Key Performance Indicators
Key Performance Indicators
TLDR: Drunk and more than slightly self-indulgent.
I have inspired the creation of a blog which is absolutely one of my victory conditions.
This caused me to think about some others.
- Every word I inspire someone to write.
- Every time you curse my name.
- Every comment by someone who is annoyed by my being right.
- Every time my perfectly reasonable behaviour seems impossible to you.
- Every time someone sends a link to my writing to their therapist.
- Every time someone uses something I wrote to win an argument.
- Every time I make someone happier for my presence.
- But also every time someone understands themself better because of me.
- Every time I change how you look at the world.
- Every conversation we have that you thought was impossible.
- Every person whose life I make better.
Do these seems inadequately selfish to you? They do to me. We ground our values in the people around us, but if we don't learn to be a little bit selfish then those values result in everyone being miserable through trying to make everyone happy.
Some of them are, perhaps, a little selfish, in that they allow me to embrace my inner villain, but villains, too, are unselfish: We're the ones who want to change the world for the better. The heroes are just there to maintain the status quo.
So what are my victory conditions for me?
- Every "Ah ha!" moment.
- Every hug.
- Every time I get to uncomplicatedly enjoy myself.
- Every time I figure out why I can't, and fix that.
- Every time I get to act with my whole self, without holding back.
- Every (redacted).
This doesn't seem enough. I can think of a few more, but I don't want to write them down, and perhaps that's the problem: Admitting to wanting, let alone needing, things is vulnerable, and I don't like being vulnerable.
This may seem surprising, as I share a lot, but what I share is in fact carefully curated. It doesn't count as vulnerability if by sharing it I rob it of its power, or if I do the work to become safe first.
Also, if I'm honest, I don't really feel like the ones for me count. They feel pointlessly self-indulgent, or like things I'm supposed to want to want. Where they don't the emotions don't feel exactly good. I feel like the emotion associated with healing and growth should be something akin to joy, but that's not quite how it feels. It's more like a "Ha ha! Fuck you! You can't beat me!". It's still other-oriented.
I've been spending the last year or two trying to work on emotional skills, and that's been pretty good. I liked the bit where I figured out how to turn off social anxiety. But a lot of the drive for that has been other oriented too: I started a relationship, I realised my emotional baggage was now someone else's problem, and it caused me to prioritise it.
I suggested recently to Luli that two good books about being selfish were "The Courage to be Disliked" and "Conflict is not Abuse". I feel it's kinda telling that both of my book recommendations about how to be selfish were about how to have healthier relationships with others.
I think perhaps the problem starts with how we conceptualise selfishness, and the idea of boundaries. Boundaries are things you put there to defend yourself. Defending yourself is good and proper and you have a right to do so, so it's not hard to assert those rights. "You are hurting me. Stop." is not a complicated sentiment, and it's one that most healthy communities acknowledge a right to.
But "acting to minimize suffering at the hands of others" isn't the hard part for me. I've had a lot of training in that one I'm afraid.
The question is, what's next? Minimizing suffering doesn't lead to happiness, it just leads to non-suffering. Neutrality isn't that great. There's a reason "emotional blunting" is a diagnostic term.
I think part of why I got quite so cranky at the inner game of tennis is the idea that you can just turn off the verbal self and the embodied self will rise to the occasion because it's fundamentally fine. The embodied self isn't fine sometimes. Sometimes you need to coax it out of its shell.
Clarissa wrote about horizonal damage earlier and this feels fairly apt. My experience is different from theirs, but the space of the possible is constrained. I can be selfish or unselfish in my interaction with others, but I can't really at present see how to be self-oriented. I am aware of it as a theoretical possibility, but it does not appear as a practical orientation in the world that I can access.
I had some more thoguhts but it's late and I should go to bed before this gets even more angsty, so I'm going to leave it there.