Unbowed had some interesting discussions during a meetup with Krauser, and took away this insight:

I asked Nick about stoicism and being unemotional as that’s always bugged me in regards to inner game. He explained that while a cornerstone of game is emotional mastery, you will still feel highs and lows, it doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a veteran. Opening has an emotional cost. Rejection has a sting. An SDL has a euphoric feeling. And regardless of this emotional roller coaster, it does not matter. There’s no inherent meaning or grand purpose to any of this. It’s just a game. But make no mistake, you will feel the highs and lows. The minute you stop feeling means you’re out of the moment. If you’re not feeling both the flak and the bliss and everything in between, then you’re not in the game. Sure the intensity will differ depending on individual variables, but it boils down to feeling. The mastery comes where you can make a decision in spite of the emotions. I found it to be a subtle but notable distinction.

I was thinking something quite similar last night. My Beauty Queen had invited me to visit for four days, as her family will be out of town and so she can sleep over, but then the next day she begged off with some lame excuse.

At first I was philosophical about it. I’ve got other girls I’m into, and am developing a pipeline. I allowed myself the pain of acknowledging that she’s an 8 who is a screamer, and that’s going to take a wide pipeline to replace. Walking over to one of my girls places I was still thinking about her, and my heart hurt. So I just let it hurt, and emobodied it, and felt it. Not just let it wash over me, but let that be what I was doing and being – embody it in the same way you might embody a song you are really into and singing. And it occurred to me that while that’s pain, that IS the game.

That IS what dating is. That’s it. It’s these waves of pleasure and pain. If you can’t feel the pain, you can’t properly play the game. You won’t be able to effectively seduce, and you won’t be able to really feel the bliss and the joy.

All night long even in my sleep and dreams I was heartbroken, and woke up feeling down.

And I also had a great evening with my long time lover.

And I was also cranky at another lover for leaving town for a few days without permission.

And that’s it. That IS the game.

It isn’t winning a contest over your emotions. It isn’t only feeling pleasure. It’s the whole thing. That’s the game – you can’t win at dating uless you date, and you can’t date unless you feel, and you can’t feel unless you really feel – all the pleasure and all the pain.

I explain something like this to new lovers I meet. I let them know that I’ve often felt extreme heartbreak. Sometimes I’ll use the example of my dead lover; it’s very easy to empathise with such a wrenching loss for people, and there is no sidetrack into stories of who left who for what reason. I let it be known that while I feel heartbreak deeply, that it’s no excuse not to live life fully. I hate it as much as anyone else – pain is pain. But I’m not afraid of it.

I don’t let it stop me.

It’s the game. The whole game. It’s part of the whole thing.

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