At first, Shrek struggled to accept himself; he thought that because he was an Ogre, nobody would ever love him. He assumed everyone would hate him and so he found it hard to love or accept himself. He had a negative view of who he was.
Fiona lived with a secret—she went from princess to Ogre every day when the sun went down. She was terrified that people would find out who she was and consequently judge her. She felt like an outcast and a freak; she couldn’t accept the fact that she was part princess and part Ogre.
The turning point for both of them came when they met Donkey and, of course, each other.
What does this have to do with self-acceptance? First of all, weaving my favorite characters into a blog post is so much fun! Second of all, don’t be fooled by animated movies. A lot of them deliver powerful messages about life. And no, I haven’t been smoking the wacky tobacky.
Take a look at some of the lessons that Shrek and Fiona deliver (all with cleverly-timed comic relief and Shrek’s delightful Scottish accent):
1. Self-acceptance comes in the form of a mirror
Sometimes we can’t see how wonderful we are so the Universe sends a friend or lover along to relay the message. Donkey repeatedly offered his friendship to Shrek until Shrek finally realized that he was a pretty great Ogre after all. Think of the people in your life who stand by you and tell you how amazing you are. They are here to tell you what you may not be able to accept about yourself. Try to see yourself through an admirer’s eyes.
2. Self-acceptance means loving all of yourself
Fiona overcomes the spell she is under the moment she accepts all of herself. She sheds the shame of not living up to what she thinks she’s supposed to be (a beautiful princess) and embraces her duality (light and shadow). The gift in this is when she realizes that Shrek loves her for being an Ogre. She evolves into the beautiful Fiona—the princess or Ogre aspects are no longer important. The point is that she accepted who she was and then the miracles unfolded. Accept yourself as you are and watch how others respond to you. More often than not, people are drawn to those who are authentic.
3. Self-acceptance is a risk
Shrek takes a risk in the movie; he accepts Donkey into his life. In other words, he lets someone in. He had to get to the point where he accepted himself enough to realize that Donkey wanted to be part of his life. Shrek took the risk and opened up; he found true friendship. However, just because we accept ourselves doesn’t mean that we are accepted by everyone else. Fiona tried to hide who she was, but when it was revealed that she was part Ogre, the Lord Farquaad rejected her. When others reject us for who we are it is painful. This doesn’t mean that our response would be to reject ourselves. This means that the person is not the right fit for us. They are not meant to come on our life journey with us. That’s ok. This realization is liberating; we can accept ourselves even when others don’t. We can make more room for those who love us for who we are. A note about family—sometimes our family members don’t accept us. Again, this doesn’t mean that we have to believe them or agree with their view of us. Our opinion of ourselves is all that matters.
The next time you start to reject yourself, think about Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and friends living happily ever after as themselves, in the swamp. Or at the very least, they are living as happily as they can when faced with killjoys like Lord Farquaad, Rumpelstiltskin and the Fairy Godmother.