OK, bear with me on this one. It may sound more personal than fashionable at the start, here, but I promise I can tie it into concepts of self-love.
I consider Dory to be a personal hero. And not just because I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday. Dory is quirky and challenging, but she has a HUGE heart, a great attitude, and the best of intentions. I can completely relate. And even though she’s an animated fish, she has some real wisdom to impart.
JUST KEEP SWIMMING
As someone who thrives on success and praise, I become discouraged quite easily. I’m tenacious, too, and don’t give up easily … but I’m often tempted to slow down, lose heart, or change direction. And while I know it’s important to keep an open mind and consider all options, what Dory’s little mantra has taught me is that sometimes, going with the flow is the most peaceful, natural, even rational way to determine your next active steps.
Marlin: I promised I’d never let anything happen to him.
Dory: Hmm. That’s a funny thing to promise.
Dory: Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.
The world is full of challenges, mishaps, and actual factual danger. When you weigh the risks, it can be tempting to stay home, stay put, and stay the same. I love to feel comforted and protected, and sometimes those two needs take precedence. But I have also learned that there is a direct relationship between risk and reward. Not sword-swallowing-level risk, necessarily, but pushing boundaries, facing challenges, being brave. My life is fuller and richer because of the risks I’ve taken.
I prefer to control everything. All of the time. Even while I sleep. And that’s proooobably not the healthiest thing in the world. I worry constantly, fretting away about events and machinations that are completely out of my earthly reach. And over time, I’ve discovered that one of my primary life lessons is to learn to trust the Universe to take care of me. I work hard to accept that some things are outside my purview, and that is JUST FINE.
(Yes, the video quality is horrible. But hopefully you get the point.)
And all of these lessons are valuable on an internal, personal, motivational level, but what do they have to do with body image or self-esteem? Well, I believe that self-love is linked to serenity. One way to learn to accept and love yourself, to adore your body fully, is to abide Dory’s lessons: Go with the flow, be brave, and let go.
It took me years of watching my body change to understand that my seasonal weight fluctuations were regular and natural, and nothing to get upset about. I had to ride the currents of my life to learn an important lesson about my body.
There was a time when the prospect of wearing fitted clothing gave me chills. The shame I felt about my “flawed” figure caused me to hide inside over-sized garments for decades. But when I mustered up the guts to change how I dressed, to flaunt the curves that had caused me such anxiety, I felt stronger and lovelier and more grounded than ever before. I had to face that challenge with courage to learn an important lesson about my body.
Despite a rigorous skincare routine, I still get zits. Nothing short of liposuction will make my spare tire belly vanish. I am hairy pretty much everywhere except the soles of my feet. And all of these things are hard-coded in my DNA, which makes them integral to my personal self. I had to acknowledge that I cannot control every little thing to learn an important lesson about my body.
So thank you, Dory.You’re pretty insightful for a gooftastic, forgetful cartoon fish.