I have said for a while that I believe that being an artist (whether it is an actor, singer, painter, etc.) is an incredibly dangerous profession because so much of your success is determined by whether or not people want you. This isn’t like an inanimate object that you are producing on an assembly line. You are the product. The more successful you are the greater the risk of being greatly injured when the crowds of fans aren’t there anymore. I believe that’s part of the reason why we see so much dysfunction in Hollywood.
But recently I started to re-frame my perspective on this idea. Because I think that it exists in more basic ways and its implications are far-reaching. What I mean is the idea that you have value based on what people can get from you. There are so many people out there in the world that think that if they can please someone, they will feel better about themselves. I know that in my own life I have had this notion in the back of my head at times. But as I’ve gotten older I have tried to divorce myself of it, which has at times, caused me to drive into the ditch on the other side of the road which is denying people what they want because I simply do not want to give them that power. Sounds a little twisted but I recently stumbled across a name that defines it. It’s called “Cerebral Narcissism.” I’m not exactly a narcissist, but I won’t get into that. You can research it yourself.
But there is this idea that if I can just emotionally gratify someone, or if I can sexually gratify them then I will get the affirmation that I desire so much. So what do we do? We bend over backward. We say yes when we know that we’re compromising ourselves and we should be saying no. We think that if we can just get people to love me for whatever I am that I can put out this fire and finally have some contentment. But unfortunately it doesn’t work. Because it is the nature of desire to never be satisfied.
But we’re blind to it. We don’t see it and so we get into relationships and associations with goals of being pleasing to someone else. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying we shouldn’t please people, it’s just not good to want to please people because our self-worth depends on it. But even if we don’t acknowledge this principle in our heads we act upon it like it was pre-programmed in our very DNA. We take it into our social settings and make judgments about people based on it. Who do we want to be like? We are envious and covetous of the lives of others.
Now I’m not saying that everyone is like that. But I know many people who are. I think this is why we as a society put so much stock into the things that celebrities say and do. Think about it for a second. Our favorite actor becomes an activist of some kind and we become micro-activists for the same cause. Part of the reason why we listen to people about a variety of social issues is simply because of their celebrity status. These people aren’t Plato’s Philosopher Kings. They aren’t these mythical godlike creatures that possess all of this wisdom and hidden information. They are mimes. They are parakeets. Yet we are so swayed by say.
I think the reason for this is because there is an algorithm or what have you, in our mind filter that sees their fame and their ability to please others and something just clicks inside of us that makes us want to believe them. It makes us want to obey them because they are loved and if we can be like them then we’ll be loved and we’ll have value too.
But let me just say this. Your value goes far beyond what you can do for others. Your value comes from a God that created the entire universe and loves you more than you can ever know. This is just my opinion but I think that if we could understand how much God loves us it would kill our earthly body. I don’t think our poor old tickers could handle it. But God loves you and you have value simply because He says you have value. Because that part of your mind that is distinctly separate from your physical body comes directly from Him. It’s a part of Him. Don’t be a people pleaser anymore. Love God with all of your heart.