“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” – Elizabeth Bennet
One of my all time favorite heroines in literature is the dazzling Elizabeth Bennet, of Pride & Prejudice. It’s hard to find many people who aren’t captivated by her. Even the proud Mr Darcy “had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her.”
What is it about her that makes her so enchanting to us, even 200 years later? She has little wealth. She is considered pretty by those who know her, but not compared to the ravishing beauty of her sister, Jane. Her manners are not “fashionable” and she has never been professionally tutored. By the standards of the day (and let’s face it – probably by the standards of today too) she should have had very little to recommend her.
And yet millions of people, not just Mr Darcy, have fallen hopelessly in love with her for the past 200 years, and will continue to fall in love with her for centuries to come. So, what is her timeless appeal?
It’s pretty simple. Lizzie Bennet unapologetically loves and values herself. Even when she’s surrounded by those who mock her. In the company of those of a higher social sphere, she speaks confidently whenever there’s an opening. She refuses to see herself as less than anyone else. Even though Darcy is her social superior which had an importance in this time that we can scarcely understand today, she considers herself his equal. She never considers herself ‘lucky’ to have caught such a man. She’s a prize and she knows it.
She is also radiantly authentic. She says what she thinks, and her honesty and wit are noted by everyone around her. She refuses to sit quietly by and be seen and not heard. Because of this, she stands out in people’s minds and becomes unforgettable. She is completely grounded in who she is. She knows herself very well and isn’t afraid of what she sees. She owns her flaws, admits her mistakes and fully embraces the chances to learn from them and be a better person.
The effect of her deep self-love and authenticity on those around her is blindingly obvious. Scarcely any man who comes into the book escapes her charms. Even in the company of her much prettier sister, Jane, or her louder, more out-going sister, Lydia, Lizzie is the woman almost every man is irresistibly drawn towards. The people who are repelled by her authenticity are the very people she would not wish to deal with. She’s perfectly comfortable with someone thinking badly of her. She doesn’t need anyone’s approval or permission to love and honor herself.
This is one of the greatest truths we can remember when it comes to anchoring into unshakable self love. Faces will come to mind, of the people who would argue with you loving yourself. After all, you’re much harder to control when you love yourself so passionately that you no longer care what others think of you. So remind yourself of this truth several times a day. Embrace Elizabeth Bennet’s attitude. You do not need anyone’s permission to love and honor yourself. You do not need anyone’s permission to be your full, authentic, radiant self, fearlessly embracing all parts of you.
Elizabeth would be proud!