What if I told you you’re perfect exactly as you are? Would you believe me? How could I know if you were perfect, you wonder? I have never even seen you. I don’t know what you look like, how big your nose is, what kind of job you have, how much you weigh, if you have stretch marks or cellulite, how much money you have in your bank account, what kind of car you drive or clothes you wear, if you have scars, fake hair, if you need a cleanse, or what other people think about you. What if I told you there is one diet you could go on that would help build your self-esteem and miraculously make you feel better about who you are and what you have? That it could make you feel more attractive, lovable, capable, and worthy? That it could lessen depression and malaise and make you feel special and unique, could help you focus better, achieve your goals, and even give you more time to pursue your dreams. Would you believe me?
I used to watch TV. I watched it quite religiously, in fact. I watched I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, cartoons, and M.A.S.H. I was a devotee when television and actors’ sole purpose was to entertain you. And my parents read the paper because they believed they were going to be informed about important and current events. And then something shifted.
I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the day I noticed the shift too. I was watching All My Children; Erika Kane was going to jail (again), this time for murder. I was spellbound. Then a commercial break came on. It was Farah Fawcett doing a Wella hair commercial. She ran her hands through her perfectly feathered hair and I remembered thinking, Wow…I wish my hair looked like that! ‘Cause if my hair looked like that, if I had feathered hair, then maybe I would look prettier and…ooh, oh, the commercial break was over. There was Erika, rich and beautiful and in jail, in full makeup. I wondered. Wow, they let you wear makeup in jail? That’s pretty cool, I guess. I knew she wouldn’t be in jail long, ‘cause, ya know, she was Erika, and she was rich and beautiful and people who are rich and beautiful don’t stay in jail. Even if they murder someone. Everyone runs around and gets all the richest, most powerful people together and gets them out.
I thought about that for a moment. Hmmm. Where was this Pine Valley, I wondered? How come everyone is rich there? Does anyone have a job? No one ever goes to work, or if they do they don’t actually work, they mostly just stand around and talk about…other people and the big party, wedding or special event that’s coming up. Or who betrayed whom, or, or. And they all look so beautiful and have these passionate relationships and cool clothes and fancy cars and big houses and really expensive jewelry.
I sat back from the edge of the chair I was perched on with sudden consternation and intense curiosity. How did they get all that? I mean, was everyone there born rich and beautiful or what? I wanted to know. And then another commercial came on. I looked outside our panoramic window, down at the pool. No one was in it. School was out, summer was just starting and I felt forlorn. I sat alone, plain and penniless at 14 wondering how I could get a life like that…if I would ever live in a place like Pine Valley…
My girlfriends and I would spend many of those summer days with our bodies slathered in Bain de Soliel (or baby oil if we couldn’t afford that), our faces buried in Cosmo or Vogue, ogling and studying our role models: the emaciated rich. We believed that what we saw was real, closing the magazines feeling imperfect and fat yet determined to figure out how to get what they had. We wanted a life other than our own. It seemed possible. Why shouldn’t we trust what we saw? It was everywhere; skinny, happy, rich people who wore designer clothes and had passionate relationships.
Little did we know there was a group of people who had concocted it all, a select group of sleazy, greedy, very clever soul-sucking vampires who, day in and day out, preyed on people just like us. The naïve, trusting sheep who conveniently, thanks to other patriarchal mandates that were in place, had low self-esteem, and had not yet learned to question authority. These few had gathered together like rats near a feast, wringing their hands, salivating at the opportunity to prosper at our vulnerability. Evil at its finest. Make them think they can have it, dangle it in front of them at every turn. Lure them with the airbrushed, fake and impossible—and the stupid, fat and poor will gobble it up like the pathetic peasants they are and we will get rich! Bwa ha ha, ah ah (insert wicked laughter).
At age 14 I realized that every time I turned on the TV or opened a magazine, I felt bad about myself, however subtly. The net effect was, I was being hoodwinked or lured to believe I should be, better, cooler, prettier, skinner: something other than me. So I turned it off and tuned it out—pretty successfully, I might add. And instead began to fill my mind with Socrates, Simone de Beauvoir, and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, who lifted my spirit and ultimately led to me to the foundation on which I now firmly rest. Instead of being a spectator of life, I became a student of what was true, real and possible, and have really never looked back. The rare bits of TV or mags I have ingested are minuscule compared to back in the day—and yet still, after all this time, have the same effect. Interesting how some things never change. But I can.
The Ultimate Cleanse:
The bad news may be that the soul suckers lured you in, they sold it, you bought it and you, too, are addicted to being externally referenced. The good news is: The jig is up. Yes, it’s all a big lie. But there is a cure and it’s as simple as 1-2-3.
- Turn off your idiot box (TV).
- Don’t buy any more rags (trash or fashion magazines).
- Stop paying attention to what other people are doing and focus on yourself!
Let’s fill this out a little.
- The TV is one gigantic infomercial designed to make you feel bad about yourself and to keep you stupid. The average person, according to my friend Robert Mack in his book Happiness from the Inside Out, spends an extra $400 for every hour spent watching television. And the average American watches 30 hours of TV per week, that’s a lotta moolah! Twelve grand, ouch!
- Magazines are filled with celebrities (people who make a living pretending to be other people) and models (people who are starving themselves to look like people that don’t actually exist) who are posers prostituting themselves so they can pay their own mortgages at your expense. They don’t buy those things they’re wearing and using! They are given them by the manufacturers. Why? Because they know we are desperate to have this fake life (which does not exist, by the way), and we will do or buy anything hoping to make ourselves feel better by being or having whatever the celebrities are advertising. Thus programming you to believe you are not enough or perfect as you are!
- Keep your eye on your own ball. If you don’t have a life purpose, then get one. Now. Spending your time looking outside yourself is the surest way to feel bad about yourself. Stop comparing someone’s life to yours, and you will have more time in your day. You will instantly feel better because you won’t be comparing yourself to anything outside yourself! It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, there will always be someone somewhere who is smarter, faster, stronger, prettier, skinnier or richer than you. Who cares? Why do you actually care what Brad Pitt is doing? I can assure you he doesn’t care what you’re doing; he is busy living his own life.
Being internally referenced is the foundation for all my work. That, and a solid relationship with spirit and your inner divine guidance, and you are all set. You already have everything you need; you have been given the greatest gift of all and it’s staring you right in the face: You. What you are is your gift from God! What you make of yourself is your gift back! Jim Rohn, a well-known motivational speaker, once gave me this advice:
Stop building someone else’s dream!
And I say to you, turn off the TV and shut out the media vultures. Stop taking the bait! Build your own dreams. I promise you will be glad you did! Your own life is precious and very real. And you are indeed perfect as you are.
Try the ultimate cleanse for a month. You will feel better, be more focused, have more time, and be all that closer to turning your heart’s greatest desire into reality! It’s not easy, absolutely, but it’s definitely worth the effort—anything worth having is!