Sunday, July 14, 2013

Failed Expectations – When Icons Fall

Remember how disappointed you were when you were a kid and Santa didn't bring you what you wanted or asked for? Your feelings were hurt, like it was a personal affront. But as an adult, you look back on it and sort of laugh. The thing is, we never really grow out of that feeling.

My French teacher in high school said a swear word in front of me, and I was shocked because teachers just aren't supposed to swear. I even said something about it, and her response was “Oh, grow up”. She let me down, she failed to live up to my expectation of how a teacher behaves. My feelings were hurt not by her, but somehow by the world for not being the way I thought it should be.

I remember when my best friend from high school Luci died of leukemia at the tender age of 24 just how angry I was about it. It felt personal, because MY friend died in horrible pain. When I got home from her funeral and learned that my friend Eric had died of AIDS the day before, it just shattered me. That was my first experience with friends dying, and truthfully it royally sucked. It's not supposed to happen when you're that young. You don't... (wait for it)... expect it.

In each of those examples, I felt let down, hurt, and angry. But as upsetting as those events were at the time, I got over them. Broadening the scope outside of my personal experience though, think about any time your favorite political figure, music star, or actor did something that upset you. Tom Cruise comes to mind, so let's use him as an example. As a star, people idolized him, fantasized about him, and at one point in time girls (and some guys) got giddy over possibly seeing him in person. He's famous, which made him more attractive, and people poured a lot of their personal energy into this idealized mental image of what he was like.

The public created a thoughtform for Tom Cruise. Oh, the media and publicists help shape it like they always do, but the public feeds the energy into it. He had a good thing going, until the rumors about him being gay cropped up. Then between marrying Nicole Kidman, publicly announcing his affiliation with the Church of Scientology, saying some nasty things about Brooke Shields and the couch-jumping about his marriage to Katie Holmes, Cruise became a laughingstock.

He failed to continue living up to the expectations of his fans, and now he's spoken of with either ridicule or disdain. The energy shifted in tone and instead of positive, people pour negative energy at him when they bother to at all.

But really, that happens with any celebrity. I'll stop picking on Tom now. Your favorite blogger today may be someone you ridicule tomorrow if you don't like what they have to say.

So let's look at what happens on the etheric level. You like some person or sports team, you decide that they're worthy of your admiration, and you feed them energy. By aligning yourself with them that way, it feels as though you're sharing in the energy of the whole fan base, and it feels good. Their success feeds your ego and makes you happy because you're connected to them on an energy level. Their failures, however, make you upset because then it feels like you fail. You get angry at them for “failing you”, and the positive you fed them becomes negative. We all know that generating negative energy long enough over time becomes toxic, so if you keep it up you wind up poisoning your own aura. At best, you might disassociate yourself from them and break the connection.

But what does that do to them? In the weeks since the Paula Deen scandal started, it looks like she's lost weight and has lines on her face that weren't there before. How much of that is her body reacting to the stress of negative energy blasting at her from the public and/or being starved of the positive energy she's used to receiving? Pick any President, and look at the before and after pictures surrounding their term in office, and you'll see what 4 years in the Oval Office can do to a person. Toxic energy causes harm to us, and to the objects of our focus.  I think it also creates stress in the person we're focused on, which has physically harmful side-effects.

In discussing this subject with friends before writing this post, the following possible solutions to the dilemma were put forth:

  1. Don't form energetic attachments to public figures.
  2. Don't form attachments to anyone in order to avoid disappointment.
  3. Love everyone indiscriminately.

None of those are terribly practical, are they? I think we humans are always going to form attachments to public figures, but we should control how much importance we give them. Let people be human. We can't go through life avoiding all attachments, or we never allow ourselves to love. But we can't love indiscriminately without “bleeding out” on an energy level. I think the best we can do is to be rational about our own feelings of attachment and let other people be human.

If you put someone on a pedestal, it's going to hurt a lot of folks when it comes crashing down.