I hate to lose.
I mean, I really hate to lose. At anything.
And my most hated way of losing is when I actively screwed up despite knowing better, and did not do everything I could to win.
Yet, as time passes, I start to see some value in defeat. Oh, not in the defeat itself. No, no, no. A hatred of losing and love of winning is healthy and good. The opposite is disastrously bad.
But on the occasions when defeat has its way, there is probably some value to be had in it.
You know, when you're in a sad, low, and defeated mood, your chest gets kind of tight, your mouth dry and tasting of acid.
It is, objectively, unpleasant.
Yet after I get done kicking and stomping my feet and calm down, I've found you can almost appreciate the taste of defeat like a particularly acidic wine.
I quit drinking a little more than five years ago, so I don't get to experience the bitter, slightly poisonous slightly cloudy mentality from a strongly acidic wine... but there is something to it, y'know?
And thinking just like that, the defeated feeling gives way to reflectiveness, which is infinitely healthier and more positive than despair. Yes, perhaps these are lessons here. Ah, now I can scale my arrogance back, and not be defeated in larger measures at a later time. It's not good that this error was made, but I am still at a point where I can recover from it - much better now than when an entire empire would crumble later.
And I think that's it -
Perspective can transform how you're feeling. Sadness gives way to reflection, defeat gives way to recovery and rebuilding, anger gives way to determination.
The worst of the emotions are rare, and the positive emotions are heightened afterwards from the contrast. A certain perspective - enjoying the acidity of defeat like a glass of wine, or savoring sadness for a moment for its rarity, or harnessing the adrenalin rush from anger into something productive - this perspective makes even the most debilitating of emotions serve you dutifully.
ohhh shoot, I just realized u added this feature a couple days ago. Sorry... Please ignore my last "PS part".
So beautifully written... u know what was the other thing u wrote that really touched my heart - "Remember to be grateful for the darkness, because it shows you the stars, for sadness, because it makes happiness stand out more."
You are such a talented writer. Sometimes everyone knows about certain things; and philosophy itself is so dry. But you presented them so well. It is always good to hear your refreshing perspective. I just wish that more people could see your word at the right time of their life...
PS: Sebastian, I think you should add an "Email me if anyone replies" feature to your blog. It's kinda necessary especially if someone replies to one of your old posts, and then you might reply, but they won't remember to check back.
A lot of my heroes come from the Sengoku Warring States Era of Japanese History. Here's two quotes from Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate:
"Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has past through. Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of the enemy. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others."
"The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience."
I think in the big picture, patience is the way forwards, the way to win. You take small actions each day towards getting what you want. But, I think it's critical to guard your time from nuisances and distractions. In micro, on the minute by minute level, I think being impatient is the better way - look to fill dead time with learning, dispense with formality and bureaucracy as quickly as possible, talk about things that matter instead of smalltalk and pleasantries, break away from organizations and people that don't respect your time. In macro, in the big picture, patience and steadiness is the way. In micro, on a day to day level, impatience is the way.
Nearing the end of my pregnancy, my physical and mental state vary widely. Sometimes I'm feeling rested, elated, and even excited. Other times I'm feeling exhausted, achy, and defeated. Managing breastfeeding discomfort is a challenge, but managing the breastfeeding aversion that accompanies the frustration from pregnancy discomfort is the most challenging.
Breastfeeding aversion can happen at any time; not just during pregnancy. Another term that comes to mind is "touched out." I like to categorize all situations where I have no significant physical breastfeeding related pain, but actively do not want to breastfeed as fitting into the aversion category. Situations in this category are feelings or thoughts that are preventing me from meeting my nursling's need. Here are some tactics I like to use to help ease me through these times:
* Acknowledge the negative thoughts. I can tell I'm having an aversion when thoughts like "I don't want to do this right now," "this is the last thing I want to do," "you don't really need this," "I wish you would stop," etc. these thoughts swirl around my head furiously until I stop breastfeeding if I don't calm myself down. Each time I have a negative thought I acknowledge it, and actively think of a couple of positive thoughts. For example: "I'm meeting your breastfeeding need in the most loving way," "you DO need this or you wouldn't ask for it," "You feel loved and comforted when I meet your needs," "this nursing session won't last forever," etc.
* Mental distraction. This can be in the form of an activity like reading an article, watching a movie, playing a game, or it can be choosing to actively think of something else. Think about a past conversation you had or a problem you'd like to solve (not breastfeeding related). Anything to keep your mind focused on something other than the urge to stop breastfeeding.
* Physical distraction. This may sound bizarre, but sometimes I pinch myself slightly to focus my mind on the new pain rather than what is going on at my breast. Maybe I pinch my leg or slightly pull my hair. Nothing too painful, just enough to occupy my mind with a different sensation. Sometimes this works for a couple of minutes, sometimes only for a moment.