During the course of my self-confidence experiment, I have discovered that playfulness is a key ingredient to self-confidence and positivity.
When I wrote intimately about the logic of suicide, I thought it was such a heavy subject to be putting out there that a few readers might find it depressing. Indeed, spending so much of this experiment thinking about overcoming it, going over in my head the reasons to be positive and confident in life, after a while I had down moments that lasted for hours.
In the moments when I found it difficult to return to positive thinking for a few hours, I noticed that one positive quality had gotten completely lost: playfulness. In fact, this was a quality central to the approach I took in starting this experiment. I decided that I would consciously take the role of actor (role play) on the world’s stage. I found the idea of allowing myself to just be an actor so inspiring and relieving that this experiment was almost all I actively thought about for the first few days; it gave me an extra boost for commitment that hasn’t been lost.
Essentially, I had turned the challenge to build self-confidence into a play, a game: fun! That makes the opposite of a boring, draining, undesirable life. It’s the opposite of suicide.
I have always known myself as a moody person, so having down moments for me is nothing surprising. But the recovery I experienced during this experiment was an unusually conscious one, and the speed unusually quick. I’d wake up the next day ready to get back in the game. This boosted my long-term faith and, thus, confidence.
Not only that, but my downs increasingly seem like ups. With the commitment to positivity flowing constantly through my mind, I have come out of all my recent downs with new ideas about how to improve myself.
For example, last night I went to a queer women’s party and felt a little frustrated by how awkwardly I acted. Before long, however, I started thinking up ways to use this experience to my benefit, as a learning experience. The biggest thing it underscored for me is that, just as repetition of affirmations leads to commitment, I can improve through repetition of social experiences. It may be slower to repeat such events than to make daily affirmations, but I now regard it as a challenge, rather than a frustration. It’s a game to play, reflected in the many smaller games I saw at the party: jenga, beer chugging contest, arm wrestling, etc.
Any aspect of life can be approached this way, from finding a job to improving your health. Playfulness is a matter of focused curiosity, wonder, openness to possibilities. Just like all matters of focus, we can practice saying no to everything else: a closed mind, lack of confidence in possibilities, etc.
When you see life as play, you want to live, to lose yourself in the midst of all the fun and excitement and passion; you easily forget all the rationalizing of negativity because it simply doesn’t inspire you and attract your attention the way that play does. As a very playful and positive friend put it, “I notice the rain. I just don’t dwell on it.”
If you enjoyed this post, I highly recommend this video of Tim Brown on creativity and playfulness. One thing he talks about there is role play.