I wasn’t sure what to expect from Amy Schumer’s new movie ‘I Feel Pretty’. After all, the premise seemed to suggest that women without an ideal body (so, all of us) might need a head injury to appreciate how fabulous we truly are.
But, on the other hand, who hasn’t struggled with wanting to change parts of themselves? Especially when it comes to dating, I’ve often wondered if there wasn’t something wrong with me, or if I wouldn’t be more attractive to people I wanted to date if I just had long black curly hair.
Armed with mixed feelings, I went to the theater. Here’s the thing: I think this movie is a lot more universal than it appears on the surface. Maybe you’re not obsessed with being “undeniably pretty” like Renee, Amy’s character. But unless you’re extremely well-adjusted, I’m guessing that you’re not always completely confident. You might believe in your head that you are funny, lovely, uniquely wonderful just as you are, but it might be hard to translate into your heart, or your actions.
Renee’s head injury turns off her internal critic. Suddenly, she believes she is beautiful, and that changes everything for her. She’s felt stuck in her life: her job isn’t what she wants, she’s tired of being single (who can relate?), and she’s generally unhappy with herself (although she does have some great friends). Once she believes that she lives up to her own standards, she begins to move through her life with purpose. She isn’t worried that people aren’t paying attention when she speaks, she’s not worried about rejection. She lives believing that she is already worthy.
Remember, nothing else about Renee has changed, she just believes it has. With this ammunition, she begins to transform her career, she asks out the cute guy at the dry cleaner, she orders drinks at the bar expecting quick service. Now, instead of leaving herself out of the running for what she wants, she goes after it, and people respond.
As I’ve thought about it since, I couldn’t stop thinking about a quote from Brené Brown’s newest book, Braving the Wilderness: “Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. … The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”
What is the difference between people who experience love and belonging? Brené has said. They believe they are worthy of it. That’s it.
Of course, it’s easier said than done to start believing in your own worthiness. There are lots of messages constantly telling us we aren’t good enough (and a lot of those come from inside us). So maybe it’s time for you and I to practice? Start taking a break from the burden of comparison, of not feeling good enough, smart enough, thin enough, or just enough. Set it down for an hour, or two.
The truth is, Brené is right: no one belongs here more than you. I hope you and I don’t need a head injury to start to believe that, and once we believe it, to live like we believe it. How would our lives change? What would you do if you weren’t so worried that you were an imposter at life?
Something I’ve noticed, talking with many people, is that most of us are a little worried that we don’t belong. Renee notices that, too. Even the people she greatly respects are often on shaky ground. Those “undeniably pretty” girls worry about their thighs, their relationships, their desirability, too. They also wonder if they get to have the things they want in life.
Let’s choose to believe together. Let this infuse the way you go to yoga, and to that restaurant you like. Let it change the way you are with your friends and family. Let it affect the way you look at dating. Let it even change the way you call customer service. Let it follow you into your dreams: NO ONE belongs here more than you.
Cara Strickland writes about food and drink, mental health, faith and being single from her home in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys hot tea, good wine, and deep conversations. She will always want to play with your dog. Connect with her on Twitter @anxiouscook.