I saw My Fair Lady with family.
It is my all-time favorite play and we had fabulous seats.
Afterward we went back stage and I told Lauren Ambrose what a superb job she did as Eliza Doolittle and Ted Sperling how great the music was.
There was also some star-gazing involved. Mandy Patinkin was right behind me and I tried to avoid staring. But he also came back stage and we bumped into each other five times. The twinkle in his eyes said we should stop meeting like this so I told him – truthfully – that he was my favorite character in Homeland.
We had a lovely dinner after that so it was a magical day.
It also got me thinking.
A powerful moment in MFL is where Henry Higgins’ mother commiserates with a sobbing Eliza Doolittle. She is distraught because Higgins did not congratulate her after an exemplary performance at the royal ball when the crown prince himself took the first dance with her.
Eliza rebukes Higgins by comparing him to Col Pickering who treats a flower-girl as if she was a duchess. Higgins retorts that he treats a duchess as if she were a flower-girl and asserts that he treats everyone the same.
Eliza wanted to feel ‘special’ and be treated that way.
So do you. So do I. And so does everyone else.
The problem arises when we want this recognition and applause to come from a specific person. Or persons.
Every time our emotional wellbeing is affected by whether or not someone else acknowledges us, we construct a prison around ourselves and hand that person the key.
Why would you do that? Why would you ever want to do that?
We do it because we have never thought about it and because everyone around us is doing so.
Do you really want your happiness to be controlled by the spigot of other people’s attention and acclaim?
Your job, like a flower, is to bloom. Your fulfillment lies in that.
The rose that blossoms in the wild is not a whit less than the one that does so in a show garden.
Think about this. Think about how you are constantly basking in the acclaim of others and trying to obtain it and more of it.
You don’t need it.
And the best way to free yourself is to see, really see, how this quest is robbing you of your birthright – serenity and happiness.