Self-Doctrination (October 14, 2015)

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Updated: October 14, 2015

I tend to try and be a positive guy. It’s something I’ve always prided myself in – the whole making lemonade when life hands you lemon thing. Doesn’t always work, but I try.

Because of the fact I’m positive, it irritates me when you get the “fake positive.” There’s two types of these. There’s people who use the positive as a fishing mechanism for sympathy. And there’s the people who force the positive to hide the true feelings of something.

First, the fisher. This is the person posting on social media about their situation and usually ending it with something pseudo-philosophical like, “but I know it will get better!” They don’t know it will get better. They want someone to tell them it’s going to get better.

This person understands that their feelings are wrong. That whatever is the latest “crisis” in their life isn’t really a crisis. But because of their upbringing, their surroundings, or a myriad of other psychological factors, they need the sympathy, empathy and attention.  And at times they’ll create it.

Which leads us to the forcer.  This is the person who is constantly searching for the positive, even when something positive isn’t really there.  In the world of sports, this is the “We lost but we learned person.”

Sometimes life just sucks. This past Saturday, Stayci’s volleyball team got beat 25-8, 25-3. We got in the car after and I asked her, “Did you have fun, beautiful?” She said, “Yeah. I mean it wasn’t fun getting beat. That sucked. But I think I did good.”

I’m a Rhode Island Rams fan.  There’s a whole story behind this tiny Atlantic coast school being one of my “bucket list” teams that I’ll always support (alongside Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Rice), but that’s not pertinent to this story.

What is pertinent is that Rhode Island Football is terrible.  Downright awful. It’s a program in its second year of the tutelage of Jim Fleming. Certainly, it is a rebuilding process.  They went 0-11 last season, and were only competitive in two games, before winning their final game of the season.  This season they were 0-5 before winning last weekend.

On his weekly Monday morning radio spot, the head coach was asked about his team’s reaction following this past weekend’s win.  He said, “The first one (victory) was one of complete elation. This one was a little bit different and I was proud of them….It was more of matter of fact and an order of business that we intend to do.”

Sometimes life just sucks.  Losing sucks.  That’s just a fact, especially in the world of sports.  And it’s why the cliché coach speak right now is “controlling the process.” Because in the end, all you can do is control you, whether you’re 0-11 or 11-0.

People are afraid to be honest now.  So many times after someone commits suicide people say, “I had no idea.” We’re afraid to say anything, we’re afraid to be honest.  Coming from someone who has battled with that, it’s not because you’re scared of the truth.  It’s because you’re scared of the interpretation.

Everything is interpreted.  I have written before on seeing things through your own eyes.  That’s not the problem.  If we didn’t interpret we’d become a swath of faceless, emotionless zombies blindly following the leader into whatever battle they saw fit.

Interpretation prevents that “zombie apocalypse.” So in one regard, interpretation is a good thing.  But that interpretation becomes a problem when that interpretation becomes the “truth.”  It’s your truth, nothing more.

If you’re offended by something, doesn’t mean others are.  With a few sociological norms as exceptions, good and bad is up to your interpretation.  I tend to avoid caffeine as much as possible, but it doesn’t mean I force that approach on others.  The search shouldn’t be why something that this is should be seen as “evil.” The search should be why you see it as wrong.

If you’re elated by something, doesn’t mean other are.  I’m pretty excited that I am 4-1 in my fantasy football league.  But just because that makes me excited doesn’t mean I go telling everyone like it’s some life-altering event in their lives.  The search for me isn’t why this should be seen as “good,” but why I see it as good (it’s simple, I like winning).

What I’m trying to get at is there’s no reason to force any emotion, good or bad.  I don’t always agree with the officials in a contest I’m calling.  And certainly fans and coaches don’t often agree with them.  I’ve seen enough hands in the air, beet red screaming to know that’s the case.

For the most part officials let that be, just like we should let others’ emotions be their own.  When officials get their “feathers up” is when a fan begins forcing their interpretation onto others as “the only way it can be.” Truth is individual.

Life is going to be both good and bad.  Sometimes you’re going to win 25-8, 25-3. That’s going to be fun, and it’s okay to show that fun emotion.  Sometimes you’re going to lost 25-8, 25-3.  And that’s going to suck.  It’s okay to say that sucks.  It’s part of life.  There’s no wrong in showing both the good and bad.

We’re so busy trying to avoid indoctrination that we’re indoctrinating ourselves in the opposite direction.  Indoctrination isn’t the answer to avoid indoctrination.  Think of it more as “self-doctrination.”  Make up your own mind. And don’t be afraid to live in that truth.