(AT THE OSCARS!)
It's Monday the 28th of March 2022.
As usual, I wake up, make a cup of tea, sit down to drink that tea, while scrolling down various social feeds and news sites to see what's happening in the world. I come across a headline saying 'Will Smith Hits Chris Rock On Oscars Stage', accompanied by that picture.
Wait a second....what?
Curious, like all of us at the time, I clicked on the link to find out more, and this time watched that video. Again, like everyone, even when the slap happened, I said to myself 'Oh, it's another one of those stunts they're always pulling'. That was until Will Smith sat back down, and started yelling.
At this point, confusion starts to creep in, and it doesn't look or feel like a joke anymore.
Of course since then (at the time of writing this, it has been 4 days since the event in question happened), so much speculation as to what happened, who was in the wrong, what should have happened at the time and what the consequences need to be have been thrown around. But I'm not writing this to talk about any of those issues. Because for the initial couple of days since it happened, I sat with confusion....a conflict within myself. And I couldn't quite understand why.
DID HE REALLY DO THAT?!
After some time mulling it over, I realised what the confusion was all about. I just couldn't believe that someone whom I had watched since I was a child, someone I looked up to, someone I thoroughly enjoyed watching and someone whom I always saw as the good guy would do something like this.
The jumble of emotions consisted of shock, sadness, confusion, bewilderment, but most of all....disbelief. I was struggling to accept and believe that this loved celebrity had acted in the way he did. But, did it, he certainly did, and it would be just a matter of time before it would fully sink in and that I would accept this side of this person.
SEEING THE WORLD THROUGH ROSE-TINTED SPECTACLES
Becoming disillusioned by the actions of someone usually comes from the place of having utmost respect, regard or love for them.
That person can do no wrong.
Carl Rogers (the founder of the Person-Centred Theory) spoke about humans always moving toward becoming better versions of themselves, to becoming 'fully functioning people'. In doing so, we are constantly taking in life experiences, experiences that, usually unknown to us at the time, are shaping the very reality of who we are, and of how we see the world. However the route towards becoming that 'fully functioning person' is a bit more complicated than it seems.
In order to be on the path of becoming a fully functioning person (according to Rogers, it was not a goal to become a fully functioning person, more a continuous journey), we would need to be accepting of all that we experience, without any distortions, doubt or denial. This scenario would usually exist in a world where people have been allowed to be truly themselves, distanced from what others think or do and unaffected by the expectations of others. In other words, you may find yourself meditating under a bodhi tree if you were to reach this level of functioning.
But unfortunately, that's not how the real world is.
BRUSHING THINGS UNDER THE CARPET
So usually what happens is, in a bid to be a more open, more loving and accepting person, with the best of intentions, our experiences and the expectations that have been placed on us throughout our lives, usually trick us into feeling that we are becoming an accepting and mature person. What is in fact happening is we cut, crop or completely delete certain experiences if they do not sit well with the way we see ourselves or others. We don't do this on purpose, we don't do it with any ill intention or malice. But our minds have been programmed throughout the years to do this to keep us safe and happy.
What would it mean to you if your child, whom you love unconditionally and was your little angel, was to commit a serious offence?
How would feel if your partner of many years, whom you vowed to love and cherish, was unfaithful?
How would you react if your parents, who seemed to be happy, filed for divorce?
I'm sure that many of you reading may have certainly gone through the above scenarios or several others. But I wonder whether one of the first feelings was that of complete disbelief, especially if you never expected it.
And then what? Do we accept these events immediately, does it take us time to get to that point, or do we brush it under the carpet, pretending it never happened. Because of course, they could never do that.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Just as I mentioned before, we normally discount many things we see or hear to protect ourselves. It becomes a coping mechanism. It protects us against what could potentially lead to a breakdown, as our world has crumbled and we start to question our reality, the people around us and even ourselves. And that can be distressful and damaging.
It's not always the case that dismissing certain experiences would lead to noticeable consequences for yourself, or for others around you. But what happens when that bump under the carpet starts to get bigger and bigger?
Tripping over it one day seems inevitable.
We come to a point where hiding, denying or eliminating certain experiences no longer serve to protect us, but can end up having the complete opposite result. We may end up living in a bubble of our own distorted reality.
I'm sure right now, Will Smith is somewhere questioning who he really is and how he sees himself, as we are left dealing with how we now see him.
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Thanks for reading!