Love Your Elf - a blog
This book is a kind of spoof on the Elf on the shelf tradition. Though never, not once, in the book, does the word "shelf" get used, it employs the readers', listeners', imagination and asks them to consider the Elf's "plight." Way, way up alone, when you just come in and stare at your phone. He is lonely. He doesn't get seen or recognized for who he is - but just once a year. He is the lonely Elf. And he's not happy being ignored for 11 months out of the year!
Deep down, we may not realize it, but we have become disconnected from our-elves. We chase happiness in our small screen. That's the way the screen "likes it." Please watch the documentary titled The Social Dilemma (on NetFlix). In this movie, the founder and former CEO of Pintrest, told of his plight, in the early years, where he would be at work all day, developing the platform, writing code and getting the business going and then coming home to only be on his phone, while he had two little children and his wife there. He said it felt like something he couldn't stop and that he was/felt powerless to do anything about it. The gazing deeply into his screen interrupted the deeper human need to see and be seen. I think this is a perfect example of what the Elf book addresses.
It's scary to think that we have become more and more alienated from our "elves" and consequently each other, because we've become attached to a different form which has wreaked havoc in our lives - our society, our family, our culture and really our world. We have become detached substituting an attachment to a small screen. The small screen started off with the TV, and suddenly grew into the BIG SCREEN (Der GroSe Bildshirm - in German). I think this whole behavior of gazing, believing, interacting with "the screen" is what is really the culprit. It started a long time ago, and now, unconsciously we are reaping the whirlwind. (See my podcast for my reflections on Narcissism and Screenification.) Is this something we are powerless to change? What is at risk if we don't? What might happen if we do change it just a little bit?
Anyway, that's why the Elf's upset. His guy never pays attention to him - anymore, now that the holiday has come and gone. He just sits there - way, way up alone. How else is he supposed to get attention? He has to do something drastic. Not that I want to make any overly drawn correlations, but we do things everyday if we feel that we are being ignored - not being paid attention to. That's an awful condition to be in. And though this is not the same kind of experience (or at least it shouldn't be) for adults, as it is for our precious new children just coming into the world, feeling ignored is "feeling ignored." How to communicate that? How to express that? How to release the pressure inside that has built up from that? How do we say that's: Enough loneliness. Enough distraction. Enough ignorance (means to ignore)?
The ongoing search and quest for that deep human connection, continually thwarted and interrupted by persistent attachment to the little screen, causes some people to just say or do something drastic. In some ways, we can even get a sense for how terrorism, from those far removed from the Western cultures, those who "don't have" the opportunities that we "have" in this culture (also an illusion) might result to taking drastic measures to alleviate the sense of not mattering, not being taken seriously and being ignored.
Our society, at the current time, is facing many tensions. Many of them, in my opinion, come as a result of how we process and glean "information" as it comes to us through our small screen. We don't get it directly from other humans, other human contacts, interaction with each other (even before COVID) was a kind of distracted, disinterested, disaffiliated kind. No wonder we're lonely. No wonder we're "upset".
I mentioned that this is different, or should be different, for adults as opposed to children. Adults now capable of taking care of them-elves can't really blame others (though they do) for their "unhappiness." To really "not ignore" your elf and to take care of your elf is really talking about self-love. Co-dependent, or what I have heard lately "self love deprived," people have a difficult time doing the self love thing. They function as needy people, needing affirmation, needing to be seen by others, before they can "function." They are super sensitive when it comes to feeling ignored. We can look at the drive for people on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. to be "popular, get likes, followers, subscribers, etc." as a form of self love deprivation. Being popular is always a substitute for really loving yourself and having an edge to bring into the life experience everyday. Children who happen to be old enough to be adults build their popularity with showing off how much money they make and they want to help you make that much money also. These gags are everywhere! It is the pacifier for the deeper need to be loved and experience the depth of love. Having money is kind of like a pacifier. It's necessary but in the long run it just keeps you dependent. I wonder if the people who hoarded their belongings would suddenly have enough money if they'd actually get rid of their stuff? The kind of person who wants and needs to be popular on Youtube, who thinks they are the baddest in town, who shows up to "one-up" everyone has self-love deprivation. The small screen coupled with the internet makes this kind of trajectory very popular among Child Adults. It just does not ever satisfy what is really, really hungry. I think COVID, the virus, has exposed a different "virus" that was running out of control in the background of our world and now, if you're not feeling it and secretly hoping that things will get "back to normal someday" you're not paying attention to your Elf who is now talking to you.
Face it. The holidays suck if your Elf is up on the shelf for 11 months out of the year. Love is from the heart, it lasts all year long, it needs no reasons, it makes no excuses, it does not depend upon how many material possessions, followers, likes, subscribers you have or how popular you are. When you make your life depend upon externals, from outside energy coming into you, you will never have enough. If you discover your Elf deep down, you'll have enough, no matter how much or how little you have. So many people that I have talked to about this idea say that what I am talking about really relates to them. Not that I don't "like" the holidays (which are quickly now approaching), but I am tired, as so many I've found, of all of the hype that surrounds this "time of year." Why can't it be this "time of year" all of the time? Well, really, if you listen to your Elf, it is that time of year all year around.
I am not an Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to the holidays, but they have become illusory for me - they have become an illusion - a hype by which I am no longer mesmerized. I choose to love my ELF in every season.
"Love your Elf in all seasons, because love is a thing that needs no reasons."