On the plane from London to Los Angeles, I had the time to watch the short film, Violet. Violet is about a young girl who despises her reflection. At the peak of puberty, she spends time criticizing herself in the mirror – judging the size of her nose, shape of her head and color of her skin. This self deprecating behavior sounded familiar to me, so I chose to watch how the filmmakers would solve this ever too common phenomenon amongst teenage girls.
One day, Violet is walking down the hallway at school when she sees a sign for the (not optional) school ball. She is devastated and worries about the gossip of the other students, fearing that she may not be accepted for her ugly (or so she believes) appearance. After getting all dressed up, she looks in the mirror only to have her reflection reach out, pull her into the mirror and trade places with her.
What shocked me the most about this film was what came next…. the reflection criticized her for shaming her for so many years. Simply proclaiming, “I am tired of you making fun of my figure and all of the disapproving faces” (paraphrasing here) and decides to go to the ball in Violets place. Because she left with a sense of confidence in herself, she ended up dancing with a boy she liked at school and experiencing her first kiss. The original Violet looked upon her reflection from the glassware in the ballroom with disbelief and envy. She realized that by spending her days criticizing herself she forgot to ENJOY LIFE. She had everything she needed to get what she truly desired; she just needed to believe it.
I have been in her shoes. Her story was far too close to home. Luckily, through my Yoga practice, I have learned to catch these voices of criticism and disgust. I came from a very loving family, but one that was broken during the same time Violet found out about her middle school ball. I was in a fragile place in my life and when my stability at home was compromised, so was my self-confidence. I felt more comfortable being mediocre than being a star. Even though I had grown up in the spotlight as a dancer, and a rather good one, I always took second place because that’s what I felt I deserved.
For a year, I praised Marianne Williamson’s quote:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
To this day, I continue to work on my self-confidence and self worth. I see my peers soar to the skies, accomplish great achievements, and display pride in their work. I have a hard time with this, but know that it IS NOT THEM, that this is MY WORK. Thus calming the voice of jealousy and taking ownership over my reactions. Through this exercise, I gain personal power and ability to shine (as all children do 🙂 ) along my personal journey towards greater self-awareness. David Rominelli, in his book “Health is the New Happiness” states that power is self-awareness. And I could not agree more. The most powerful people are those who are aware of what they are doing. They are not just taking chances haphazardly and thinking “let’s see how this goes!” they could be following their intuitive gut, a carefully crafted plan, or working towards a goal which allows them to have discipline and focus. Anyone who is successful will tell you that hard work pays off. You cannot achieve great success without a few rocky roads. Another great quote:
So while I could blame my parent’s divorce, fear of being rejected, and life circumstances – I am choosing to see those as my teachers. The lessons I must learn in this lifetime in order to move forward into the next. Everything happens for a reason, and while the order of things may not seem fair right now, there is a reason for why you are being tested. Can you listen? Can you sit still every morning and have the discipline to wake up and simply meditate? It’s tough. There are a lot of distractions. As I type this blog, a cute puppy is jumping up my leg with eyes that say “play with me!” and my curiosity wants to click over to the internet to catch up on social media. Although, I know this is the moment to sit still; to “catch the creative voices”, as Elizabeth Gilbert would say, before they fly away. Right now is the time to practice a little bit of discipline and tell the voices of self-judgment, criticism, doubt and disgust to go away. I wear a bracelet that says “Thank You, I love You, I forgive You, I’m sorry”. This ancient Hawaiian prayer can heal deep wounds and take you onto a path towards healing, self-awareness and growth. You will never be able to combat or extinguish these voices (ego, inner critic, Vanessa, whatever you want to call them) but you can regulate them and ask your Spirit (higher source, God, true self, etc) to take the lead.
This is my practice. Each and every day. Whether or not I step onto the mat, I remember that my own self-deprecating thoughts will take me nowhere and in fact make me feel trapped (behind the mirror) while the rest of the world shines in their glory. Are you living abundantly or dying slowly? In reality, it’s the same thing. Time is ticking but your perspective will shift the way you choose to spend that time. Time, in my opinion is one of the most precious gifts of life. Don’t waste it by dying slowly, being a servant to your patterns and life circumstances. Today, I choose to live abundantly and take the afternoon to play with this puppy, tell my reflection that it’s pretty, and laugh a whole lot. For laughter fills the heart with joy which leads to more health and happiness. Wishing you a whole lot of bliss on this cool morning in Los Angeles.
Love and Positive Thoughts,