I was watching the Jeff Probst show yesterday and his guest on the show was Miss Montana, Alexis Wineman. I don't know if any of you have heard about this girl, I hadn't until watching the show. But she's truly unique. She's the first Miss America contestant with autism. I will say, though, that she's a very high-functioning person with autism, but still, pretty cool.
She has the best attitude and outlook on life! I found her very inspiring... obviously, she inspired this blog post today.
First off, she shared how when she was younger, before being diagnosed with autism, when her classmates would get in groups and socialize or play together, she played alone. She said it was just preferable to be alone than reach out to others and probably be made fun of. She's somewhat socially awkward and has a speed impediment. At some point she was dianosed with autism.
She said she viewed it then, and views it still, as just a label. A word. No biggie. That, right there, is awesome.
People can label us what they want, call us what they want, but it's our own assessment of ourselves that really matters. It's how much validity and power we give the label that makes the difference. You can let it get to you, hold you back, or use it as an excuse. Whatever "label" you have or whatever other people think of you. Or you can just let it be. Don't worry about it. Shrug it off. Like Alexis.
That's not even the most inspiring part though.
Jeff asked her if she always wanted to be Miss America, like a lot of little girls.
Alexis said no. She laughed and said she really had no interest in it growing up. She was more of a tomboy. Her mother and sister were more into the "girly" stuff, but not her.
Jeff asked her how she got into it then. "What was the turning point?" he asked.
It was Alexis's answer to that question that shook me. It was a major a-ha moment for me. I rewound it several times to write down her response. Here it is:
"I kind of look back and realize the only reason I didn't like it wasn't because of the dresses or the swimsuits, it was because I grew up thinking, 'I can't be that.'"
It was like fireworks went off inside me when I heard her say that.
A lot of our fears, insecurities, and even distaste for certain things, stems from a belief that we can't have it, be it, or do it. So we don't like it.
This reminded me of a post on The Daily Love by Mastin Kipp. He shared an email he received from a reader who was angry and would no longer read his blog. Why? Because she felt he was going in the wrong direction, doing it for the money now, etc. And why did she think this? According to her email, and what Mastin posted, it was because of his recent trip to Bali and that he promoted a (costly, but awesome) program by Marie Forleo, B School. This reader had had enough.
When I read the email that Mastin posted on his blog I had a different reaction than Mastin and it seems many of those who commented on that day's post. My initial reaction was, "She's upset because she feels she can't go on the trip to Bali and can't afford expensive things."
When people see other people doing something that they would like to do, but feel like they can't, they often respond with fear, anger, and insecurity. They feel the need to rise up and defend themselves. Even though no one is attacking them! They see other people's success as an attack.
Of course I'm speaking of people who are living in their egos. If someone is living in love and totally aligned with their Spirit and inner nature and on the right path and all that, they are at peace. With themselves and with the world around them. They're happy for others and want other people to be happy, succeed, and do great things.
But when people aren't living in love, they don't see all actions AS love. They get jealous. Insecure. Defensive.
We can all go there from time to time. I know I have. We all have our things that ignite the ego within us, and spark our fear and insecurity.
Back to Alexis Wineman. She went on to say that she realized nothing was holding her back. Nothing was stopping her from being on the (Miss America) stage. So that's when she decided just to go for it. Give it a shot. Jump in and see what happens. And she won Miss Montana.
What could any of us do if we realized nothing was holding us back? You may not be inspired to go join the pagaent circuit or run off to Bali, but what's calling you?
*All quotes below are from www.wonderful-quotes.com.
Quotes of the Day:
"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character." Albert Einstein
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Maya Angelou
"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." Thomas Jefferson
"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." Khalil Gibran