I am not a fan of reality television shows, particularly ones about relationships. I avoid viewing things like The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Married at First Sight, Farmer Wants a Wife and any other variation on the theme. I can’t help but wonder how genuine any of these relationships could possibly end up being when they are generated from such unrealistic beginnings.
Locky Gilbert, the latest Australian Bachelor, is a thrill seeking, ex-Survivor contestant, and a gorgeous specimen of a man who is determined to find love in this unreal environment and I know this only because of the bombardment of adverts alerting me to this latest series starting very soon.
There are a variety of edited snippets of women vying for his affections and their attempts to be noticed and remembered at their first meeting. We gain insight into their personalities, or at least the personalities the video editors want us to believe, and begin to form likes and dislikes based on these 15 second grabs.
It is in this context that we see a nervous Bachelor, waiting for the onslaught of women to arrive that we hear him whisper this devastating statement to himself: “Please like me.” My heart breaks every time I hear it. Every single time.
“Please like me.”
What is not to like about him? Locky appears to have it all going for him. He is tall, physically fit and attractive. Why would he even anticipate that the bevy of female contestants campaigning for his affection would find him unappealing? This gives us such an insight into the insecurity that is at the heart of many of us when faced with meeting and interacting with people.
How many times in my life have I whispered that to myself? “Please like me.” What is at the heart of that statement? The fact that I have been hurt in the past by people not seeing my value and worth as a person. I know I am not alone in this. The drive to have people like us can mean that we engage in behaviours that are motivated by the desire for popularity rather than our own authenticity.
The truth is, trying to please people in a desire to be liked is a frustrating and fruitless exercise in the long term. Take it from me, you end up living a shadow of a life, not in the bright and vibrant colours that God intended. People’s affections are so fickle and short lived that we end up having to compromise who we are over and over again.
The bible even advises that “We are not trying to please people, but God, who tests our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 4) When we live as our true and authentic selves we have a huge burden lifted from us. The effort to always be on the look out for opportunities to win over others can be exhausting.
So the next time I find myself whispering, “Please like me.”, I remember that God tells me, “I already do.” What’s more, He says that to you too.