Rhythm gymnastics is a sport in which gymnasts perform on a floor with apparatus: hoop, ball, clubs, ribbon or rope. The sport combines elements of gymnastics, dance and calisthenics; gymnasts must be strong, flexible, agile, dexterous and coordinated. Yet, in this painting, self esteem, success, happiness and confidence were seen as unattainable for WE.
We can see that the figure yearns for those qualities, but is dragged backwards into the stream of belief that WE is no good, shameful, full of guilt, alone and lost. Although the figure is not performing in front of an audience—rather, what appears to be a meadow—they have thrown the clubs and the hoops, and appear to have been scored already despite still being on the ribbon section. A strange character can be seen in the bottom right that seems quirky and full of character.
These scores reflect WE’s life. Good, but not good enough. After winning competition after competition, they were told at an early age that winning wasn't good enough: the scores should have been higher. This critique to anyone, let alone an impressionable child, has lasting repercussions—you are not good enough. The message is plain and clear. Yet the strange looking character seems full of spirit. It is exactly that spirit that transcended WE.
We all have limiting beliefs that are mostly formed during our formative years. It could be about our looks, intelligence, hobbies—the list is endless. So what are we supposed to do? Spend the rest of our lives in self pity and numbing behaviours, such as comfort eating, drinking excessively, drugs, dangerous sexual liaisons, or simply refusing to budge from our ‘safe place’?
We can however challenge these beliefs head on and, if you like, ‘take them to court’. What evidence is there that WE for example is not good enough? Weigh up the pros and cons through your life experiences. This is a start, but it needs much more practice than that as our brains become hard wired to believe these messages. This is where mantras become an important part of our lives: looking in the mirror, facing the very core of ourselves, the eyes, the mirror into our souls, and repeating over and over again, ‘I am good enough, I am loveable, I deserve happiness’.
Granted, it is certainly not easy when you begin. It makes you want to squirm, but with practice and dedication you begin to extinguish old neurons, which actually aren’t as ‘hard wired’ as we would believe them to be, and create new ones. It takes thirty days to build a new neural pathway. The old ones, which may have been firing for years, simply wither away if they are not being used. WE believes it is our duty to ourselves to improve our lives, to be the best possible version of us and to generate happiness for ourselves and those around us.
Who would have thought all those years ago when WE was truly lost in the wilderness that they somehow knew a fighting spirit would never relent and never give in? That spirit has saved their life numerous times. We all have that spirit no matter what place or space we are in right now.