Gotta Play to Win

The comment that my low vision specialist made about people rejecting the help of assistive devices made me think of another dialectic behavioral therapy lesson. So back to DBT class!

Remember the kid who was a poor loser? Whenever something did not go his own way he would pick up his toys and go home. That child was a perfect example of willfulness.

Willfulness in dialectic behavioral terms is the refusal to accept reality as it is. It is the refusal to engage in the game unless things are played by your rules and you are the winner. Willfulness involved being upset that things are not fair or right. It involves a denial of the situation. If things do not go my way I refuse to participate. I am going to withdraw and sulk or rant and rave till I get my own way.

I suspect that child you knew who hated to admit the reality that he was not the best Checkers player or the best batter on the team was not all that popular. I suspect you could say very easily what it was that he was doing wrong.

I suspect you would say something like “C’mon Charlie! Just hit at the ball! You can’t win if you don’t play. Besides, who said life was fair? “

Out of the mouths of babes often comes great truth.

Life is anything but fair! Having AMD is not fair! If I thought it would help, I would be at the front of the line screaming for a do over. Shuffle those genes again, Daddy! I don’t want the one that says AMD. Unfortunately that particular ship sailed around 63 years ago.

Why do people become so willful? Charlie was probably afraid of failure. He may have thought his accepting his mediocre athletic skills would mean social disaster. None of the guys will want to play with me if I stink at baseball.

What would you…or me…be afraid of in accepting assistive devices? What does that mean? But, perhaps more importantly, what will it mean for you if you don’t?

The opposite of willfulness is willingness. Willingness is getting in the game. It means you play as skillfully as you can with what you have. It is an attitude of acceptance of what is real. And it ain’t easy! Willingness requires a dozen different decisions every day. Use the reader. Sigh. Ask for help. Sigh. Do the bus trip instead of driving to the city. Yuck! Oh, sigh.

I may have said this before, acceptance does not mean approval. I would not be screaming to get into that clinical trial if I approved of going blind. No approval from this girl! But I want to be in the game, so I accept what keeps me there.

You can’t win if you don’t play.

Next: What-Me Worry?

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