Kissing probably ruined my life. At least for a good 20+ years. I was a late bloomer. Almost 19 for my first kiss. And in the dark, so nobody had to look at me. But, I guess like for most people, it totally changed my life. For the worse.
I mean, it really sucked what happened afterwards. Like the times she then didn’t want to kiss me when I did. Or the times she was kissing someone else. Or the times I wanted to kiss someone else but couldn’t, or didn’t or shouldn’t, or shouldn’t have, and then guilt remorse apologies anger pain jealousy crying anguish. Maybe if I had cut my testicles off at the age of 18 I would’ve avoided that but who wants to do that?
Kissing felt so good that I basically devoted the rest of my life to it. Let’s be honest. That’s why people want to make money. More money = more kissing. More money means less time with your boss, for instance. More time for kissing. More people who want to kiss you. Less anxiety. More confidence. Confidence = more kissing.
So now suddenly I might get frustrated in two ways: less kissing or less money. It adds up. To get more money I might need to do certain activities. And for each of those activities I might get frustrated. I would say I get frustrated 90% of the time. The last five times a business failed on me I thought that would be the end of my kissing career.
Because there is now a scientific study breaking down in a BS way almost every component of what scientists call “happiness”. It turns out I have the primary somatosensory cortex in my brain to blame for that pleasurable feeling we get when we kiss. And all the dreadful aftermath that occurs when I can’t get the neurons in that particular cortex to light up on a regular basis. I guess I’m addicted to synapses firing in my primary somatosensory cortex. That makes me sound both smart and depraved at the same time. A perverted brain surgeon.
One of my goals I try to fulfill every day is to exercise the mental muscle. I do that by making a list. So I made a list of ten things I often do or feel when I fail at something, or something does not go the way I wanted it to go. Like when something blocks me from kissing, making money, or any of the other numerous things I DEMAND from the world to give me happiness.
- I regret (why did I have to invest? why did I have to go lean in for the kiss when that girl clearly didn’t like me, why did I buy that house and lose a ton of money on it, why did I make that trade and watch it instantly go down on me)
- I resent (why did he get me into that investment. Why did she kiss me today when she was planning on not kissing me tomorrow? Like the one time she said, “my therapist told me not to make any changes for a year”. I actually was encouraged by that. As in, “ok, great, I’ll see you one year from today!”)
- I panic a little, then a lot (what if I never get kissed again? what if I never make money again? what if i’m sick/depressed/insomniac/anxious forever?)
- I think “why does this happen to me” (I forget all the good times. I forget all the times I was satisfied. I only remember the negative. Like an animal stuck in the dark woods with imaginary lions stalking all around the fringes of the clearing I’m in).
- I project into the future about how everything now will go bad (well, if this girl doesn’t like me, then I’ll never find a girl like her again. If I can’t make money on this, then I will NEVER make money again. If I lost $1000 today trading then that means I will lose $250,000 a year, etc).
- I feel like a failure (shame. NOBODY must find out. I have to be perfect! One time I was trading for someone. I made a trade that lost money. I stopped returning calls. Valuable lesson. He finally got ahold of me, pulled his money from me, and said, “you know, the only thing you have to do in this business is be in communication.”)
- I try to control by thrashing out an immediate solution (she didn’t pick up? call again. NOW! Or go there. Wait for her at 3 in the morning. Or sell the investment at a discount. Or….something. I don’t know. DO SOMETHING!)
- I get worried what people will think of me (don’t tell them I have to sell my house, don’t tell them I’m getting divorced, don’t tell them I lost that day at poker, don’t dont DONT)
- I go into exile (leave NYC, dont return calls, dont talk to people, dont be friends, dont be family)
- I try to control (maybe I can put the deal back together, maybe I can do some favor for her so she’ll kiss me again, maybe I can connect two people together so magic will happen and deals will happen and kisses will happen.)
These are all examples of what I call “the two arrow syndrome”. The first arrow is what originally frustrated you. The first arrow wounds you. But then the second arrow is one of the above ten items. The second arrow can kill you. The second arrow is much sharper than the first. Because it can linger in the heart until you bleed to death.
I’ve been hit by many arrows in my life. Many people have. But I’ve also often hurt myself twice as much with many second arrows. I don’t want to do that anymore. Being aware of the second arrow is the first step. It doesn’t mean you roll over and give up. In fact, quite the opposite.
If you aren’t busy bleeding to death from the second arrow you can calmly assess the situation and figure out what to do RIGHT NOW in the present. Don’t project into the future since most worries of the future never happen. Don’t regret the past. It’s already over. None of those thoughts will help you. They are a waste of time. They are unproductive and will make you stupid because they take up too much space in the brain.
In other words, don’t time travel. Don’t get lost in the future. Don’t get lost in the past. Turn off your time machine. Live right now. We need you here in the present moment. We need you because the world is a better place when you are here and not time traveling.
But most importantly, give up control. Accept what happened. It was bad. Observe the feeling of “badness” inside of you. It’s just a feeling. It’s there and it sucks.
But it’s not the real you. The real me accepts what is and says: ok, maybe I need to exercise now since that helps bring down the bad feeling so I can be productive. Or maybe I need to sleep, so I will wake up feeling less anxious. Or I should back out of a situation completely (sell the trade, drop the girl, shut down the business) instead of trying to force something to happen that won’t happen. This way I avoid the second arrow.
Meanwhile, invite the pain in, and let it sit around in my head until it withers away, bored and tired and hungry for attention. Even though the pain feels stronger than any joy you might be feeling, let it just sit there. It WILL get bored. It WILL go away.
Or I should hold my breath for 20 seconds, exhale for 20 seconds, then hold again for 20 seconds. Now your body really has something to worry about. It puts things in perspective instantly and reduces anxiety. It’s like “insta-yoga”.
Life never throws you something you can’t handle. Even when she or he refuses to kiss you. Take a step back, continue to improve, meet your daily goals, and eventually someone better comes along. And then the kiss might last a few seconds longer.