My mum actually hung up on me using those very words. At the time I thought she was being mean, why couldn’t she understand that this was important, I was upset and life was wrong! Now I can see that me moaning about not being picked for the football (sorry, soccer) team might have gotten a little boring after the first hour, and I can see what a massive favour she did me by not buying into my story.
The thing I’ve come to see is that there’s no point disagreeing with life, with reality. Firstly, because it doesn’t care. Secondly, it never stoops to my level and argues back. Thirdly, because it seems to know what it’s doing and will do it whether I like it or not, so I may as well get on side.
We’re pretty fickle when it comes to life. When it’s going how we think it should, we think it’s down to us. We might praise our ingenuity, or pat ourselves on the back for making and executing such a good plan. As soon life stops going the way we think it should we get angry. We get sad. We blame. Be it other people, God, the Universe, or ourselves. We don’t think that maybe it’s meant to be like that. Or even more abstractly, we don’t think that there is no right or wrong way for life to be.
Going back to my football story, not getting picked did me a massive favour, as it caused me to leave the team and do other things with my time. I was using football as a way to not meet other people, to not do my Uni work, to not take care of myself. I even used football socials (not an actual match, a social! A social where we put on fancy dress and got drunk off our faces) as a reason to not go to see Amma.
That was the last time that I remember spending months disagreeing with life. Now I still disagree at times, but am getting better at accepting a situation as it is, and rather than tiring myself out trying to show life all the reasons why it is wrong, I look at what is bothering me about the given situation.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes having a bit of a moan helps! I remember sitting with my mum talking about a situation and why someone was wrong. We went into the situation, fleshed it out. Gave examples of the situation being wrong and us being right. We sat there saying ‘but he actually is a c*nt. Like a proper c*nt. No matter how we might reframe the situation, he was a c*nt’.
Eventually that got boring. We moved on. ‘So what if he’s a c*nt? He’s free to c*nt about all he likes, why do we care? Why are we invested in the situation? What are we getting out of it?’. Coming out of the story, just for long enough to ask a question changed everything. Suddenly it didn’t seem so real, it wasn’t a problem, and we got to look at what was holding us in the situation.
Disagreeing with reality is a bit like saying that you’ve got a better story, or scene for reality to be playing out. It’s difficult when the situation actually is shit. If someone walks up to you and kicks you for no apparent reason, you would be quite justified in thinking that the other person was wrong.
But what’s causing the reaction in you? Maybe you feel violated, defenseless, unsafe, abused. Whilst it may be true that the other person shouldn’t have done what they did, the fact still remains that they did and that it’s caused a reaction in you. And the reaction leads to the issue, which can be let go of, and voila, life is back on track again.
Watching sports players argue with referees, or moaning after the match is a good example of watching someone disagree with life. As I mentioned, I’m a football fan, so the following example is football related. So often a player will have (rightly or wrongly) been sent off and protests and shouts, seemingly under the illusion that the ref will change their mind if they just swear enough at him. So often you hear players and managers arguing about decisions, saying if this hadn’t been disallowed, if we had gotten that penalty and so on.
Arguing with life is pretty similar. The call’s been made. You didn’t get the penalty. Now what? Are you gonna stand there and moan about it, are you going to complain that that’s why you lost? Are you going waste your time, effort and energy trying to change something that can’t be changed? Or are you going to accept it and carry on playing?