“I give you the gift of your faults.” In the movie A Wrinkle in Time http://movies.disney.com/a-wrinkle-in-time, this is what the character Mrs. Whatsit gave to the character Meg as she ventured off on the journey to find her father who was trapped in the ‘It’. The ‘It’ was described as a place of fear, anger and darkness. I had not read the book. I was as curious to see how this developed. What I witnessed brought tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart.
This gift of her faults was the gift of self-love and self-acceptance. This gift gave Meg the strength to withstand all the negativity that was being hurled at her by her brother, Charles Wallace, who was now under the spell of the It. As her brother hurled an onslaught of insulting, dismissive, hurtful, undercutting, shaming statements, Meg fiercely continued to scream, “I love you Charles Wallace!! And I know you love me!!” She understood in that moment that in order to protect herself she had to love herself. In order to save her brother she had to keep loving him. In this movie, love for themselves and each other freed them both.
No matter what issue or behavior prompts a client to begin work in therapy, at some point our work has to include an effort to increase one’s capacity to love and accept oneself and one’s faults. When we are more able to do this, and no one does it perfectly, we are able to feel less afraid, less in danger, less threatened by the voices inside our own heads and those that we hear from others. We are able to feel safe. When we feel safe, our bodies relax and the need to harm others or ourselves is no longer. When we feel safe, we can think more clearly and make more thoughtful choices that can propel us forward in life towards more fulfilling relationships and achievements.
On several occasions in this movie, the point was made that evil is fueled by fear – fear of our faults – not being thin enough, fear of not being smart enough, fear of having too curly hair. We all feel and need to feel fear. It’s the feeling that alerts us to danger. Unfortunately, we live increasingly in a culture of comparison and competition that is fueled by fear and teaches us to fear our faults and our differences rather than embrace them as what makes us each unique and special. To accept and love ourselves in a culture of fearing if we are enough for the world is one of the ultimate healing experiences we hope to foster in the therapeutic relationship.
Loving oneself is something we each learn to do. Some begin those lessons early on in life if they are fortunate enough to be raised in environments that value and embrace them, faults and all. Unfortunately, many are not raised in such environments. This doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t come from households where love exists, but even those can be places where love may not have been felt. In addition, there are many environments that raise us – school, social media, sports teams, television, peer groups, neighborhoods, politics. Fortunately, learning to love oneself is a lesson that can be learned at any age. Like most things the earlier we start the easier it is because it doesn’t hurt as much when we fall when we are closer to the ground and as we age and grow taller we have a bit further to fall. We are honored to participate with and learn from each client who takes the brave steps towards loving themselves and their faults a little bit more each day.
A Wrinkle in Time http://movies.disney.com/a-wrinkle-in-time
Rising Strong, Brené Brown, https://brenebrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/RS_Manifesto.b_8x10.pdf