However, her new movie I Feel Pretty was a refreshing look at the ways we talk, think and act with ourselves.
Yes, I watched the whole thing. Being on an airplane for four hours, not wanting to read the book you brought with you, not to mention the three new magazines you bought as a treat in the airport, will do that to you.
And now; now I think she’s brilliant.
I found myself laughing out loud.
My husband and son kept trying to shush me with their not-so-subtle irate stares, but the movie is that funny! I think it is because I am that person. The movie is only a 5.4 on IMDB, but that is probably because a bunch of guys who have watched it aren’t getting the deeper meaning.
In the movie, Schumer’s character Renee falls and hits her head and wakes up from her self-loathing life to find out she is beautiful. She soon finds that people treat beautiful people differently. Or so she thinks. I don’t want to give the movie away, but you can probably guess from the trailer that she doesn’t really change much in the way of outward appearances.
People, women in particular, struggle with visions and thoughts of ourselves that at times can be downright evil and self-destructive. We hold ourselves back because we are afraid of what people will think. We present a persona that we feel will be better accepted.
All in the name of belonging.
Brené Brown’s research on belonging explains it well.
Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.
"Some people totally obsess over some negative aspect they perceive about themselves and totally miss their strengths." Ethan from I Feel Pretty
In this selfie-taking image-obsessed world we live in, you would think we would have a pretty good handle on the way we look to others. But many times that image that we are trying to portray or maintain is nothing like our true selves.
Worse yet, when we look at ourselves, we often have on a set of filters that are so blurry, scratched and worn that we see things that aren’t even there. For instance, my body image filter still has reflections of a 13-year-old girl who wore size 14 Xtra Chubby (I swear, that is really what the tag said). Because of this, it always amazes me when people don’t think that I struggle with my weight.
I have another friend who was always skinny in her teens and now eats with utter abandon. This is interesting to me because she has shared with me that the doctor thinks she needs to lose some weight, but she just doesn’t see it.
The point here, and of the movie, is that if we could just let our personalities shine through without carrying around our jaded and heavy filters that create tons of baggage for us, life would be so much simpler. Plus, I am convinced we would be happier as well. Our perceptions can bring us pain or joy. It is up to us to decide. Just think of how much joy you could experience on a daily basis if you interpreted everything you encountered as being good for you. Better yet, what if you expected it all to be that way.
I have found myself watching my sister who tends to engage with people very easily. Just the way she looks at strangers with a warm smile and an almost-expectant look on her face that seems to say “notice me…I’m here to greet you”, has always made me wonder, are people nice to her first, or is it the other way around.
I’m not sure. Either way, I am reminded that there are people out in the world whose personalities, actions and ways of seeing the world make them more beautiful than others. I’ve believe it has everything to do with how they see the world and how they create their perceptions of it.
When viewing the instances of your life, you can decide if you want to look at them from a negative slant or a positive one. Take this work example; in trying to push a project to the finish line a co-worker seems to swoop in at the last minute and finish off all the easy work to look like the hero. Or, they realize how hard you have been working and decide it’s time to pony up and do their fair share. How would you see the situation?
Our past experiences, the culture we grew up in, our education and our values all influence our perception, the lens in which we look through to see the world and determine our reality. And therein lies the true crux of the issue: perceptions create reality.
Which brings us back to Amy Schumer and the movie. Her perceptions of how she looked and the way people responded to her were brought her joy. You can argue until you are blue in the face that circumstances can bring you joy and happiness or hurt and heartache.
But in reality, all circumstances are neutral. It is the thought we attach to the circumstance and the perception we give it that create the feeling we experience. This feeling in turn, creates our actions and our results.
Knowing this, you have become the creator. By choosing your perception, the power lies in your hands in to go out and successfully live life on your terms.
image credit: Photo by James Kemp