You lost your power to fans and paparazzi a long time ago. It may seem as if you’ll never get it back. But there’s a way to do so.
Your relationship with your fans is one of the most complex you’ll ever navigate. On one hand, these are the people who make your career possible. On the other hand, they are the people who make your life impossible. Fans adore you, fall in love with your persona, appreciate your work.
They also use you to fantasize, consider you public property, and are so blinded by the illusions of fame that they never see You at all.
Their presence sustains your career and intrudes on your most intimate relationships. You love your fans and are grateful for them, the best of them offer kindness, appreciation, and support. You love them, despite the way they back your life into a corner. Or, at least, you know that’s how you should feel.
What if all you really feel is hidden anxiety and underlying resentment?
The paparazzi lie in wait and hunt you down whenever they smell blood. They pursue you, trap you, chase you, harass you, and steal every moment possible. They threaten you and seem to have no limits or morality. They keep your image in the public’s eye and feed the insatiable tabloid industry. They watch you constantly and yet, they too, do not see You.
When you’re prey hunted by bounty hunters, and they intrude in the most personally meaningful moments of your life, expose your kids, threaten your family, and fabricate lies about you that everyone swallows as truth, how can you not feel anything but defensive, angry, outraged?
These people make you an idol and a target. They run you over emotionally. They take no responsibility for their actions or for how their actions impact your life. You are a commodity to them.
Yeah, but it’s just a part of my life…
When fame overruns your life, it’s easy to assume you have to be whoever your fans say you are. That effort to conform to their expectations, to live up to their image of you, wreaks havoc on your sense of Self. And it does more than that, it traps you in a prison that feels inescapable. Desperation sets in. You start to resent your life, but worse, you start to doubt your Self. Your right to be your Self.
And pretty soon you start losing sight of who you are versus who they have made you out to be. (We all know artists who, once lost, never found themselves again. Please know, if you’re reading this, it’s not too late.)
This turmoil can last years or a lifetime. Some people crash and burn with addictions. Others tenaciously endure and time creates some sense of equilibrium. A few find ways to make peace with having millions follow them. But for the most part, you resign to the fact that this is what life has delivered to you.
Accepting the fact that fans and paparazzi are part of your life is not the same as finding healing for the effects the tension, intrusion, threat, and resentment has on you.
You are worth more than what it costs you.
Here is where spirituality comes into play. And some would say that forgiveness is the solution. (Don’t click away yet.)
I know. The idea of someone suggesting you forgive them feels a lot like asking a rape victim to forgive his attacker. It just doesn’t seem right. Or just. Or fair. I get it.
I’m not asking you to forgive. In fact, I don’t believe in forgiveness as most people define it. It too easily dismisses the validity of the wound, the true depth of how a heart and soul and life were hurt. The old adage that “God won’t forgive you unless you forgive those who’ve sinned against you” just sets you up for depression. So, forgiveness is not something I will ever ask you to do. Don’t even try.
What I am interested in, is helping you get your power back. We are beings of power and love. Anytime someone hurts you, you lose a sense of personal power, of sovereignty. Revenge is often more about regaining that sense of power and self-determination than justice.
When I talk about power, I’m not talking about the desire to dominate or rule over others. I’m talking about your natural sense of authority over owning and directing your own life.
Underneath it all lies a sense of having been made powerless.
Getting your power back is about taking back control of your energy.
You start by looking at who owns what in all of this. Fans and paparazzi are responsible for the energy of their behavior and the words they use. They don’t take responsibility and they most likely never will. Your legal team can attempt to help you regain control, but that’s not the kind of solution that is going to give you back your power.
What do you own? Your energy. And the right to choose how you will bring that energy to this world. Anger naturally makes you want to lash out and destroy those who destroy you. But you own how you respond. More importantly, you own how your response effects others and the ripple effect it has.
You consciously choose the energy that will guide your way of being in this world.
And this is where, if you choose to be someone who lives your life predominantly empowered by the energy of Love, you change the game.
I’m not saying you need to feel love for these motherfuckers. No. Getting your power back is not about being nice or just taking it. It’s not about giving up more power and letting them thrash you to death. No. This is about you stepping fully into your power as a being of Love and Light to make conscious choices about how you will respond.
Before you start to think that “love and light” is way too mushy, consider this: every warrior that goes into battle goes into battle for one thing: love. Not love for his country, not love for freedom. Love for his fellow soldiers. That caliber of Love compels men to die for their brothers.
This is the kind of Love that is stronger than Death. And while you’re not going to die for your brothers, if your life is led by the energy of Love, you will kill the lies and limiting beliefs that need to die in you so that Life can flow, and the Light can return to your eyes. And you will live.
When you change your energy, you disrupt the cycle.
You start to live from a sense of compassion and generosity, you let go of scarcity beliefs and fear. You settle down into a truth that assures you that the integrity of how you present your energy to the world is more important than the quick satisfaction of lashing back or exacting vengeance. Your way of being in this world becomes more important than how they hurt you.
You may even get to a place where, without denying how they have hurt you, you change your side of the relationship.
I know… you don’t give a shit about the paparazzi’s lives. And there’s no way in hell you’re going to love them. But what if you broke the cycle of not seeing people for who they are, and you stopped and really thought about them as people? Photographers and reporters, right? They’re creatives. Fucking assholes, I know…but still… do you really think this is what they dreamed for themselves back when all they wanted to do was make art or show the world truth?
What if you meet them as human beings and turn the whole game upside down so disruptively that they forget they are being paid to get a shot at you, and remember the dreams they used to have for themselves?
I’m veering off, I know… but I want you to see that when you shift your energy there are new perspectives and new ways of being that can change the game entirely. Even if the only game that changes is inside your head.
When you move from an energy of Love, you reach beneath the surface and get real with people, you meet them at the soul level and THAT is where transformation happens.
And you have the power to do this.
Get clear on how you really feel. Write down how they’ve hurt you, how they’ve made you feel, how you feel now. Pour it out. Don’t hold back. Cough it up. Every last thing they said and did that cut deep. Wounds cannot heal until they are acknowledged as wounds. When you can verbalize the pain, you open the wounds to the air of New Insight.
Sit with this, but don’t wallow. Let yourself feel whatever comes up, but just sit with it. Let it move through you. Walk it off, ride your bike, hit the gym, cry, play music… but don’t turn to drink or drugs. Don’t numb out. The emotions will pass. Once they do, re-read what you wrote.
This time, read it as if the person who wrote it (you) was your child or someone you love very much. See that person (you) with compassion and empathy for how and why this has hurt so badly. Look at it again, and see the beauty, resilience, strength, humanity, and courage of the one (you) who has endured.
It’s okay if all you still really feel is anger and sadness.
Realize that you can shift this. I mentor a lot of Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans who are deeply wounded and deeply angry, and anger is an energy that stays as long as it supports or preserves you in some way.
When I was healing my Self from the energy of war and death while living as an ex-pat in post-war Bosnia in the early 2000s, I came to a point where I realized my anger (ahem, rage) at those who had committed atrocities was masking an enormous sense of powerlessness within me. And to some degree, a sense of guilt that goodhearted world citizens have from not being able to prevent such crimes.
Under my anger, was a sense of helplessness against the immutable energy of human brutality, war, and death. The epiphany came when I understood that my anger was not doing anyone any fucking good. It seemed right and just, but no amount of anger or outrage would change what had been done. It was only killing me, diminishing my light.
Which brought me to a point where I discovered that I could choose to let go of the anger. Or not. But the choice was mine.
Up until then, I wasn’t even aware that I had a choice.
I was angry and, well, I was angry. I realized that I could make a conscious choice to let go of it. And that is what I did. Being a writer, I wrote a poem to myself, asserting my new choice, and read it over and over, for months. Willing myself to make that choice. Making the choice over and over. Opening my heart to life and healing. I kept at it. Until I lived myself into a new state of being.
The anger lost its power when I realized the purpose it had been serving. But the feeling of anger did not go away until I had re-trained my brain to not go there, to let it go, to choose a different way. It was like rehab for my soul (it was actually only a start, it would take years of wading blind through the darkness before I fully shifted my energy and found my Light again).
I realize that anger and resentment against fans and paparazzi is not comparable to anger and resentment against humans who use four-year-olds as human shields, throw their bullet-riddled bodies in muddy pits, then bulldoze them up and dump them somewhere else a few years later to hide the evidence. I get it.
But you know what? It kinda is.
Anger at those who have made us feel powerless to defend innocence (our own or others) is anger. The reasons why differ, but the way anger eats at the soul is the same.
You have a right to be angry.
You have a right to be free.
The choice is yours.
Yours. Not theirs.
As long as you remain in anger, they hold energetic and emotional power over you.
When you hate, you give your power to the object of your hate. They grow stronger, you grow weaker, consumed by bitterness and resentment. It can feel like a trap that you can’t get yourself out of, a reflex that you can’t stop. But you can. It will take time, but you can reclaim the part of yourself that has a right to be at peace and move from a sense of expansion and generosity.
And it is critically important that you do. Not just for yourself, but for your kids, your relationships, your work. Your energy in this world matters, and when you are entrusted with being observed by millions, it matters even more.
Recognize though, gently, that anger is a sign of grief.
We focus our anger on whatever has taken something from us — our privacy, our honor, our dignity, our freedom, our beliefs, our sense of safety, our plans, our dreams, our relationships, our love, our trust — it’s always about loss. Anger is a safer emotion to feel than actually feeling the ache of loss.
So, we go there and we stay there. We fixate on the aggressor, on what they did/do, and what we really need is to crumple into tears and grieve what we’ve lost. To be held by someone who will hold us sacred. Because the pain is real. And pain has to be respected in order to be lived through and eased. Fixating on anger denies the true depth and reality of our pain. It keeps the soul stuck.
But you are the only one who keeps your soul stuck.
Let that sink in.
You are the only one who can be the hero of your own life.
You can’t change the actions of others.
You can change your response, but even more so, you can change your beliefs about your Self and life so that you are anchored in Something Greater Than You that holds you firm when others attack and battle against you. You can shift your energy to be predominantly led by Love.
This is how you get your power back. This is how you heal your relationship with your fans and paparazzi. This is how you heal everything.
You have to become very grounded in yourself, and yet, you don’t have to wait for that to happen to begin to shift your relationship with paparazzi and fans.
Begin by seeing them as human beings who weren’t always scavengers and shitbags. Open your mind and take a closer look.
They get a high and paid off of hunting you, baiting you, forcing a reaction from you. But if you look close enough with your heart you’re going to see them through the lens of compassion and empathy. Not because they deserve it, but because you can own compassion and empathy, you can choose to make that your dominant energy.
You may even see a version of your self that could have become reality if your life had taken different turns. You remember what it was like when all you had was faith in your Self, and how tired you got of getting knocked down and being the only one there to pick yourself up? (yeah, I know, that’s still you) What if you had given up? What if you had turned bitter at rejection? Hmmm?
See what I mean? Now, what if you started meeting them as humans? I know, they won’t allow it and any attempts you make would just land you in some cruel headline. But this is about You. Not them.
When you start to do things because your soul needs to do them to Live, you take your power back and you reclaim your Self.
What if instead of acting like prey — getting cornered, snapping, or hiding — you turned the tables and showed up as a human being who looks beneath their surface? What if you found such groundedness in your Self that you made it your mission to make a difference in the lives of these individuals?
Whenever you strip an enemy of their ability to dehumanize you in their mind, you weaken them. There are, of course, people so consumed by hate and the need to destroy in order to sustain their denial of their self-worth that they will never change. In war, those are the ones we take out first.
But, we’re not talking about war. We’re talking photographers and tabloid reporters. People who started out with some creative dreams.
You may very well be too hurt and too defensive to even give their souls a second thought. And it’s not your responsibility to save these people from themselves.
But it IS your responsibility to save You.