I was recently on a train, happily doing a Sudoku puzzle. I do puzzles in ink and it’s a mess if I discover too far down the road that I’ve made a mistake, so I occasionally look in the back at the answers to make sure what I wrote is correct. As I opened the answer page, the guy sitting next to me (a stranger) laughed and said, “You’re cheating.” I was stunned, but remembered that in my DoorMat days, I was embarrassed for anyone to see I checked the answers as I went along.
Now I had a different perspective: Why is it cheating if it’s my CHOICE?
I got annoyed with the guy but didn’t respond at all. The look I gave him said enough (are you crazy?!). I began to think of all the things we call cheating that aren’t cheating and how it can hurt self-image. Cheating isn’t nice. It’s doing something wrong. But I’m not wrong if I want to check the answer to a puzzle that I’m doing for pleasure. I can CHOOSE to do whatever I want!
Using negative words to describe something you’ve done that isn’t bad hurts YOU!
Some synonyms for the word CHEAT are, deceive, defraud, con, take advantage of, and trick. I didn’t do any of those things when I looked at the puzzle answers. I do many kinds of word and number problems and prefer to check the answers as I go. These puzzles are for pleasure only, not to prove to the buttinski on the train that I’m smart enough to do them without help. Yet that word is also used in situations where you might feel guilty about doing something that really isn’t bad, or cheating.
I’ve heard others who also check answers while they do a puzzle say they cheat on puzzles. Yet they’re not deceiving anyone, including themselves, nor defrauding, conning, tricking or taking advantage of anyone. A big one is how many people say they “cheat” on their diets, when all they do it eat something more fattening, which isn’t a crime. But each time cheat is used, your self-esteem gets wounded.
Yet it’s not cheating! It’s CHOOSING to do something that others might disagree with, or that you’d rather not do, or doing things against the norm.
People assume you should finish a puzzle and then look up the answers. My pleasure isn’t in finishing. I love doing the puzzle. So I’d prefer to know if I make a mistake early so I don’t blow the whole puzzle. And it’s OKAY! Now I know I don’t owe any explanations or apologies. Referring to something you do as cheating makes you feel guilty. The guy who accused me of cheating on my puzzle tried to do that to me.
But since I’m empowered now, I believe HE should feel guilty about interfering with my pleasure at doing the puzzle MY way!
People call it cheating when they eat something more decadent than they think they should. Why ruin your pleasure in having a splurge by inflicting guilt? It’s not cheating—it’s your CHOICE. Someone in a relationship who sleeps with someone else is cheating. Copying someone’s answers on a test is cheating. Faking documents or deductions on your income taxes is cheating. Those are all conscious actions, knowing they were wrong or illegal.
Choosing to do something that hurts no one—but it goes against the norm or what you think you should do—is NOT cheating.
Yet so many people perceive themselves as cheaters and then torture themselves with the idea of it, ruining what should be pleasure by seeing themselves as cheaters. I used to be friendly with someone who was always on a diet. I mean ALWAYS! She was very slender and trim but terrified of gaining weight. If she had a bite of my sandwich, she lamented about cheating on her perpetual diet. If she splurged on ice cream, she’d ruin her pleasure with guilt about being a cheater.
I enjoy doing my puzzles while checking the answers and will continue to do so with pleasure. I’ll also enjoy food splurges with gusto. And I will never label myself a cheater because of it. We’re so quick to use negative words when we’re not perfect. I prefer loving ones now! The guy on the train who accused me of cheating must have his own issues if he said that to a stranger who was minding her own business.
Much of what some call cheating is actually choosing to do something that’s not what you think your SHOULD do or that you don’t see as your best or healthiest choice.
Taking a shortcut if it gets you where you want to go isn’t cheating. Nor is eating something fattening, or anything else where you bend the rules for personal satisfaction without deceiving someone else. Watch how you label! Calling yourself a negative name is a self-esteem buster, however subtle it might seem. I love myself much too much to do that now!
If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!
<a href="http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php" onclick="addthis_url
<a href="http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php" onclick="addthis_url var addthis_pub = ‘wryter’;
var addthis_pub = ‘wryter’;