a post before. Sometimes I call my inner critic Bellatrix as in Bellatrix Lestrange and sometimes she is a he and I call him something else, to which I will later dedicate an entire post. My friend extended family member, Mariana, was helpful in pointing out when my inner critic was running the show - telling me I shouldn't go out with her and my friends Saturday night because I didn't look good enough to be be seen- and she prompty reminded me, "your inner critic wasn't invited." I'm so glad Mariana was there to help me see when my inner critic was talking to me and when I was listening to the inner critic and following its ridiculous orders. She was a protective buffer between me and my inner critic. *Thank you, Mare.*

You see as Dr. Seuss says in his quote above, we all play lonely games against ourselves that we can never win. When we start sabotaging ourselves by listening to and believing our inner critics, we are playing a dangerous game against ourselves that we can never win. We can't win when we are playing against ourselves because conflict, competition and violence never lead to innerpeace (or innerpeach!) When we fight with ourselves, we will lose 100% of the time. It seems silly that  I would take a perfectly lovely weekend at the beach with my friends and family and turn it into something unbearable at points. But that is what happens when I start to follow the inner critic, when I listen to it berate me and tear me down, when I believe its insults and when I let it run the show. The inner critic is no fun. The inner critic wants to be miserable and wants me to be miserable. The inner critic loves to set me up for failure, to set me up against myself so that I can never win and so that I feel permanently trapped. Even though the inner critic ran the show for some parts of the weekend, the good news is that I realize it and that I realize how much fun I missed out on because I listened to the inner critic and not to Courtney. It turns out Courtney likes to be outside, to laugh and to love and connect with the people around her. She also really likes peaches (with yogurt!) and innerpeace innerpeach more than fighting with herself.

P.S. - There is a very big difference between healthy competition and unhealthy competition. For example, competing against Brian and his family in Top Toss (and busting on eachother in jest) is a form of healthy and fun competition. Comparing yourself to every single girl you see and feeling like you are fatter, uglier and less worthy than they are is an extremely unhealthy and dangerous form of competition. It is also an indicator - as the excellent Clarissa Pinkola Estes points out in her awesome post about jealousy - that one "is not casting one's nets beyond one's familiar small pond." Search for Clarissa Pinkola Estes on facebook and friend her to get her daily words of wisdom and guidance. And DEFINITELY read this post of hers:

Dear Brave Souls: Jealousy and Copyists are often Proportionate to Not Casting One's Nets Beyond One's Familiar Small Pond

by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes on Monday, August 1, 2011 at 12:55am
Beyond the Pond...

When there's not enough opportunity in a group's close-in environs, there's often way more than enough jealousy to go around. Dont submit to the latter. It will kill your creative life, make you a second-rate dreamer instead of an original do-er. Change environs. Dig to China if necessary.

In the world, opportunity for most all things is everywhere in the nearly 197 BILLION square miles of planet Earth, in a way opportunity is not available in the less than ten square miles many people, not live in, for we all live in various biospheres, but rather limit themselves to in thought and deed, at any given time.

In life there are not just ten opportunities per ten square miles of mind and heart. Rather, there are at least 196,939,900 opportunities in as many square miles. Multiply by 365. Think bigger. Broader. Deeper. Farther. Creative life needs broad vistas no matter how confined the body may be:  Do not stay in a ten square mile mindset when the entire universe of every and any possibility is yours. Whistle for your wolves and go.

with love,

"Beyond the Pond" endnote from La Pasionaria/ The Bright Angel manuscript, ©1982, 2011 C.P. Estés, all rights reserved.

1 comment:

Elina said...

Wise words! I recognize this said "inner critic" in myself way too well, but these kind of posts give me confidence to fight it!