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I’m not PLAYING!!

I heard my four year old say this to his older brother the other day and his words hit me like a dagger to the heart but not for any reason you might think.

In his precious little mind, he’s just not playing. He’s out. He’s no longer in the game. He has now removed himself. He impishly stormed off in a Gone-with-the-wind flurry of pout that four year olds seem to have such mastery with.

Which, as is so often the case with my kids, gave me pause.

What was that really all about? Simple really. Punishment.

It wasn’t going his way so he took himself out to punish his older sibling. He got the final say. He ended it. So what, right? Considering this is a strategy that follows us until we die, removing ourselves from whichever games we’re in always sidesteps the major flaw in the plan. The impact on us. What it does to us when we take ourselves out, the disconnect, the make-wrong, the momentary domination, the blackened stain on our love for others and our own peace of mind that can fester and grow as the resentment ingrains itself into our lives. Be in no doubt, taking yourself away is nothing more than a backhand to the other person, regardless of how justified or innocent you might feel you are. 

As with everything I say, I say this in full knowledge that other people can lie, manipulate, cheat and all kinds of truly underhand BS. But we usually don’t even need something that dramatic to end the game do we? An insult, hurt feelings, unfair choices, gossip, whatever trivial matter (which you’ve blown up like a hot air balloon) that allows the self-righteousness to arise in your throat and take its grip.

I say to you what I said to my four year old.

Work it out. Re-connect, understand and forgive as quickly as possible with the people you love. Why?

Because the price of being right and alone just isn’t worth it, that’s why. Be the better you, be the you you’re most proud of and let the chips fall where they may.

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