Achievements are big in video gaming, in fact most if not all are founded on the basis of doing something and getting a reward or return. Increasingly more games have additional achievements that people can aim for and be recognized for their actions be it, great feats in the gaming sphere that sometimes may take years to complete or even really simple to the point of stupid achievements such as, pushing the START button or killing a large amount of small creatures.
Rewards are given on leaderboards and players are given objects that show what they have done to get ‘said’ objects – no different to a gold star for our spelling at school. In this world of being recognized for what we do, or in some cases what we don’t do, appreciation for who we are and what we bring to the world doesn’t even get a look in.
Every game played, the hero is celebrated based on what they do and the feats they achieve, never simply by the fact that they are in the world and therefore the world is richer, even if they didn’t climb the mountain or kill the dragon.
All of these virtual achievements feed the perception that in life we have to be doing something in order to be celebrated, noticed or even to be worthy of social interaction and human connection.
Video games are not the only place that feed this perception; from childhood we are fed this and not appreciated for being who we are. We take pride in our achievements and can then look down at others from a place of comparison because we have been recognised by certain achievements that feed the belief that somehow we are better than another some sort of assumed or believed ranking in life. This feeds the illusion that all is well in the rest of our lives as we have found praise and pride in one small pocket of life.
But how do we make the shift from achievements to appreciation when we’ve made what we ‘do’ everything that is valuable to us?
Over the last few years I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the science of appreciation and what it means to appreciate myself. It started with noticing how I feel and then the appreciation came when I changed my movements. For example, bare feet on cold floor = cold feet! Not nice! When I put slippers on = cozy toes. Very Nice! I then appreciated the care I bring to myself by honoring that my feet don’t like the cold floor and love being warm and how I feel when not distressed with having cold feet!
I remember initially taking time every night to write down what I felt, regardless of what it was. Supporting myself to understand and accept what was going on in me rather than having my mind in the video game world.
Rather than rolling off the list of my achievements like a snowball, a list of what I felt and could appreciate about myself built a momentum.
The way I move affects how I feel, and by stopping and saying ‘This feels better/lighter/more joyful than that other way of being” to me is true appreciation.
Another aspect of appreciation I have recently learnt is noticing what this light feeling in my body brings to the world and how that feels compared to when I am not feeling light, joyful or playful; how people relate to me when I am in my joy compared to when I am in a funk. I now hate being in a funk as I don’t look people in the eyes – eye contact is beautiful and a moment that lights up my day, more supercharged and consistent, light and effortless than any achievement earned.
When we allow ourselves to appreciate how we feel and how we move and how it makes us feel we become aware of the quality we bring to our inner environment which spills out into the world around us.
No achievement feels like true appreciation as the achievement requires effort and force and labor, whereas appreciation requires us to simply stop and smell the roses that are already there, or can be allowed to bloom with our tender, loving care applied to life. And how this bloom brings a beauty and other qualities to the world.