The games we play in our heads

          Everyone does it.  We do it all the time. We play little games in our head. We won’t step on the crack as we walk along a sidewalk.  We count the number of times in a row we can kick a little rock as we walk along a country road. We build up our courage before diving into cold water by counting slowly to ten, promising ourselves that we will take the big plunge when we get to ten.

          We visualize the hole we are aiming our Calloway golf ball toward as a huge hole that we can’t possibly miss.

We write long letters to people who have made us angry, never planning to mail them but knowing we will feel better just getting our passion out of ourselves and onto a piece of paper.

We make complicated New Year’s resolutions or give up sweets or alcohol for Lent.

Here is a little game you can play today.  You can look deep into another person’s eyes today. Look hard into the eyes of that person with the eyes of love. And then remember the very last line of the play Les Miserables: “When you love another person, you see the face of God.”

Sometimes our head games are big, important or elaborate. For example, here was the way Abraham Lincoln put together his relationships with others during the difficult times of his Presidency:

“I desire to so conduct the affairs of this administration that if, at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall have at least one friend left, and that friend shall be inside of me.” 

Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH
Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, Georgia