A book I was reading, just last week…
"We weren’t made to just go out and be humiliated. It’s a form of flattery when people laugh, but when the laughing stops, you have to ask yourself, ‘Who really cares?’"
A bit later, about Chris Farley…
"I can’t help but wonder if the humiliation… drove him to a vicious need for acceptance. He wanted to be taken seriously as a comedian and an actor, but in the end, maybe he couldn’t find enough satisfaction to tame the need."
The point of the chapter was that if we use tools to create connection based on performance/appearance rather than by showing our authentic selves, we do so without earning the acceptance and respect that was what we were actually looking for from the connection.
Wonder if that held true in the Robin Williams case today.
He was popular, everyone loved him… but I wonder if he wondered if they would have still loved him if he wasn’t willing to do whatever it took to make them laugh.
Like I’d mentioned last week or so, I do have a soft spot for silly guys… and so have dated my share of class clowns, and it’s always frustrating how many of them really can’t be serious even when they need to be. Funny is all they’ve got that they know how to use.
But, I’ve actually had the same conversation with two of them.
Both only felt that people liked them because they were funny, and because of their intentional skills at playing to people. (One once told me that his friends were only his friends because he drinks with them, and they wouldn’t be his friends if they were sober.)
But the interesting thing to me… was that while the first guy who told me this really had nothing else that he’d really developed in his life, and had a lot of work to do in his life… so that it was to some extent true….
The second guy, this wasn’t the case. He did have a lot of other positive qualities, and people did respect him for wisdom and character… but he completely couldn’t see it. He felt the same way as the guy that really did have not much else to fall back on.
He had what he was looking for, but didn’t have access to it…because he kept assuming they couldn’t have been liking the glimpses of other strengths they saw in him, they must just like the mask of "guy who makes everyone laugh".
So it was just the same as if he were the first guy.
On a facebook share the other day, about girls being more than their appearances… I saw the phrase "The minute you use the eyelashes, eyelashes is all you’ve got."
How many smart girls think nobody cares about their brain because they’ve always used their looks as their main lure, and can’t imagine anyone would care about anything else? Even when people actually do.
The book was about creating real connection… the type that actually relieves loneliness.
But, for it to actually do so, requires that we be our true selves… so that it’s our true selves that feel accepted and cared about, and not that people just like our masks.
A very good thing to remember as I’m going back into building new relationships. It’s sometimes really tempting to play to what you know someone wants to see if it’s something you can fake… but even if you can… nothing good is going to come from it.