Two nights ago I dreamt of rats. In my dream I was trying to get somewhere for a certain time, to do something important, and rats kept crossing my path, preventing me from getting where I needed to be. The white, red-eyed, long tailed rats were there when I was driving on the highway and they were there in the hall that I was trying to walk down. I wasn’t really afraid of the rats, more annoyed actually, even though perhaps I should’ve been.
I’m sure there is probably some symbolic dream interpretation of these white, beady-eyed rats, but I woke up thinking of the Pied Piper. Almost a year ago I wrote a well received post Paying The Pied Piper (click to read). (The Pied Piper is a person who is able to persuade and convince others to “follow” him and join in embracing his philosophies and points of view. The Pied Piper plays a tune which is alluring to others and his “followers” (rats) back him up by adding strength and confidence to his persona.)
(image courtesy of Google images)
Perhaps the dream is a reflection of the amount of thinking that I have been doing of how some of us look repeatedly to others to assure us of our status, to aid us in building our own confidence and self-esteem, and how the approval of others can even lead us to strive to be someone we may not otherwise choose or be proud to be. All too often and sadly, I have had to stand by and watch this happen.
As of late, I’ve again noticed that some of us can depend so much on the approval and acceptance of others that we forget who our true friends and loved ones (the ones that have repeatedly stood by us) are. It saddens me to think that the acceptance of these ‘others’ is more important than the love and support of true friendship and family that has always been there.
I realize that this continues to be an age-old problem and one that I know many of us can relate to. I’m sure that there is not one person reading this post who hasn’t at one time or another felt pushed aside, placed on the back burner, left to gather dust on a shelf, ignored, or ‘left hanging’ while our ‘friends’ take “better” offers to do “better” things with other people or even leave us out in the cold in order to seek the approval or acceptance of someone else. Now I’m not saying that people can’t have or make other friends – I love making new friends and spending time with new people — I’m simply saying that when we push aside the ones who have always been there for us in order to “follow” someone else then we can’t expect those who have been pushed aside to continue to be there when we need them.
I can see how it happens, however. As much as we try to do our ‘own thing’ and to live our lives in our own way, we can easily fall into the pattern of searching out the acceptance and opinions of others in order to build up our own confidence. If our self-esteem is low, we may choose to spend time with others who make us feel good about ourselves in one way or another. This is not always a bad thing as we should spend our time with people who bring out the best in us and help us to feel good about ourselves. But, when we do so to the exclusion and detriment of others and their feelings it becomes problematic. As well, when we develop the “us vs. them” mentality of the Pied Piper, we can end up being destructive to past and present relationships and volatile to the current situations around us.
The allure of the Pied Piper hasn’t changed. He still promises strength in numbers, his backing and confidence if you side with him, and the attitude that if you are “with” him you join him in being “better” than everyone else. He still does what’s best for him and assures you that it will be what’s best for you. He walks with confidence and a false sense of pride; even when the chips are low and the odds are against him, he is able to come out on top — and so will you. Falling into a pile of sh&* is no problem – with his charm and slick tongue he will come out smelling like a rose — just stick with him.
The tune the Pied Piper plays continues to be alluring, intoxicating, and tempting, but its melodic notes end quickly and abruptly when you realize that all they offer is a false sense of security and comfort. The sad reality is that when you are out of the Pied Piper’s grasp and no longer a victim to his melody, you can see through him. You can see who he really is, one low on self-esteem and envious of others, and you wonder how you could’ve been duped in the first place. You then join the other outcasts as they unwillingly sit back and watch more rats fall under his spell. You become torn between feeling sympathy for the rats and, yes, perhaps even pity for him.
In the end, the Pied Piper’s tune will fall on deaf ears and there will be no more rats to hear his playing. We will all reap what we sow and perhaps we will be treated by others just how we have treated them. My friends, we can rest assured in the faith that what goes around does indeed come around again. The Pied Piper is no exception.