“Do I Exist?” written by Bren Koger.
Facebook is a great way to observe human nature.
And it seems we all just want to be heard; to be noticed and validated. Whether it’s an inspiring quote or making people laugh at our witty comments, we all want to know that we’re not alone.
A Theme That Persists in the Movie, Birdman
In the new movie “Birdman” written and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu ( “21 Grams,” “Babel,” ), washed-up actor Riggen (Michael Keaton) who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he puts all of his hope into a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory. The cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezski alone is well worth seeing this movie.
At one point in the movie, Riggen ( Michael Keaton) says this line from the stage of his play : “I’m nothing. I’m not even here.”
Do We Exist? Is a Common Theme
We at once feel the irony of someone putting themselves out there, literally, on stage in a desperate attempt to not feel invisible.
We all want support and encouragement that we get from friends and social connections. The movie seems to put a magnifying glass on what we all feel to some degree.
Why else would there be so many selfies, pictures of plates of food, and over sharing about our political views on social media.
“You’re beautiful, your talented, and I’m lucky to have you” is another line from the movie ” Riggan says this to Lesley (Naomi Watts), one of his actresses, to calm her down and prop her up.
Almost every character in the movie seems to be struggling with the question “Am I any good enough, do I have value, and do I exist.” They seem to be desperately grasping for attempts at meaning.
And maybe it goes even deeper to the point of feeling like it’s validating their very existence.
Maybe we are all avoiding that fearful thought that we are alone in this world; hoping that we have value and are not merely some insignificant speck on a giant blue ball.
Why else would we live in a society and culture that encourages self-promotion. Just look at the current fad of selfies and selfie related products out there.
Unfortunately, one less than obvious repercussion with this self-centered behavior is that we tend to create a bubble that we live in. This bubble serves to protect and shelter us, while at the same time numbing us from so many others to whom we should be paying more attention.
We All Want the Answer to Do I Exist
We all just want to know we exist and are doing a good job.
Fear of not being good enough or not being heard drives us to do crazy things. like the recent spectacle that Miley Cyrus made of herself on the MTV Awards.
To be heard, involves vulnerability. In one scene from the movie (spoiler alert) although Riggen thinks he has super powers he gets his robe caught in a stage door and has to walk in Time Square in his tightie whities and becomes a YouTube sensation.
Even though, he is struggling to become relevant again he becomes the media sensation by an accident that makes him, literally, almost naked and transparent.
Being Authentic Will Help Answer “DO I Exist?”
How do we feel like our lives have meaning and value? How do we feel like we’ve made our mark on the world?
I think it involves opening up to our vulnerability, but not in a twerking on stage, walking abound in our underwear kind of way.. In a way that is less self-promoting and more validating of others.
It’s about connection, to feel one with everyone else.
How can we do this?
By paying attention to people in a nonjudgmental way.
Look for what is right about them,
Practice radical genuineness, understand the emotion someone is feeling on a very deep level. Maybe you have had a similar experience. Radical genuineness is sharing that experience as equals.
Create a pure, non-judgmental, patient, and empathetic space where people get to express and feel understood and validated. Allow room to explore questions like “What does your soul really want?” “What makes you happy?” “What are you grateful for?” and “How can you forgive?”
When someone listens to you, it makes you feel accepted, understood, important, valued and validated. It gives you a voice to help you find yourself again. It reminds you that you are not invisible or alone
AND in the process validates both the giver and the receiver.
Mike and I are members of Toastmasters and want to share this 2005 1st place winning speech on validation.
Instead of “Birdman” it is my goal in 2015 to become “The Validator”
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