Repetitions of Disappointment

2/24/20232 min read

I said to myself: the little disappointments I experience are a nuisance.

Ok, well. First of all. (let’s see this materialize). To be fair, I call them disappointments because they have—in hindsight, in the very least—the form of an expectation that isn’t fulfilled. And I remember that that is a very deep habit in me. It’s a habit. Ostensibly, here is a recurrence of something I experienced to my core in middle school. Whether or not it counts as a recurrence, I will get to. Anyway, we have this structure of expectation and let down. Here is an hypothesis. This structure is an imposition, nothing more. One story I can tell myself is there is a sadness in light of the possibility of loss. And this sadness I can regard in such-and-such respects. Regard can be the product of an analysis, or it can be an immediate reflexive interpretation. So perhaps we have the recognition of this structure, recurrence, manifesting in contemplation, but also in this seizing upon the sadness in the moment; or a conjuring. It seems that this is all fabricated. And, of course, in a sense it is fabricated. A lot of this is habit. Habit generates the thing to which I habitually respond, as well as directing the response. The recurrence is not only a recurrence in interpretation. There is something generative in the habit. Because, the fact is, the sadnesses I am feeling are not pure sadnesses. They are reflexive, they are brute repetitions in there reflexiveness. So they may not have much to do with sadness as such. This is an hypothesis.

Since this is a question of habit, even if my hypothesis of habit being the constitution of the “sadness” is wrong, habit is an answer, a path forward. Habit can be learned. First thing is to be present to what I am feeling, before doing any bit of shoving. At some stage, as soon as possible, to sit with the feeling. Since the nuisance is the recurrence, there might be something to sitting with each instance, thereby thwarting the reflexive impulse to regard it as a recurrence. A loving and disarming practice, something I often fail to do. I habitually regard uncomfortable feelings with fear.

I can take the opportunity to re-orient the habit. Return to the awareness. All the while, holding the thing with care, not to be dismissed, throughout the process. Even if I successfully disregard the thing in the moment, memory takes hold of the thing. An active part of memory, which takes hold of the phenomenon as a repetition: a repetition of a purported feeling, a feeling which is subordinate to a habit of regard. I am afraid to do the revisiting because in revisiting, I fear that I am affirming the thing being revisited. However, if I can revisit with love, I do not think I need to be afraid. Perhaps, even before the return at some point before the thing is brought into view, I can prepare myself for a certain mode of regard that is loving at base. This loving is to be distinguished from any grand construal of love. Rather, it is a particular kind of activity, a mode of self-regard that is sensitive to the fact that there are multiple selves involved, and a particularly dynamic memory involved.