Although I’ve never really been a movie theater kind of guy, I recently broke that habit to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast… and showing some anti-macho muscles here, it really touched me. It got to me in a way that I haven’t felt in a very very long time.
We all know this classic and Disney did an AMAZING job bringing it to life. It’s a story of a man who thought himself eternally a monster. A beast tormented by his past sins to the point of losing all hope for a meaningful future. This Beast is never given a formal name. He is the representation of all people who have ever failed… Surrounded by people who love him, he is trapped inside his own tower, unable to accept affection nor give it to others. He feels utterly alone in his shame.
So often I find myself right there, frightened at being perceived as an imperfect man. And that’s where so many of us live, thinking ourselves unrecoverable beasts. We mock ourselves for having failed while never giving ourselves room to actually improve. We see the weaknesses and give them the power to rule over our entire lives. We ridicule ourselves, fearfully refusing to seek love while longing for it all the same.
However, as all Disney lovers know… though he certainly begins with a large amount of self-loathing, the Beast does not stay this way…… No… Despite who he believed himself to be… Belle learned to view him differently… She recognized something in him that had been buried long ago. You see, we are so often our own biggest obstacles from success. We look in the mirror day by day and we demand our weakness to leave us be while giving no credit to the strengths that lie just beyond!!! We roar at our reflection, hurling insults at ourselves about things that most other people don’t even notice. We beg the mirrored us to just become someone different that didn’t struggle so much with life. And worst of all, we quickly find ourselves alone in our metaphorical castles, wishing for company, but completely lacking in the courage to let others in.
If Disney has taught me anything through this FANTASTIC movie, it’s that we have far more potential than we realize. Most of the struggles we face are not sheer, insurmountable cliff-sides. On the contrary, at their worst they are they are steep hills. Lush, green, sometimes thorny hills that we must continue learning to climb with each day. At times due to the length of the climb it will often feel impossible, but it rarely is.
What does this mean for us in a practical sense? If we are not hopeless monsters, what are we? Well… we’re just flawed people like everyone else. In fact, I don’t think we could fully love ourselves even if we WERE perfect. It’s human nature to find faults within ourselves even where no fault exists! So, although when I look in the mirror and distrust the beastly qualities I see, I now realize that I must. continue to force my mind to see something else! I work each day to overcome my insecurities and although it’s a struggle, I know that I will come out the victor. I am not a hero or a prince. I’m just a guy who has some amazing talents to offer to this world.
Each of us is here for a purpose, and with some effort we can complete that purpose! You and I are not monsters. Nope! Not in the slightest. Just a couple of people who desperately need to see ourselves correctly.
If you’d like to know more about who I USED to be [It’s been a long journey to get to this post], you can click on this link to learn just a little more.