I think it would be hard to have missed out on Frozen-mania, even if you don’t have children or grandchildren. It is still going strong, over two years after its release. There seem to be a number of themes in this fantastical tale that people can relate to, and today I have been thinking about Elsa’s story.
She is one of the main characters, and was born with magic powers to turn things into ice. This power was not a blessing, but rather a curse, as she did not know how to handle it. When she was a little girl it was a fun game, but as she grew, she felt the power become stronger. It was when she hurt her little sister by accident that she realised it was a problem.
Put on a show
My, I think her parents gave her bad advice! “Conceal, don’t feel. Put on a show – make one wrong move and everyone will know.”
I know, I know, it’s only a film! People aren’t really born with powers such as this that they have to conceal to make sure others don’t find out about it. But there are parts of all of us that we would rather people didn’t see. Perhaps it is if we are secretly pleased when others seem to find life as difficult as us, or that we are not always as kind and patient with people as we should be. None of us are perfect, and it can be hard to admit to ourselves that we have flaws.
This is different to concealing and trying not to feel them. Trying not to feel them suggests that we don’t want to acknowledge that they are a part of us. We don’t have to own them – we can push them away, and think of ways in which we can be nicer, or stronger, but admitting to having the thoughts in the first place is a step in the right direction to moving away from them.
Giving ourselves protection
How can anyone live with putting on a show all of the time? We might be able to hide behind a mask with some people, but it is likely that this will slip if we get angry or upset. It is no life at all if we cannot be honest with ourselves with and others. It is okay to admit to people we trust that we are selfish, or greedy, or unkind at times. This way we can work on changing for the better.
It is not helpful to have all of our inner feelings on show all of the time. There are times when people may take advantage of us if they know we are upset by what they say. Some people take real pleasure in exploiting the misfortunes that others have, and love the opportunity to enjoy someone else’s misery.
I can remember being told by my parents that it wasn’t a good idea to let the nasty boys at school know when I was upset. I didn’t understand – surely if they saw they had upset me, they would stop? Oh no, of course they didn’t, they carried on and it made the situation far worse.
Finding the middle ground
It is not just in childhood that this sort of behaviour occurs. So, wearing a mask for protection is not all bad. It is just working out where the boundaries are. We can try to be honest with others whilst being sensitive to their needs, which will help us to be authentic in our actions. Being prepared to keep some of our deeper thoughts and fears back from those we don’t know well will help to protect us. Finding that middle ground can be a challenge.
It was only when Elsa worked with her sister to take control of her fear that her situation improved. She stopped concealing and began living again. This is when she found happiness.
Can you find a way of being more honest with yourself and others about who you really are?
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An earlier version of this post was first published Spiritual Friends