Monday, January 09, 2006

You Like Me... You REALLY Like Me!

I'm dating myself here by using this quote. Sally Field's famous Oscar acceptance speech started out with this catch phrase. I'm kinda wondering if we all don't wear a shirt like this one. I think it would be more accurate if it had a question mark at the end of it. "You like me? You REALLY like me?"

I'm speaking from my own experience here. No matter where we're at, who we're with, we often fall into the "do you like me?" mindset. For me it conjures up nightmares of the 8th grade hallway before school. Do I cruise the halls with my friends checking in with "the cool people" or do I play it safe and hang out outside the bandroom with the other band geeks? What it comes down to for me is simply acceptance. Am I accepted or part of this group or am I not?

Mars Hill Bible Church's Pastor Rob Bell quotes his wife on her definition of what's SEXY: "It's someone who's comfortable in their own skin." I would like to also transfer this same definition to someone who is likeable. I think the most likeable people are people who are comfortable with themselves. Comfortable enough to be fully present in a given social setting; not have to dominate or compete in that setting; and ultimately show genuine interest in others. Whenever someone feels the need to dominate or control a given setting, he/she automatically emits a "not cool" vibe which can send people away like bad B.O. The basis of this need for control is fear.

Here's something that I've been brewing on for a few days: FEAR KILLS COMMUNITY. In every shape and form. Fear brings out the worst in community: lack of trust, superficiality, competition, jealousy, envy, - you name the sin. Looking back over my life as an approval addict, I realize how much of my time has been spent motivated by this fear of rejection. Particularly in the area of competition. I have that alpha male syndrome that crowds out other males because of fear of competition. I often "image manage" to make myself look better, causing me not to be fully present in a given setting but looking for a way to control the situation to make me look good. Big confessions here.

I've thought about what the opposite of this fear is and came up with this: LOVE FEEDS COMMUNITY. Also in every shape and form. Love brings out the best in community. "Pefect love drives out all fear." 1 John 4:18. The Corinthians "love chapter 13" talks about this kind of love: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." Not self seeking! Ouch! Not envious! Eww! Not boastful? But what about me!!!?

So what does this mean for me? I can tell you this, that since God has planted this in my heart, I will do my very best to simply BE. I apologize to all those who I have tried my not-so-crafty skills of image management on. No more. I'm done.

Final thought - I guess I need a new t-shirt. I think it will say, without being overly egotistic: "I Like Me." Anyone know a good, cheap, custom t-shirt place?


Welshmnky said...

I love it when you write Dan, this is great stuff. A good word for anyone who performs in front of others. Actors especially tend to end up like this

Heather said...

So shall I heed your brilliance and remove my "It's All About Me!" nametag? I thought it was B.O. driving the masses away. Of course I am just foolin' witcha. Dan, I enjoy your writing, and your "It's All About Love" nametag. Lookin' good, and I really like you!

Anonymous said...

A stunning missive. I'm stunned. Such self-introspection. It was the catalyst behind my briefly looking away from the monitor and examining my own control-freakish ways (I'm a Leo, bite me). Am I like this? Was I like this? Could I improve? The answer is no. I can't.

I think "Danny V" is right on the money with this and I think you all can take away something from it.

Myself? The community thing is a little scary to me. In order to be in a community, you must conform to that community. No, no. I think you need to reach the place where the old people dwell. Do you honestly think they care what you think of them? Their slow, careless driving? The style (or lack thereof) of their blue polyester pants? Absolutely not.

That's where I am. I am who I am, like me, hate me, who cares..'re all dead in the end and I never cared what you thought of my Pork Pie hat anyway.

Right? Right.