Words with Friends as Target Practice

This time of year offers a natural opportunity to change our ways and improve our lives and selves. Physical boundary setting has never been more clearly delineated and accepted as in the current global climate yet social and emotional boundaries remain relatively ambiguous and oftentimes porous.

Understanding boundaries and how to gently enforce them while maintaining vulnerability and sincerity is a distinct challenge. There are few safe places to do so because costs are high when you make a social blunder amongst strangers and even friends. If your walls are too flimsy you’re left feeling violated, betrayed or exploited without necessarily being able to put your finger on what part of the interaction was uncomfortable. If your defenses are too rigid you find yourself alone behind them because no one can make it through unscathed.

The online letter tile game Words With Friends provides a uniquely ironic way to learn how to be vulnerable yet safe, open yet guarded, and sincere yet having walls. The site is populated with lots of legitimate players but is also a favourite for scam artists because it allows chats between users. It is easy to block or ignore the users but why not take advantage of the opportunity to refine your skill at saying no while honing your vocabulary!

There are tells in every interaction, ways of knowing if someone is grooming you, testing your defenses, or sounding out your vulnerability. People who share easily are often easy targets. Sadly, sharing is a core need and our instinct to do so does make us susceptible to predators. In general social settings we don’t know who may look to take our resources against our wishes but the deliberate strategies used on WWF are identical to the recipes used by all who seek to meet their needs through exploitation. Recognizing the patterns allows you to identify prospective toxic situations and navigate them to find satisfaction and safety.

Not all strategies and manipulations are conscious and not all exploitation is intentional. But the patterns and techniques are the same. Where you differentiate is by determining what you stand to gain from engaging in the script verses exiting the game. If someone is going to take advantage of you, but you are comfortable with the transaction because you feel you are getting sufficient needs met, then are they really exploiting you? Exploitation is in the mind of the victim and what a third party perceives as unfair, the parties involved may find a satisfactory exchange.

On WWF, engaging with scammers pays you in coins and experience levels. But you can also learn how to maintain personal boundaries in the chat, while experiencing the strategies used to build artificial intimacy, tests for openness to exploitation, and recipes for future faking. You will learn how to say no to direct violations but can practice doing so without judgement or shaming of the other party.

There are two sides to boundaries and understanding how to maintain them both is a critical skill. On the one side, letting people in is necessary for mental health and social well-being. Most people are good at that. On the other, feeling safe while not causing pain to others is important yet many respond to intrusions with judgement, shaming, and harsh enforcement.

On WWF, it is safe to assume anyone who initiates a chat is a fraud artist. But if you accept them for what they are knowing you are in complete control of the situation and your exposure, you can learn a lot about human nature and how to graciously assert boundaries while not putting any sincere, authentic relationships at risk. If you practice courtesy, compassion and kindness on someone whose objective is to defraud you, you learn to control your revulsion and rein in your judgemental language. Treat the interaction like a game of operation where your objective is to maintain your safety while studying their actions to determine your emotional weaknesses.

It’s like hiring a hacker to hack a computer to test the defenses. And while you are deliberately distracting the fraudster, you are also protecting others by keeping them busy with you!

Consider this a challenge. Try to engage without judgement, enforce boundaries without shaming, and interact with no expectations, only boundaries. Learn about yourself as you carry on a conversation that you know is completely artificial and contrived. Walk into it with your eyes wide open.

And then turn those eyes to your authentic life and recognize where those same patterns exist.

The Culmination

Mindfulness and faith propose that every moment is exactly what was meant to be and that you should surrender yourself to each moment and accept the reality of it. From that acceptance, peace will flow, satisfaction will arise, and joy will blanket you.

But if we follow that philosophy outwards from our limited perspective as an individual, we must also accept and embrace ALL circumstances as having purpose, as being necessary, as part of our requisite circumstances to grow as human beings or the human race.

Mindfulness and faith espouse not judging what is, simply acknowledging what is and reflecting on how that reality influences your satisfaction with the moment and how in turn this moment can be influenced by you.

So, to truly and completely embrace this concept, we must embrace and accept what is present in the world. Without judgement or fear or thought or emotion. And act only upon what we can do in this instant, in this immediate environment, with the tools present and available to us. To do anything else is to leave the moment.

An example is to see the conditions of 2020 without emotional trauma. Yes, the conditions have victimized many and are not peaceful, pleasant nor desirable. But feeling victimized, traumatized, or devastated does not change the circumstances of this moment. Judging any of the political, social, environmental or biological circumstances of 2020 does not make this moment better.

Today’s world is the outcome of cumulative events. Although the impacts of these events are profound and far reaching, which can be overwhelming to consider, the most important focus is here and now. The causes of our situation are irrelevant in this moment, but awareness of the imbalances that led here may be important for you.

Or not.

You are exactly where you need to be. Regardless of how you got here or where you are, you also have everything you need to get where you want to be.

Look around you. What do you need TODAY? What is essential to your survival in this moment and what action can you take today to obtain it. Not future actions or future goals. Here and now is all that counts and is perfect to take you into your next moment.

Our decisions and the impact of the decisions of others creates our situation. But Synergy puts in front of us the tools to change our situation and opportunities to do so if we are patient, present, and persistent.

She’ll be with you in a Moment if you quietly wait, watch and believe.

Almost in the Moment

Living in the moment is what we were designed to do but the short circuit in our brain coupled with our elemental personality can generate complications! Can make moments that are out of alignment with purpose but still based on the sensation of being in the Now.

Living in the moment with intentionality is the key to finding balance, stability, serenity and joy. Living in the moment but following impulses and urges without understanding where they originated – the judgemental mind or the feeling mind or the wise mind – creates dysfunction and dissatisfaction.

Our elemental personality type, with the need to either drop down an energy level or rise up in energy, feeds our feelings. When not satisfied, we get urges to interact with other people, to use them to meet our needs. That is absolutely fine, it is how we were designed to be, how we live in a society. If we didn’t have needs to be met, we wouldn’t be part of a community in the first place! We would live solitary, isolated lives.

For every person who needs to give away, there is a person who needs to receive. Soulmates who can be fulfilled while fulfilling because just like chemical bonds, pairings meet the objective of completing the unstable shell and bringing satisfaction. Equal and opposite forces bring balance, stability and lasting bonds.

The closer we feel we are to satisfaction, the greater the desire to experience it. The more intense the drive for fulfillment. The more volatile the response to the opportunity to jump up an energy level, or jump down. Because it’s right there, peace and serenity, just within reach, just a Moment away…thus in fact those whose behaviour seems to be the least peaceful are in fact the most ready to take that leap and find stability. But that very volatility gets in the way of making the right leap in the Moment, when fears and doubts cause the opposite to stability.

Need creates vulnerability. Vulnerability generates fear. Fear foments distrust. Distrust breeds resistance. Resistance crucifies Moments.

Trusting ourselves, Synergy, and others is critical to truly surrendering, to living intentionally in the Moment, and to finding satisfaction in personal relationships.