Definitions - Disapproval: What is it? (From Albion workshop 1972)
Always somebody is going to give me some attention, and somebody is going to ignore or reject me; and why is that so, people have tastes. I like one wig and I don’t like the other. I like Donna’s little hat—she doesn’t, but she wore it so that she didn’t have to launder her hair, roll it up and get it all pretty; you see, I told her she could just cover it up with a hat and nobody’d see it.
Somebody going to approve of me? Yeah!
Is somebody going to disapprove of me?
You better believe it because there’s going to be different behavior on my part from time to time; and the other person has maybe different taste at different times also. The same person is going to approve of me one day and disapprove of me another—you’ve all experienced that haven’t you? Who cares, it’s just their opinion. So I will never escape disapprove while I live and have a state of being.
Now we could postulate some great state where everybody had the same taste, but I wouldn’t want to be there, would you?
So I like being in a place where there are different tastes, and if there is different tastes, there’s bound to be what?--Some approval and some disapproval from time to time.
(It would be a funny world if all the guys in the world liked just one woman.)
It’s bad enough when only two like the same woman. If they all did, it would be unbearable, no doubt. Maybe all the rest of them will die honey and you can find out.
But do you see that we can set up any kind of “ideal” which is only an illusion—an illusion we struggle for? Is there such a state as being without sensation and still be conscious.
Then, obviously you’re going to have sensation—approval is when I sense somebody says, “I like you” or “that’s a pretty suit” or “I like your weird tie” or “I like your hair” or “I like your behavior”. It is a matter of people expressing their taste. It expresses absolutely nothing about you or me. Did you ever realize that? Somebody says, “I like you.” They’re only telling you something about their taste; they are not describing one iota about you. Don’t get the big head over it because all they’re telling you is about their taste, not a thing about you.
They walk up and say, “I can’t stand you.” They’re not saying one derogatory thing about you; they’re only expressing their taste. They haven’t said a thing about you, and we take it as though it was something serious —something “right” — something that’s “true”. I feel everybody has perfect freedom to express their taste.
So if somebody walked up to you and said “I love you.” All they’re doing is telling you they have a taste that they approve of you at the moment. It’s a statement of their state, not a thing about you.
And if I say, “You are the loveliest creature in the world.” I haven’t told you a thing about you, I’ve only told you about me. You see, we’re always talking about ourselves when we make statements; and other people are only talking about themselves.
We have a form of insanity called “ideas of reference”. Did you ever hear that everything that is said is thought to be about me; and then I get all pushed out of shape over it—it is my particular brand of insanity.
She says, “I can’t stand him.” She’s just expressing her taste; she’s not talking about him at all. She’s only talking about her taste. And if I have “ideas of reference” which is a very severe form of insanity, I assume she’s talking about him. She hasn’t said one thing about him, she’s only told me about her taste at that particular moment—tomorrow she may like him, I don’t know.
Like a while ago I challenged her a little bit and she didn’t approve, and in a little while I told her she knew everything and she said, “Now you’re seeing it like it is—I feel wonderful” So she only told me something about herself—not a thing in the world about him or me.
Is there anybody can tell you anything about Jean Jones—I can tell you my taste around you, Jean—she can tell you her taste around you—he can tell you his taste around you. Nobody can tell you a thing about you. But if you’re insane, you have “ideas of reference”; and you immediately jump to the conclusion because somebody else has a taste, that it somehow relates to you. Nobody can tell you one thing in the world about you because there’s nobody in that skin but you. The rest of them can only talk about their taste regarding the subject. Everybody’s got different taste.
(A neighbor said Donna has this problem about her.)
They’re expressing their opinion. Donna may not see it as a problem at all—she just likes men. (Laughter)
(So you mean nobody really knows Donna.)
No, not even her physician. You can only express your viewpoint, your opinion, your taste—you cannot say one thing for or against Donna because you don’t know one thing about her.
And if I am all upset with the idea that your opinion and your taste are derogatory or, maybe, even approval of me; I, of course, have “ideas of reference”. I’m thinking that I’m the whole center of the world.
(But actually you can at least be aware, look and listen to see what’s being said about you, Donna or someone else and then you can tell __________)
I’m really not interested. I would only be jumping to a conclusion. I can only hear what they’re saying—and that’s all I need to know. I have no urge to doubt or to analyze because I’m in a condition of “not knowing”.
But you see we have an urge to say we know “what’s going on” in the other person—you only know “what’s going on” in you—maybe—and you may not even know that. But you’ll never know about the others. You can only know that it was said that Donna was a slob.
I heard a word—that’s all I know. I heard a person expressing words that reportedly was their opinion—only their opinion. Ten minutes later they said something entirely different—like she was a living doll. And, of course, I agree with them, then, because that just happens to be my taste.
It’s just taste and nobody can express a thing in the world about you. They can only express their taste—the taste they are experiencing at the moment. So could anybody say anything derogatory about you? No, because they don’t know anything about you.
If somebody says, “You’re a terrible person”, does that make it “so’ or is that only expressing their viewpoint. If Darrell says you’re a terrible wife, does that make it “so” or is that just expressing his taste.
So is there anybody can say anything that is really about you? No they can only express their taste, and often that is just at that moment. If I approve of you Bill, it is the feeling within me, it’s not you Bill. You had nothing to do it.
[From Marsha….When I see what disapproval really is, “What Can I Do?” when it actually happens and someone disapproves of me?
Somewhere in the myriad of tapes, there was a way to handle the situation. One can say one of the following statements.
“Thanks for reminding me.”
“Thanks for pointing that out to me.”
“You may be right about that.”
“Oh, you could say that.”
“I’ll consider it.”
“Let me look at that—I’ll spend some time with that—thank you.”
When I remembered to use one of the statements (ignoring the reaction to the disapproval from within); I found it hard to say. There was a tremendous temptation to “defend”. What is there to defend? For one thing vanity has a false picture of self as always being “right”, or “good”. If I defend that, I set up a competition with the one who is disapproving. That one now has to get a little more intense about the disapproval and prove he’s “right”—and the conflict elevates.
The experiment of using one of these statements is to see what happens. Though I may not agree with what the person has said--he doesn’t need to know that. It’s just his “idea of reference” and he hasn’t said anything about me; but what can that person say after the disapproval has been acknowledged with one of the benign statements? Try it.