I’m under no illusions.
“To kid myself into thinking I don’t play mind games, would be my mind tricking me and doing that very thing with itself: playing mind games. So there’s no ivory tower here.”
In nearly every moment of interaction, between one human being and another, there’s some sort of gameplay. In a strange way, there’s a beauty in this, especially when you understand the rules and are on top of your particular game.
It would be naive of me to think, just because I’m looking to remove much of the gameplay from my life – through being mindful during my interaction with others – that others, will simply recognise this, and cease their incessant gameplay with me. Not a chance. However, the saying: it takes two to tango has a powerful bearing on me here.
When interacting with others, whether we like it or not, we’re going to get dragged into some kind of gameplay; it’s a fact of life. A fact of life, that all human interaction involves some kind of play, the trick, is to learn how to enjoy it, and how to play well. In other words, we must learn how to win.
“Over the years, an error I’ve made during much of my gameplay, has been within the simple rules of building rapport. In order to build good rapport, we often need to agree and sympathise with someone else’s point of view, plight or cause.”
So with this in mind and to be more exact, it’s not my ability to build or understand the rules of rapport (we can all agree with others if we try) that’s at fault here, it’s believing I actually need rapport with everyone. Why would I need to do this? Because I want everyone to like me? Why would I need everyone to like me? In an attempt to cure loneliness, that’s why. Now that I’ve cured this, the rules of my gameplay have changed entirely: I’m now playing to win.
“To be more specific, I’m no longer playing a game that panders to everyone, including the losers, because I’m no longer a friend of all the people; I’m no longer a people pleasure. From this point forward, I’m only a friend of the fearless.”
To explain further, and be even more specific, we can narrow down gameplay into two categories: Games of Fear and Games of Love. These two categories of games are played by losers and winners respectively.
Consider the games played out between children on playgrounds every day. Let’s say, Sandra and Jemima have fallen out. Jemima went swimming with some of her other friends last week and forgot to ask Sandra (gameplay). In an attempt to seek retribution, and gain favour with Jemima’s friends, Sandra might make up some stories about her. These stories will be designed to create some sort of prejudice, in the minds of her friends, so that they may then reject her. Sandra will now need to place herself in a favourable position, so that others will like her and shun Jemima, to this end, perhaps she’ll bring some sweets or drugs to school (it is 2017).
Provided it pans out as she intended, Sandra now feels some kind of satisfaction, from gaining new friends, and will most definitely enjoy eating her dish of revenge cold. Sound familiar? Anyway, the main purpose of this game, is to combat the fear of rejection and loneliness. This is a game of fear.
Alternatively, let’s now move to the other side of the playground, where we see a strange child being singled out by a group of boys because he’s quiet, and seems a little different. He’s being bullied, and now one of the boys has pulled his trousers down and everyone is laughing, all except one that is. To everyone’s amazement he’s taking of his trousers also and is now standing next to the quiet boy in just his underpants; everyone has stopped laughing. The lad says clearly in a loud voice: “and now what?” The bullies back away in fright of his fearlessness.
This is a game of love and was being played by a brave (some might say foolhardy) empathic and intelligent young lad. It may seem to you that there aren’t many of these kinds of people around, and yet, once we remove our fear, we all have the potential to be the protectors of the downtrodden and the bullied.
“We’ve all had times when we’ve looked to build rapport with fearful bullies, because we’ve needed to be liked, wanted to fit in, or simply didn’t know otherwise.”
Only playing with those who choose to focus on games of love, means were more likely to open our lives to some extraordinary people. We easily find these people when we stop needing to be liked, and we remove fear, when we know we’re safe. We build our sense of safety when we stop flinching away from what makes us feel uncomfortable. The more we face our fears and embrace all that makes us human (our emotions) the greater our chance of stepping out of games of fear, to welcome loving, and empathic people into our lives.
I’m not suggesting we all take our trousers off, what I am suggesting though, is we take the time to become mindful of the type of games we play, and why we play them. Remove the fear, and only play games of love now.
Inspiration taken from the book: Create Beautiful Partnerships