This article should be read while listening to the soundtrack for best effect. I originally had a bunch of the lyrics in here, but I discovered the harsh truth about lyrics' copyrights. . . .
So please open up your Spotify or YouTube app. I’ll wait.
Fantastic! Now we can start.
I am highly affected and motivated by movies and music, so dancing around in the kitchen with an awesome soundtrack on way too loud is a surefire way to get my spirits up. For the past two months, there has been only one dominating my house (just ask the ones living here), and there are some really inspiring life lessons to be learned from the lyrics.
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I barely went to the cinema in 2017, but I went to see The Greatest Showman three times. It is one of the best cinematic experiences I have ever had, and if you didn’t go, you missed out!
But fear not, you unlucky ones! It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in April 2018, so you can enjoy it as much as you want! (I literally went to my Amazon account and preordered it in the middle of writing that sentence. I am a woman obsessed!)
If you've never heard of it (do you actually live under a rock?), it is an amazing original musical inspired by the life of P. T. Barnum, an American promoter who founded what would become the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. It definitely doesn’t tell the story exactly how it happened, but it is an enchanting tale about embracing our flaws and knowing what's important.
I don’t know if I was the only one who didn’t know that Hugh Jackman could sing (I never saw Les Misérables), but holy crap! I could spend this whole blog post talking about all the great singers in this movie (Zendaya, Zac Efron, Rebecca Ferguson, Keala Settle), but that was not what I wanted to share with you all! You’re already discovering that listening to the songs while you’re reading this, right? ;-)
The first part of the movie follows him from a childhood in poverty to a great success. He creates a show so filled with wonders, colors, and so-called freaks that I discovered something new every time I saw it. The dancing, the music -- it's intoxicating.
There are four songs in particular that I want to mention, though, that are all about standing up for yourself and your dreams.
This is me
Photo by Malte Wingen
1. Be proud of yourself and your scars
In today’s social media world, where everything is perfect abs and vacations to luxurious travel destinations, it is hard to admit that you have flaws. Why would you, when everyone else seems to have the perfect life and their sh*t together?
We learn that to be accepted, to be loved, you have to be perfect. The thing is, we don’t have Photoshop and airbrushing to make us all smooth and shiny. We only have ourselves. This song is about accepting that as enough and being proud of it.
I would not be who I am today without the tough experiences I have had.
It’s cliché, but they did make me stronger. They did make me a better person. So why should I be ashamed of them? Why should I hide that life has been incredibly hard sometimes? We need to embrace ourselves, all of ourselves, and take down our walls. Or at least install a door, so people can come inside and visit us.
You have so much to offer the people around you. You need to really believe this. You are worth knowing.
Photo by Noah Silliman
2. Start living your life
It can be really hard to appreciate how beautiful life is when you’re spending your days with work, kids, and all the responsibilities that come with adult life. It’s so easy to get stuck in this loop and just wait for the pressure to ease up.
P. T. Barnum had dreams of a grander life, of bringing joy to people. He worked hard on them, and it took years, but he got there.
If you want something, just go for it.
What if you don’t have the money for it? What if you barely have ten minutes to spare after a long day at work?
Then put away just $20 a month, and spend those ten minutes on getting closer to where you want to be. The truth is that you will never achieve this “new life” you’re dreaming of. It will still be your life, you will still be you--it will just be you and your life as you want it to be. If you are unhappy with something (or everything) in your life right now, it’s never going to change unless you do something about it.
Go out for a walk in the sunshine. Do you see all the beauty around you? Do you feel all the possibilities, almost within your grasp? They are there, I promise. They might be close-by, or have a long journey to be completed first, but once you start dreaming and working on yourself and your situation, it will feel so damn good you just can’t go back.
A million dreams
Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris
3. Focus on your dreams, and forget everyone else
This one has been such an inspiration for me while launching my business. I dream of never having to miss adventures because I have to work, and I dream of never having to compromise my ideals again for someone just because they are my boss. I am spending almost all my time right now working toward these goals, with the vision of me able to travel whenever I want so clear in my mind.
I am very lucky and have been incredibly supported working on this, but have you noticed how negative people can be about your goals?
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, changing jobs, or selling all your things to travel -- some people just can’t let you be happy. It’s probably because they are too scared to follow their own dreams, and you working toward yours just reminds them that they aren’t.
So forget about everyone else. Let them call you crazy. Focus on you, and what you want. Listen to what your heart is telling you is the right path, and write down an action plan on how to achieve it. I don’t care if the end goal is years away; there is one step, no matter how small, that you can take today to move closer to where you want to be.
From now on
Photo by Elvis Ma
4. Don't wait for "the perfect time"
Exactly what we just talked about; from now on, we will not wait to work toward our dreams. This early in the year we still have some determined people working on their New Year’s resolutions, but as always most of them only lasted the classic two weeks.
Building a new habit in the new year is a natural starting point, but why this fascination with the first of January? If anything it only gives you an excuse to not start yet.
“I will start when things are less crazy at work.”
“I will start when I have moved.”
“I will start after the holidays.”
We are always searching for this imaginary “perfect time” to start our new lives, but the truth is that that time will never come. There will always be something in the way, there will always be something that doesn’t make it the ideal time. So why wait? The perfect time is, in fact, right now.
Save money for that trip, take that class you’ve been interested in for ages, or go and talk to that cute barista you’ve had your eye on for weeks. Why wait? Your life is now. Your possibility to create amazing memories is right now.
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Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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