Image source Sergey Zolkin
So we all know Rudolph. We hear his song every year in the shops, on Christmas ads and on any Christmas hits album, but have you ever really thought about Rudolph's story?
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games"
Rudolph had a big shiny red nose and he was ashamed of it, embarrassed to be different, he didn't fit the image of the 'perfect' reindeer and all the other reindeer bullied him and left him out of their games. There he was standing alone, watching all the others having a great time, and feeling pretty inadequate.
He reminds me of many of the young people I work with who are comparing themselves to others, hate their imperfections, or think that they are weird and don't fit in. It seems that they believe they are the only one that feels this way, and they are convinced that everyone else's lives are perfect and they are all living the dream.
At this time of year we are constantly being shown images of 'perfection'. The perfect family, the perfect party, perfect outfit, hair, food, presents...... it's no wonder we can all feel a bit inadequate when our news feeds are full of this stuff. Realistically, we know that nobody posts the million shots they took trying to get the perfect selfie, or the one with no make-up before the Christmas do (or even 2am post-Christmas do!), or the really sad moments when they have tears in their eyes thinking of the people who won't be with them this Christmas. Nobody shows this, we only show our best bits, our best moments, our perfect selfies. But these 'perfect' images can still creep into our minds and make us wonder 'are we really good enough?'
Imagine if Rudolph was around today? He would love Instagram and Snapchat. He could filter the hell out of his selfies! His red nose would be turned sepia, side profile only, the perfect pout, and a flower garland around his antlers! He could be anything but Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
Ironically though, as the story goes it was his imperfections and his uniqueness that actually landed him his dream job pulling Santa's sleigh!
"Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight"
All the time he was feeling inadequate and embarrassed about his nose, turns out it was the very thing that could make him the happiest! How wonderful! All the time he had spent comparing himself to the other reindeer he could have been celebrating his assets with others who appreciated him just the way he was. He could have been celebrating his own beautiful selfie!
Rudolph has been my wing man this Christmas in sending a very important message to the young people I work with. In fact I think there's a Rudolph in all of us. We hide our weird or 'quirky' bits and compare ourselves with others, believing that what we see is 100% true, when really it's just a snapshot of 'moments' they are showing us, the edited version of life, the highlights, the best bits.
So throughout December I am taking on a challenge for myself and anyone else who wants to #celebrateyourselfie. Every day in December I will be posting a photo on my Instagram of 1 thing I love about myself and/or my life - just the way it is. It may be something that's a bit different about me that I wouldn't normally celebrate or even like, or something so ordinary I just take for granted, or something or someone that I feel really lucky to have.
I would love you to join me to celebrate our uniqueness and post a photo each day of something you love about yourself and your life. Tell us about your weird ideas/opinions, show us anything unusual about you or a unique talent. The things we think are strange about us can often be our best assets (it may even be a shiny red nose!) This Christmas let's celebrate our imperfections and uniqueness Rudolph style! #celebrateyourselfie.