Well, don't. It's not good for you.
'Don't deny who you really are' is one of the catch phrases for my second book, Defense Mechanisms. And it's an ongoing theme in the stories I like to tell. Most of us grown-ups actively and repeatedly deny our fun and playful sides. We could be laughing and enjoying and recharging, but we stop ourselves from having fun. Over and Over.
Why do we do that?
Humiliation is the key despoiler of satisfaction and joy. How many times were you doing something you liked, and someone else came along and made fun of you for it? Put you down and belittled you in front of others. Left you feeling so ashamed or embarrassed you stopped doing it. How many things do you think you've given up because someone might come along and look down on you for it?
[photo from Twig the Fairy]
What if there was nothing wrong with what you were doing, it just made someone else uncomfortable. What if the person who tried to humiliate you only did it because someone humiliated them about it first? And so in an endless cycle of harassing each other to not do things that are perfectly fine things to do. Like laugh, play, and be openly delighted by the things we enjoy.
How about we don't give them up?
Sure, it might make someone else feel uncomfortable. Let them feel it. Those are their feelings, their issues. If someone tries to put you down, can they actually, really humiliate you? Not if you're not ashamed and don't feel bad about yourself. Humiliation can't be imposed on someone from the outside, it can only hook something already inside you willing to be demeaned. I know it's not always that easy, but sometimes it is. And hey, you'll also be showing other people that it's okay to like what they like and openly enjoy liking it.
Like this fine fellow:
“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.” – Ray Bradbury
(Thanks to Kaye Thornbrugh for sharing this quote)
To read my latest story and have some deep, meaningful fun exploring this stuff further, check out Defense Mechanisms, coming out this month (August 2013).
Amber Michelle Cook's Blog
A call to all grown-ups everywhere: Play!