“Downplaying an exciting event does not diminish the pain if it doesn’t happen, but it does minimize the joy if it does happen”
— Brené Brown
I’m 100% guilty of this. I don’t want to get my hopes up, because if I allow myself to get excited, it will only magnify the pain if the exciting thing doesn’t materialize. And I’m expecting to be disappointed, because I think good things are only meant for other people. I don’t want anyone else to get excited either, because when it falls through then they will be disappointed in ME. And who wants to deal with that?
Brené also said about numbing our emotions with food, alcohol, or any other kind of buffering: “When you numb the dark, you numb the light.” You can’t selectively drown your emotions. If you smother your disappointment, you’ll also smother your joy. Better to allow all the feelings to unfold as they were meant to. The joy I feel at my wins is magnified by the disapointment I felt at my failures. It’s a price worth paying.
I know my brain is hard-wired to seek ease and pleasure while avoiding pain. But what if the shortest route to ease and pleasure is THROUGH the pain? What if I’m making things harder for myself by trying to avoid pain & disappointment? Sounds a lot like the way I make change harder on myself by trying to resist it, instead of fully embracing it.
Pain & disappointment are inevitable parts of life. Trying to avoid them is wasted energy. And since failure is required to learn and progress... it makes little sense to try so hard to avoid it. I may fall down 99 times, but as long as I get up 100 I still win!