OMG! I just got out of the theatre after watching Black Swan. What a visceral, intense, compelling movie!
Natalie Portman hit the nail on the head when she portrays a young woman named Nina, who has spent her life in pursuit of perfection through ballet. She wins the coveted double role of the innocent, virginal white Swan, and her evil twin, the seductress, Black Swan.
Nina has denied her dark side all her life. We watch her mind slowly splinter as she begins to receive momentary glimpses into her shadow self. Since she has never integrated this part of herself into her psyche. She has to create an alternate reality to access it.
It is horrifyingly painful to watch her obsession with perfection, and her desperate need to access this dark side of herself for the Black Swan character. We are witnesses to her mind’s attempt to solve the problem by creating a split which we witness as she descends into madness.
What does this have to do with Self–Love? It has everything to do with it.
If I deny parts of myself I find “bad”, I am denying myself. Self–Love means accepting my whole Self, not just the parts of me that I like.
Here is where the 12 step program has so much to offer. In the 4th Step, members are required to write down their character flaws and strengths. It’s called a thorough moral inventory. In the 5th Step, members are required to read this compilation out loud to a trusted sponsor. The act of sharing a person’s shadow, as well as light with another, is an act of self–love.
I read my Self–Love prayer that I wrote in 2004 the other day. Part of it resonates with me now.
“I have the understanding of humility which teaches me that I am only human, and therefore perfection is no longer my path. If I share my imperfections with you, and you do not judge me, it helps me to not judge myself. Once I trust you with my shadow, you may trust me with yours. Now we can establish a relationship of trust through vulnerability. This sets the stage for emotional honesty. Emotional honesty is the foundation of every healthy relationship.” I re–commit myself to self–love through emotional honesty. I will be mindful of loving all of me, the parts I like, and the parts I don’t.
Michelle Minero is a licensed marriage family therapist who specializes in eating disorder recovery. She created an intensive outpatient eating disorder program in 2000, brought ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.) to Petaluma shortly after and founded EDRS (Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc.), a Marin and Sonoma County based 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2005. In 2011, Michelle co-founded the Love Warrior Community with her daughter, Emelina, an online community that helps people cultivate self-love, self-acceptance and body acceptance through creative expression. Michelle is finishing her book, Self-Love: The Only Diet That Works, and her dream is to see a world filled with people who love themselves and their bodies. Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter and help spread the Self-Love Movement!