by Christie Low
I will admit it. I am a bit of a Candy Crush junkie. I’m not seeking Candy Crushers Anonymous meetings yet, but I do like to occasionally swipe around in this ridiculously maddening and addictive game to blow off some steam. While I was doing so today, I thought of something. Candy Crush is the equivalent of every negative self thought you’ve ever had.
Let me back up a bit. I find psychology and the way the human brain works to be fascinating. I think a lot about the way marketing and advertising can fool otherwise intelligent people. I notice when people try to use reverse psychology or when they fish for compliments and it annoys me to no end. And because I can, at times, be a bit smug, I pride myself in believing that I am just way too smart to fall for all that nonsense. What does this have to do with Candy Crush? Well, have you ever noticed that the game likes to flash a potential match on the screen? This automatically gets your mind engaged and starts to trick it into thinking you should make this next move. When you first start out in the game, it serves as a tutorial to show you the ropes. The more advanced you become, however, it becomes really annoying. You’re sitting there thinking, “Stop flashing at me you stupid orange candy! It’s a trap! I know dang good and well that if I match the purple one over here, I will activate a striped candy and finish this level.” I love to ignore those stupid little flashes. I’m just way too darn smart to fall for that malarkey! If you think about it, these flashing “suggestions” are a lot like peer pressure. How many times, especially as a child or teen, has someone “suggested” a choice to you? At the time, it seems like the logical move in the game. “C’mon, all the cool kids are smoking now.” “Everyone is doing the Tide Pod Challenge”. “You can drive after two beers, that’s just “buzz” driving, it’s harmless!”. Before you know it, you’ve followed all of these suggestions, and BAM! You lost the game. Turns out, Candy Crush did NOT have your best interest at heart. It wanted to trick you into thinking you should make these moves. Why? In the hopes that you will get frustrated with your loss and start buying extra bonus candies that will help you annihilate the game! That’s how they get you!
If you think about it, life is really no different. Deep down inside, in the back of your mind, you know that isn’t the move you want to make. You know which path you wanted to take, you know what your strategy was when you started out. But those flashing nagging “suggestions” are just so….insistent, that sometimes…you cave.
Have you ever lost a level of Candy Crush? Talk about a major blow to your self esteem. This adorably illustrated charming wonderland becomes a mockery of your intelligence as soon as you fail. In fact, that’s even the word it uses!
It flat out tells you that you Failed! You did not collect the orders. It might as well be telling you that you are a worthless waste of skin, a waste of oxygen. What they are hoping is that you will feel motivated. You will be so ashamed by your failure that you will pull yourself up by your boot straps and persevere! You will sit there and play that game until you win! Or…if you’re like me, you’ll call the game’s bluff. You see, I absolutely hate when people (or games) try to motivate me with shame, embarrassment, the threat of failure. It’s at this point that I say, “Yep, you’re right. I lost. Game over.” And I get back to more important things.
While those flashing “suggestions” in the game are a lot like peer pressure and mistakes that you can make in life, I believe that the “You Failed” banner at the end of a level is like the negative things we say to ourselves every day. How many times a day do we think to ourselves, “I’m getting so fat. I’m so stupid. This will never work. I’ll never get my black belt. My kicks are horrible. I’m not good enough for that promotion. That girl is prettier than me…….” I could go on for days. You get the idea, right? Even the most positive and emotionally intelligent people fall prey to negative self talk.
I’m here to tell you….don’t fall for it! When you hear yourself say, “I’m not good enough, I should give up,” do not listen! When that “flashing suggestions” tells you to make a decision you know you will regret later, be strong enough to ignore it. Be smug like me. Know in your heart that you are too darn smart to be outwitted or shamed by Candy Crush. Instead, force yourself to replace those thoughts with positive affirmations. I know, that sounds really lame, but it’s a cliché for a reason. If you tell yourself enough negative crap about yourself, you eventually start to believe it, right? So doesn’t it make sense that if you start to encourage yourself and ignore that self slander, you might actually start to become the awesome version of you that’s hiding deep down inside? Try it. If I’m wrong, I’ll buy a stupid Candy Crush boost.