You’ll either like this or you will not ‘get it’ (music-wise) – but I’m here to let you know that you look great! And it’s really not about you.
‘I will tell you a secret on how to get out of hell: Remove the focus from yourself’. That anonymous quote is one of my favourites. And it is my inspiration for this song and music video.
Our inner yearning for connection
Desirability is a part of our human experience; the yearning to be desirable to others, to ourselves. It is an enigma that we can either use or abuse. We celebrate it and we shame it. Or the lack of.
Ellen Langer, a researcher from Harvard University, found that when we are very mindful of others, and being curious, engaged with, noticing new things about others, it is then that we actually come across and more loveable and even more charismatic. People actually love us more when we are curious about them.
It seems that the journey from ‘seeking others approval’ to arriving at ‘generating self-validation’ is what results in others approval, based on Ellen’s work.
My experimental video ‘looking bad/looking good’ makes fun of how obsessed we all are about it. To me, it is a catch-22-with-myself. On one hand, I’m unleashing a ‘yasss queen-show-off-celebrating-self-physically-objectifying-playfully’ while actually honing in on the importance provoking removing-the-focus-from-desirability-and-shifting-to-an-inner-connection. And promoting a focus-on-self-satisfaction-that-is-not-outer-determined. Centred around who we are, and really – how we are for others.
For me, it is important to share that while I am attempting this light-hearted banter and cautiously openly doubting myself: Am I partaking in an impoverishing ‘desirability society’? Or rather can I hope that this step penetrates this culture to promote a thoughtful message?
The bottom line of this is raising the inquiry for anyone who is desiring being desirable: You want attention? Notice others. You desire affection? Love others. You seek approval? Acknowledge people for who they are. Rather than how they look.
Do you want to look good? Well, as I say in the song ‘just look around, be out there and look at what is happening out there, get out of your head and be out there…’ and notice that we all just wanna look good – to you.
And now, you’ll know what to do.
This whole project started when I spoke with my buddy Euan at our Landmark training. I was astonished to notice that I was holding back on sharing my shortcomings because I wanted to look good to him. It was a breakthrough for me. Later that night I went out to sketchy beats (another step for ‘being unleashed’) jam night.
As I began to go on about how ‘we all want to look good’, gradually this song articulated. A mesmerised girl faced me with her hand drum, as if she was on that journey with me, following every word as they came about. When the punchline ‘they all just wanna look good to …you,’ suddenly she got so present to it too and burst into the most encouraging empathetic laughter! For me it meant validation. And it was wonderful, and I decided to record it.
And here we are.
I joyfully reminisce filming this during Valentine’s Day weekend with the lovely married couple whom I admire (they both overcame COVID-19 this year and now just got a puppy!) and rejoice to embrace my own self-expression.
Thank you for my best Fans Joseph and Julia Fan; awesome artist Raymond Perfetti, the girl with the hand drum at Sketchy Beats; my dear friend Maruisz Borowski; my pal Krista Franks; vocal coach Lauren Lucille; angel Covert Harris. And as always, thanks to my talented sound mixer CDC Carlos Cornejo
Credits: Inspowerment by Landmark Worldwide; Production, song, and design by Shalhavit-Simcha Cohen
Shalhavit-Simcha Cohen is doing a PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Edinburgh.
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