Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Challenge #14 - Spotlight Syndrome

It's human nature, I think, for us to be more worried about what others think of us than what we think of ourselves.  I call that the Spotlight Syndrome.

We put the spotlight only on ourselves.  We worry about what we're wearing, if our hair looks a mess, and, of course, the real kicker.....if we're too fat or too skinny.  Our inner critic (that voice that talks to us) is a wicked dictator, whose main job it is to waste our time worrying about how we look.

Why is it that we seek that validating approval from others?  Why is it important to us that we dress according to the person we're pretending to be?  Why do we judge others just so we can feel better about ourselves?  Sometimes we even make important life decisions just to keep other people happy. 

One sad part of this Spotlight Syndrome is that we find ourselves always looking to some one or some thing  to boost our positive feelings of self.  The other sad part is the fact that while we think that others truly care how we present ourselves, well, they really don't because they're too busy focusing on how they look.

Our self-worth should not be subject to change depending on who we are spending time with and what they say to us.  Bookstores have entire sections designated for self-help books.  I know, because I've browsed, bought and busied myself with a gazillion of them throughout the years.  It's always been a struggle for me to feel good about myself.  It's always been easy for me to feel that others appear to have everything better than me and probably didn't have to work as hard as I did in order to get it. 

Thank heaven that along with aging comes a fading need for approval.  We sort of wake up to the fact that humanity is basically a cage full of nutzoids and we simply have our own place among them. 

We need to set for ourselves a "base line of personal acceptance."  What makes us comfortable, yet socially acceptable.  Find a wash-and-go hairstyle that requires no fuss.  Simplify the identity process so we can slide into old-age without the frickin' hassles that we fought with while we were young.  We have to say to ourselves, "okay, from now on this is going to be my new appearance, my new look.  Take it or leave it."  If we prefer loose clothing over tight-fitting, hey, go for it.  If we feel better in tennies or crocs, then let's wear them.  If we girls wear less make-up most of the time, then it's not such a big deal if some days we're seen out in public without make-up.  I know a lady who is in her 90s, has always worn gobs of makeup, and absolutely will not step out of her house or allow anyone to see her if she doesn't have her makeup on.  Tell me, is that nuts, or what! 

Getting comfy in our own skin and in our new life situations is probably the biggest asset for giving us real happiness.  No matter how hard we try to go find happiness, we will be disappointed.  Happiness isn't 'out there.'  Happiness is inside our heads and our hearts.  Time is going by at jet speed, and we'd be well advised to use our time wisely, turn off that darned old spotlight, assassinate the dictator and time-waster within, and live this very moment.

"The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is:  a miracle and unrepeatable."  -Storm Jameson