An interesting thing happened after I posted “We Need to Talk” - I was flooded (ish) with kind emails from readers. Which made me feel good. Which made me want to post more. Which is exactly what I shouldn’t be doing.
Wait … Why?
Here’s the deal: it’s fantastic to have the approval of others. It’s a high. I want people to like me. I crave it! I think many of us do. (That’s certainly what Ariel is saying in the Authenticity vs. Attention post.)
But that high comes with a downside: “The very thing that gives you pleasure today will give you pain tomorrow, or it will leave you, so its absence will give you pain.” (Eckhart Tolle)
In other words: I have your approval now - but what of tomorrow? What if I do something you dislike then? If I lend credence to your positive emails, then, unless I establish some sort of false construct, I must by definition lend credence to the negative commentary, as well. Either way, I’m allowing someone else’s opinion to establish or influence how I feel about myself. It’s a dangerous - and unwinnable - game, isn’t it?
Okay, all that having been said, I honestly have NO IDEA how I’m going to change years and years of my kneejerk reaction: to please, to perform, to make people laugh, to entertain them (often at my expense).
The hundreds of psycho-therapists Mother has lined up for poor Julia over the years could be so helpful on these questions. We have backed down on our insistence that she submit to electro-shock therapy. But surely, talking these matters out with a trained professional for hours every week would be better than seeking input from thousands of anonymous, faceless strangers and Eckhart Tolle, one would think. Oh dear. One step forward, two steps back.