13 July 2010

don't player hate, celebrate!

This one has been years in the making. and please, if you have never had any of the feelings that I am about to describe, let a girl know because I want some of what you're on.

Ahhhhh the player hateration. call it by any other name: jealousy, envy, pure annoyance, enmity, whatever, it pops up more often than most of us would like it to. It could be the person who got the promotion instead of you, could be the man to whom your girl is paying a little too much attention (vice versa and in every permutation of guy/girl you can imagine), could be the sibling or cousin or stranger who, for whatever reason, has what you think you want. Regardless, something happens either once or over and over again, and the way your mind registers it means that you get to have yourself a nemesis. Congratulations!

Probably this is something old. something happened to you as a young person and you ended up hurt. If you look back on it (if you even remember it) the circumstances and the thing denied probably seem inconsequential - maybe that invite to suzy's 3rd grade birthday party wasn't such a big deal to grown up you, but 3rd grade you was devastated. But if you weren't given the opportunity to work it through and feel good about who you are despite not being invited to suzy's, then probably the accompanying fear, disappointment, anger, sadness have stuck. And so now if there's even a remote chance that someone would overlook including you in something that you think you want to be a part of, you freak out.

So bring it back to today. Who is your nemesis? Do you have several? Just how much of your time is devoted to thoughts about him or her in a given day/week? It's not difficult to spot the issue when it occurs, but I am going to offer some ways that I've worked with my own player hating self to take the edge off.

I've read plenty of Buddhist articles and books on working with jealousy. Thich Nhat Hanh tells us to smile at our anger/jealousy like a mother smiles at a newborn baby in her arms. It sounds wonderful, doesn't it?

go ahead... try it.

......breathing in, I smile at my hater self... breathing out, I know I am safe....

How'd that work out for you? Good? Okay. Then stop reading here. (And I LOVE Thich Nhat Hanh! I really do)

For the rest of you, consider the following set of suggestions to quell the obsessive and irrational thoughts (and ohhh boy maybe even actions? be careful) that are making you crazy about someone who may or may not know that you even exist. And if he or she knows, they probably haven't given you even nearly of a tenth of the attention that you've been spending on them. These actions are meant both to take the legs out from under the feelings, and to work with the resulting behaviors directly so you don't actually combust with rage.
  1. better the player you know than the player you don't - can you take a step IN to the situation, to the person's life (in a non-restraining order kind of way)? can you even try to get to know her? (all the players i've hated and been hated by have been ladies... sorry but it's true, more on that later**) if circumstances allow, try to initiate some kind of contact, even if you feel like you want to throw up. disabusing yourself of the mystery surrounding that person is the first step in turning the giant green eyed monster into a little green kitty that you can pat on the head.
  2. get busy - let's start with what you are doing for yourself. why are you so unoccupied that you have all this time to spend thinking about what color underwear he puts on one leg at a time in the morning just like you (unless you're me)? do you need a new job? a gym membership? do you need to volunteer? all of these things can be arranged. helping others is a great way to check out from your own pity party for a bit. you can also create community and maybe even meet someone new to obsess over.
  3. write it out - go ahead, write the letter, the email, the poem, the diatribe. read it out loud in your bedroom, crying. DO NOT SEND IT!! don't send that nonsense!! and for god's sake don't put that on facebook. that's not for anyone else but you. write it, pour your heart out, be as detailed and as grimy as possible, and then feel a little better, and then go to sleep. the next day, look at it with new eyes. what's it tell you about yourself? about what you perceive that you're missing?
  4. look in a mirror - you're so beautiful!! that scowl is not doing much for your botox bills. take it from scowly herself, it looks like something smells. honestly. take a deep breath, and spend a little time remembering, celebrating, and caring for yourself. not your style? your friends can help. your real friends, that is.
  5. remember the time - looking further into the mirror, are you prepared to look back on whatever that initial incident or relationship may have been that inspired your current reaction? because that's what it is, a "re-" "action." That sounds like froo froo yoga jargon to me, but it's pretty accurate. you've got to slough off the old stuff so you can actually start to act as intelligent as you are and respond instead
**Women: we've got to stop hating other women!! Yes, sure, some women (people, for that matter) exhibit some messed up behaviors. By and large you're getting a sliver - no, a warped sliver - of the overall picture. You have no idea about their background or the set of circumstances that have led them to where they are now. You might have just caught them on a constipated day. So, in my mind [especially where relationships are involved] it works to give women the benefit of the doubt and to ask questions! As women (full disclaimer that I am writing from my own heterosexual viewpoint) we have been taught so often to bypass or be lenient on the man in a situation and hate the woman. Quit making assumptions. You are very creative. Very. Your mind has made this person wayyyy more interesting than she really is, I guarantee it. Speak with her. You might even like her. You might not!! And then, how liberating, you can simply not like her because you know her, not because you made up a story about something that your cousin's hairdresser told you she may or may not have said.

There was a person who had many ideas about me but had spoken with me for fewer than five minutes in all the time that she knew me. I tried to get to know her, to speak with her, she would have none of it. Her warped perception of me led to the painful dissolution of a treasured friendship (her now husband was my ex-boyfriend, he and I were the most platonic of friends). All I could think of the entire time was, "at least let me give you a reason not to like me! I'm sure there are plenty!" If you really want to heal and have a richer life, step out of your glass house and talk with somebody.

Ultimately, what I'm trying to get across is that this is all you. It's your mind that started it and it's your self who can work with it. And the best you can do is try.


  1. i am bummed because i completely wrote this long comment that was really good and then i did something and lost it. grumble grumble.

    the gist was, this is very profound and very accurate. women spend a lot of time hating other women. i think it has a lot to do with number 4; we do not believe ourselves to be _____ enough, and so we hate on whichever woman nearest who has said quality rather than admiring/attempting to learn. or finding out that maybe our perceptions aren't quite right, of the woman in question or of ourselves. i know i am guilty of this, but i am trying to be less so. i am trying to be attentive and appreciative and i am trying to learn.

    also, "and for god's sake don't put it on facebook" AMEN sister.

    thank you for posting this!

  2. of course, there's nothing like evening the score with whoever's driving you nuts.......and the best revenge is living well...

  3. this has inspired me to write some letters to people i have unfinished business with...write some letters to myself too...work in progress