We often measure our progress by others’ appraisal. We perceive by their elation or low tabulation of likes what works. Thus, we add to life a distress of our own making by placing our sense of well-being in others’ hands.

The following is one of my favorite stories. It shows how even a remarkable figure can be overlooked. One day a young man drew near to a mighty prophet in the gate, and said, “Please tell me, where is the seer’s house?” And the mighty prophet answered the young man and said, “I am the seer.”

The way this story unfolds flies counter-intuitively to what anyone would expect. The prophet displays no striking aura or impressive Hollywood attributes to impress the young man. The seer could have been a gardener or a lowly shepherd. A commoner. Unlike the TV evangelist of today, there was technical wizardry to distinguish him from the rest of humanity. Nevertheless, the prophet was a monumental Biblical figure named Samuel who left an undeniable legacy like few men in history.

Edith Nesbit, a British children book author, expressed how little we count for in the world. However, she places one disclaimer — the exception being those who love us. To paraphrase her words, the consideration we receive as adults is no longer the same as the consideration of childhood, free, ungrudging and invariable, but rather conditioned by the services we render and the extent to which we are pleasant or useful.

Unfortunately, this utilitarian mindset shapes how we see ourselves. Approval is measured out not by merit, but external attributes. We try to reach an unattainable celebrity status, by dressing in certain ways, following the self-help gurus of the day, getting plastic surgery or bodybuilding. These strategies, however do nothing to alleviate our sense of love and belonging.

In other times, people had to write out their thoughts in private notebooks with no immediate responses. They relied upon the inner motivation that came from attaining personal development. There was never any concern for how many likes or comments each entry might gain.

For this reason, creativity is and has been a redeeming kind of therapy. We need to express ourselves even when no one is out there to cheer us on. It allows us to look at ordinary life through the extraordinary lens of love, truth and beauty. It starts off with a rough draft. We go back to it until new insights appear while learning to express ourselves in more engaging ways. All this allows us to transcend the daily demands and pettiness through the higher self.

As long as we inhabit this common body, people will overlook our innermost qualities. It is up to us to believe in those extraordinary qualities no matter how often they are overlooked. Those qualities are like invisible friends. Few have the ability to see or appreciate them.

~ vincenzo ©

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