"Some people believe that holding on and not letting go is a sign of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it." Ann Landers.
To be noticed, to be wanted, to be loved...is this a universal human need? Or is there something more compelling underneath? Possibly the need to be 'special'?
Psychologists have largely ignored 'fame' as a primary motivator of our behaviour. So far they have considered it too shallow and mixed up with many other motives.
Recently though some social scientists are measuring the effects and similarities amongst devoted fame-seekers.
So how can we define fame-seeking behaviour?
I feel that whatever else it may appear to be, it is rooted in the desire for social acceptance, of being widely known and achieve social distinction. The irony is that this dogged pursuit of recognition is also highly competitive! In the most austere of religious disciplines people compete for who is the most pure, the most rigid or the most tolerant.
As I thought about this I needed to ask myself some difficult questions. Can I apply this to myself? Do I work as a counsellor because I want to feel special, even superior? I needed to question my age old beliefs, my expectations of myself and more importantly, what makes me truly happy?
For all of us, these beliefs have come from our parents, our schools and our society that rewards us for wanting to be 'big'.....defining for us what it means to be rich, famous or successful.
But who do I really look up to? The powerful business tycoon or the friend who is compassionate and always there for me?
I struggled with letting go of these beliefs. My mind's Velcro tendency wanted to grab and hold on to my earlier definitions of success and fame. As I probed deeper I asked myself two vital questions.... If I become successful in the eyes of others would I be happy for long? And if I wasn't, would I still be happy?
Happiness and joy are our natural states. We can learn this by watching an infant...as long as she is not in pain or hungry, she's pretty happy. So it seems, our job is to let go of any obstacles in the way of that natural joy of being alive.
For me it is being creative and involved with what I love to do. More importantly, being around people I love who remind me that happiness and love are way ahead of being famous. Letting go of unnecessary baggage by re-defining "missed opportunities" has assisted me to have clarity about what happiness means for me.
I know that if the ego is small enough to recognise all the magical moments we experience everyday then each moment is a great opportunity.
Until next time.....