Do NO harm, but take NO shit.

“On our very first day at Harvard, a very wise Professor quoted Aristotle: “The law is reason free from passion.” Well, no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law — and of life. It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”

Do you remember this speech?

Our favorite Girl, Elle Woods, gave it to her graduating class at Harvard Law School.

Do you remember her journey?

After losing her boyfriend she buckled down and decided she was going to go to Law School. She did it HER way and on her OWN….No handouts. She looked different. She acted different. But she was TRUE to herself. And got accepted. No matter how naive she was going into it. She wouldn’t take NO for an answer and sacrificed a lot while working hard.

When she arrived, she was bullied. About how she looked, dressed, acted and how non-intelligent she was. She remained TRUE to herself through it and kept her fierceness although still trying desperately to fit in. The bullying became so fierce one night that it set her over the edge…remember her storming out of the house in the bunny outfit and heading to buy a laptop? “I’ll show you how valuable Elle Woods can be!” She ALWAYS knew her self-worth.

When pushed to her breaking point she pushed back. It exemplifies one of the mantras of my life:

Do NO harm but take NO shit!

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She bucked down. She learned what it meant to really GRIND. She figured out how to work her laptop and studied by herself. Her way. In hot pink.She wore what she wanted, when she wanted.  Despite ALL the odds. And then she began to thrive! She started to gain respect and get noticed. She continued to be KIND to all. Even the ones that bullied her. She looked out for the underdogs like herself by supporting her friends … Bend and Snap anyone? 🙂 AND … remember when she slapped the “nerdy” guy to show the snotty women that he was something special??? Elle kept her vulnerability and wasn’t afraid to show emotion through the journey.

Opportunities started to come. She began to RISE in the ranks. Being simply her, she was able to gain trust of others and wouldn’t compromise her loyalty for ANYthing or ANYone.

When everything seemed to be going her wayFINALLY…she was massively derailed. She was hit on by her professor and told she was never going to amount to anything. She was judged harshly by her friend who misjudged the situation. She gave up. She packed her bags. She succumbed. After all that she had fought to become and all the hard work she KNEW she had to walk away because “they” finally got to her. Her lowest moment. Everything she stood for was attacked.

She went to say good-bye to the woman who had supported her the most. See, Elle always remembered the value of her fierce female friendships.

There she ran into her woman professor…The one who seemingly HATED her and everything she stood for. The one who gave her tough love and even kicked her out the first day. She overheard the conversation and said this:

“If you’re going to let one stupid prick ruin your life, you’re not the girl I thought you were.” -Professor Stromwell

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The peak of the journey. Nothing more needed to be said. Someone still believed in her. The person she least expected. And as much as we can TRY to do this on our own, having that one person … can change our world.

She marched right back and took over the court by storm. In her unique way .. she WON. The case. The life. Simply being HER.

Which brings us back to graduation….

“It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people, and most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself”.  –Elle Woods

Now that I have summed up a whole movie undoubtingly most of us have watched one million times or the men reading this have been forced to watch one million times … WHY? Why do I write this?

Because yesterday sucked balls for me. If we are being completely real. I feel like I was in the position where I was starting to figure some things out. Thriving and making huge advances in many areas of my life. I was riding a high in my life and had been having a lot of really GOOD things start to present themselves.

And then I was derailed. Massively. To the point I felt like my entire existence was simply a joke. Does that sound familiar to anyone else? It is usually when we least expect it and from who we least expect it that it happens. Setbacks.

What I have learned from setbacks is that we have to FEEL our way through them. We have to cry, feel the hurt, pain, shock, denial and anger or else we will continue to internalize them and let them derail our entire journey.

IT HAPPENS TO EVERYONE.

It is not complaining or being negative to admit that you had a hard day. Or shit week. It is part of the ebbs and flows of life.

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What can we do about it…Well this hopefully I can tie all together now…

  1. Don’t stop having faith in yourself. You may be told you aren’t good enough. Smart enough. Talented enough. Your ambitions are silly. You’re not pretty enough or skinny enough. Your clothes are ugly. You are too average. You aren’t educated enough. You aren’t doing it the right way. You are making yourself look like a damn idiot. Your children are horrible. You are a shit parent. Ect…ect…ect… You get the point! Any of those resonate with you? They do with me. And yesterday I felt them all. We ALL feel these at times from external and internal voices. One thing I have learned through my yoga practice the past six months is you HAVE to be SO strong that you BELIEVE in yourself, even when nobody else does.
  2. TRUE strength comes from having a strong and hard core but having a SOFT and tender heart. Softness is the true measure of strength. Anyone can be mean, cruel, bully or fight. That is cheap and easy especially in this day because we can hide behind our phone or computers. Being strong enough to be soft is the measure of the human heart. Cruel words last forever. Kindness can mend bridges. Be the bigger person always. Is it hard? Hell yes. Is it worth it? Even a bigger hell yes. You will never regret kindness but words you spew can and will haunt you. Just as Elle…stay TRUE to you. Do NO harm…But take no shit. Taking no shit doesn’t mean being cruel and fighting. It means standing strong in who you are  and moving forward with grace and compassion … FIRMLY, yet tenderly. Always with love.
  3. BE YOU. Always. YOU may look different. YOU may do things different. YOU may smell, act, talk, behave different. YOU may have goals that others think are ridiculous or “stupid”. YOU may be told you need to act different. DON’T! EVER! CHANGE! the core of who you are. You have something SO unique to offer this world. There are things out there only YOU can do…create…pursue…explain…dream. Embrace your YOUness. Stick to your guns and get comfortable with yourself.
  4. If you’re going to let one stupid prick ruin your life, you’re not the girl I thought you were. Remember this. Always. People will call your dreams stupid. They will call your life and ambitions ridiculous. They will try to derail you. They will hate your clothes, the books you read and even your dog. They will hate you because your nail polish is the wrong color. They will make comments on your body, the food you eat, the car you drive, if you decided to bottle or breastfeed, if you are too fast or too slow. There will be bullies in life. There just will. Some call them haters. I prefer bullies. Because bullying is an epidemic now. In person or cyber it is VERY real and needs to be talked about. MORE and MORE. It does’t stop in high school and it begins as early as 1st grade. It comes from people close to us and people who live far away that can hide behind a screen. This is WHY…we need to create a strong core. Do WHATEVER it takes for YOU to do to learn to LOVE yourself. To BELIEVE in yourself. Yoga, meditation, writing and my tight little circle of friends/family do it for me. Do NOT … and I repeat Do NOT … let some STUPID PRICK ruin your life. Stay strong. Keep fighting for what you believe and dream about. Never quit your day dream.
  5. Take care of yourself. Even Elle Woods knew she needed a manicure every now and then. Find something that is YOU time and for YOU. Be gentle. Treat yourself how you would treat your best friend. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend. Let yourself experience the highs and lows. Embrace the journey.

Keep positive but allow for setbacks. Shape and flavor your life in the way it needs to be. You have the power within to do what needs to be done. Make the resume of your life hot pink … and scented … pass it out with a smile and keep moving forward. Life is for LIVING and FEELING. Be strong.

“Oh! And it’s scented! I think it gives it a little something extra, don’t you think? Ok, well, see you next class!”– Elle Woods

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3 comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    So much yes to all of this. Setbacks suck so so much. I just started a new job where I doubt myself, my knowledge, every day. I am also recovering from a stress fracture and doubting whether I am ready to try running again. It is exhausting! But we gotta keep keeping on 🙂 I love your posts always!

  2. Angie says:

    Oh how I love your expression of softness being the true measure of strength. We are taught to stand up for ourselves but that doesn’t always mean fighting back. Sometimes fighting back is truly “being strong enough to be soft.” Thank you for this sweet reminder to be soft, especially to ourselves.

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