Monday, May 10, 2010

The Hurt Feelings Game

Healing Rays: A Progressive, Positive, Practical Weekly Reflection
by Durrell Watkins
May 10, 2010
{Healing Rays is sent to an email subscription list each week and is published in the Sunshine Cathedral weekly newsletter, the Sun Burst}

The Hurt Feelings Game

Here's a game I (inexplicably) like to play: The Hurt Feelings Game

Round 1 -
Someone hurts my feelings (it happens). But instead of shaking it off and enjoying the zillion wonderful things that are happening in my life, I obsess about that one tiny, silly, moment in time when someone forgot that my feelings were the most important things in the universe. Advance to Round 2.

Round 2 -
Now, I start to remember the 15 other times this person has hurt my feelings. This is the bonus round where I suddenly win a bunch-o-self-pity! Lucky me.

Round 3 -
I start to remember when other people have hurt my feelings. Oh, I'm on a roll now!

Round 4 -
I'm now telling myself how insignificant I am, what I loser I've become, and how dreary the world is. Gloom, doom, the sky is falling. There is nothing left to do but rent myself out as a speed bump.

Fifth and Final Round -
I'm wallowing in misery, so depressed I can barely function, all the while the Philistine who has stepped on my emotional toes (in all likelihood unintentionally) is going merrily on with his or her life. Game over. I lose. Wasn't that fun? Shall we play again?

Then I happiness doesn't exist outside of myself, and if I ever pretend that it does, I'm bound to end up playing this %*&# losing game. I can desire anything, but when I become attached to my desire, I've invited disappointment into my life (and disappointment is an excellent guest, never refusing an invitation!).

So someone didn't notice I lost half an ounce this week? So a friend didn't send me a card for Asparagus month? So someone I once cared deeply for and I have drifted apart and might never be close again? So someone thinks Rev. Hellfire has better theology than my hero, Rev. Godzluv? So someone really likes a political candidate that I'm sure has an allergy to sunlight and holy water? So someone doesn't think I'm a good dancer or a good cook or a good Jacks player (they are wrong, by the way! I was the first grade Jacks Dad was so proud!)? Is any of that so important in the grand scheme of things?

The point is, if someone has been intentionally unkind or unfair, I can confront them or even choose to end my association with them. But what I shouldn't do is dwell on the past and choose to be miserable over something I can't change. While I'm playing the Hurt Feelings Game, I'm missing wonderful opportunities to enjoy life now. Maybe you're like me and could benefit from releasing the past to the past (and yes, breakfast is already the past!), refusing to play the unwinnable Hurt Feelings Game, and starting to enjoy all the blessings that are here for us right now.
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Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned is an honest struggle to apply critical thinking and practical reason to the myths and metaphors of ancient scriptures. The author believes that creative writing can be true (and in fact can offer new truths as each reader approaches a text) without being factual. Wrestling With an affirmation of truth that does not demand the literary symbols of scripture be taken literally. Rather than asking religion to redeem people, the writer is asking thinking people to redeem religion so that it can be relevant in the 21st century.

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