We all get to decide – every minute of every day – between trusting ourselves to find the happiness we seek, or trusting other people to tell us how happy we are. Most of us don’t trust ourselves any more, because we’ve forgotten what happiness feels like – really feels like in our veins – so we become content to let others decide our happiness based on our possessions, positions, appearance, etc. In short, we decide between feeling happy or appearing to be happy.
Now, there are a number of problems with letting other people decide our level of happiness. One, we become constantly dependent on other people to reflect us back to ourselves. We need them, we can’t be alone… otherwise we’d disappear!
Two, we become performers, because we’ve realized since we were toddlers that we can trick others into thinking we are happy, even when we aren’t. We become experts at manipulating events, at faking facial expressions, at hiding information.
Three, we become vulnerable to others’ manipulation, because as soon as they find out what makes us happy, or unhappy, they can pretty much make us do whatever they want.
It’s like a drawing I did about 20 years ago of a light bulb surrounded by a series of solar panels. In the original drawing, the solar panel were actually feeding energy to the light bulb, which was feeding the solar panels, so altogether it was a self-perpetuating system.
Or so I thought.
Today, I would say that it’s possible, dare I say even inevitable, that we snip the cords between the solar panels and the light bulb. We cut them – like a bomb disposal operator – one cord at a time: red, then blue, then green… sweating bullets the whole time, wondering if This One won’t be the one that makes the light bulb go out. Until we cut the last one, and…
Wow, the lightbulb is still shining!!
That’s the only way we’ll remember what we used to know when we were toddlers: that our light bulb shines with or without those solar panels to reflect our light back to us.
That’s he day we remember just how alike we are to the Sun, self-effulgent and shining equally on all.