How many times has it happened that you were looking to others to know what you feel? To know what to think? To know how to react?
The laugh-track machines are used exactly for that reason: people who have no sense of self, they will take cue, and laugh when the machine laughs.
Because we never really got present to who we are, what we hold true, what is important to us, because we were indoctrinated early on to think, feel, hold true, and say yes to what other people wanted us to, and because the reward was attention, food, hugs, atta' girl, or nice gifts, we lost and dug under our natural likes and dislikes, our natural aspirations, our real feelings.
We toed the line 1 of "me-too's" and mimicked, parroted, and tried to feel what they felt.
Love, gratitude, loyalty, integrity, all the intrinsic values fell victim to that. This is why it took me years to dig deep enough in the soil piled up on the top of the self, to distinguish for myself at least a few of those intrinsic values. And when I say years, I mean long years, doing it with the dogged diligence and persistence that is my "trademark."
It is a huge price to pay for popularity, if you are popular, for a livelihood, if you manage to earn it, for companionship, if you have any, to give up being you, give up knowing what you like, what you don't like, what you feel, and what's your opinion to things.
I don't mean your petty likes and dislikes, like "I like ice-cream" but "I hate loudmouths"
These are the top of the top of the iceberg, and irrelevant. The quality of your life isn't effected by any of it.
On the other hand, if you are like most people on Facebook, you don't know what love is, would not recognize it if you tripped over it, never experienced it, never have seen it, but you put, post after inane post, that the world is run by love... or "all you need is love..."
You are an impoverished, emotionally dead person, your soul is the breeding ground of weeds and creepie-crawlies... and you insist on infecting more people, or at least show them your ugliness masquerading as beauty of soul.
I love movies. I have always loved them, for me they are an extension of my life, a way to feel more, live more, love more, grieve more... celebrate more of being alive and feeling a human being.
The other day, one of my students, shared with me how much she enjoyed the movie: Intouchables, a French movie. I promptly watched it, and then reported back to her that I hated the movie.
I felt how much it invalidated her, how much it made her uncertain in her own judgment: she never shared anything else with me after that.
Now, whether I felt bad about how it landed over there, or because there was good in the movie, this movie has come up in my thoughts quite often since then.
What I really want to express here is not my regret, but my recognition of the second-hander who is always uncertain of their own view of life, of their own power, of their own feelings.
She has given so much power of that "invalidation by a revered teacher" that she has been second-guessing herself ever since, and even lost her ability to connect to Source.
She is you. Or as they say: by the grace of god, there go I...
When you feel something, it is always valid. True, accurate, appropriate don't equate valid.
Everything about you is valid, because invalid doesn't exist in the Universe. What exists exists, and by the power of that, it is also valid.
I didn't say accurate. I didn't say appropriate. I didn't say astute. I said valid.
You are valid. Your feelings are valid, Your thoughts are valid.
The question is not whether they are valid or not. The question is: are you more yourself, happier, fuller of life because of them? That is a great question.
Your best bet is move towards more life. Fuller life. A wider range of experiences and feelings. More surprises, less predictability. More mistakes, less predictably dull.
That's a life befitting a human.
Interestingly, when we look at wildlife, we seem to know that a lion or a tiger can't be fully themselves in a circus or in a cage. But when it is about us, or about our child (gasp!) we insist on the cage, we insist of propriety, on chains, on restrictions, on everything that turns us and our children into unhappy caged animals.
How is it going for you?