Have You Been Brainwashed?

Apparently, Dustin Hoffman has been, at least that’s what he says in this AFI clip on YouTube where he discusses the making of the movie Tootsie.  He talks very openly about society’s critical view of anyone who does not fit the standard definition of beauty and how that affected him as a man who was tasked with playing a woman on-screen.

I remember seeing this movie years ago, but admittedly, I do not remember much about it.  I am going to have to go back and watch it now, if for no other reason than to watch it with mindfulness and a critical eye to traditional definitions of beauty.

As a woman who spent her life struggling to find a way to fit into the world of the beautiful people, I certainly know what it is like to feel inadequate by comparison.  I think this is something all women, (and a lot of men, quite frankly), feel.

I spent the better part of my life totally brainwashed, thinking that I was nothing if I was not beautiful, or beautiful as defined by fashion magazines, movies, TV, etc.  But the truth is, I am a beautiful person.  I may not have perfect skin, or the best figure in the world, but I am smart, capable, funny, cute, thoughtful, helpful, caring, loving, the list goes on and on.  I have a lot of great qualities to share with the world, as did Tootsie from what I do recall from the movie.

The only thing that ever stopped me from sharing those qualities was my own self-imposed limitations because I never felt that I measured up.  Granted, those limitations were reinforced because I put too much value on the low opinion of others.  I guess it is easier to believe the bad stuff.  Why is that, exactly?

Well, I am done with that.  Yes, I still struggle with body image and the like.  I may never fully get beyond that, although I wish I could.  But I do not let it destroy me or override all of my other good qualities.

At the end of the clip, Hoffman opines how he allowed himself to be limited.

“There are too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.  This was never a comedy for me.”

I am going to turn this idea on its ear a little bit here and look at it from a slightly different angle.

I have allowed myself to limit my own experiences in life because I had been brainwashed; because I never felt beautiful; because I allowed the low opinion of others to matter more than my own dreams and wishes.

Too many people do this, especially women.

When I started this weight loss and blog project, I began the process of putting that behavior behind me forever.  I am not completely there yet, but I feel as if I have made a lot of progress.  I am taking care of myself.  I am writing more.  I am putting myself out into the world and opening myself up to all of the good possibilities that are out there.  Yes, there is the risk that I will fail, get hurt, be rejected, but I no longer care about that.  There is also a chance I will be successful and embraced by the world.  Either way, I’m not going to allow anything to hold me back any longer.

Have you ever allowed yourself to kill your dreams because you didn’t feel as if you were good enough?  What is stopping you from achieving them now?

2 responses to “Have You Been Brainwashed?

  1. Very well said, Colleen. Yes, I have allowed myself to kill my dreams because I didn’t feel good enough. I’m nowhere near your level of confidence in not doing that any longer. I still do it. But every tentative step I take may make a difference in getting me there. As long as I don’t wimp out and go back into hiding! 🙂

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