In the fairytale The Ugly Duckling a little duckling goes through life feeling that she doesn’t fit in anywhere, that there is something wrong with her and that she is odd in some way, an outsider and not like everyone else. Deep inside the little duckling believes that she is ugly and not worthy of love and affection. Believing this she begins to encounter situations that reinforce this belief.
Of course the delightful ending to the story is that the ugly duckling finally finds out that she wasn’t a duckling at all but rather she was a swan, adored and admired by many for her elegant beauty and grace. She had just been labouring under a false illusion that’s all.
I wonder how many of us can identify with that ugly duckling?
If we go through life believing that we are ugly ducklings then life will always feel challenging to us and we will always end up missing the true joy and exuberance that comes only through knowing what our true identity is.
I know about this first hand having battled with feelings of inadequacy most of my life. Even after realising that the lies I have been telling myself about myself (i.e. that I am not good enough etc) are just that - lies and not the truth - it can still be hard for me to switch mindsets and truly believe that I am the Swan and not the fictional ugly duckling I thought myself to be.
It is not always easy to see yourself as you truly are. This is when the help of a trusted friend can be beneficial. Often others see our true colours long before we do. If you are having a hard time seeing yourself in any positive, feel good way then it can be helpful to ask a good friend for their perspective on you. I guarantee that you will be surprised and warmed by what they see.
I have a lovely, dear friend who gifted me with a beautiful silver swan necklace as a reminder of who I truly am. As it hangs round my neck I touch it from time to time. In this way I am reminded of my true nature and value. I am eternally grateful for this precious gift and the friendship that accompanies it.
'This human being both
ugly duckling and silver
swan. Though we have mostly
forgotten our inner beauty, daily
silver wings pluck at
the heart strings of our
Learning to live from our Swan nature is an ongoing process and one in which we must be actively employed each day. We create our reality by what we give our attention to so it is up to each of us to develop ways in which we can attend to our Swan nature rather than the nature of the ugly duckling. Whichever nature we feed will grow and manifest in our lives. (Similar to the Navajo Indian story of the two wolves living inside us - only it’s two birds this time!!)
Oh and just as an aside - don’t think that we have to have all our drama’s and issues fixed before we can show up as swans. Remember that underneath the image of the serene swan floating on the surface of the lake are two legs paddling like crazy just to keep her there.
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.