And for some reason that reality and knowing that, it just changed everything.”
~ Viola Davis
Viola Davis played the role of Aibileen Clark in the film The Help. Davis won numerous award nominations for the role including a Golden Globe Award, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild and an Academy Award. In 2008 she had also received numerous nominations for her role in the film Doubt, that has also starred Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
She has been working as an actor for 20 years and has received other awards and recognition throughout her career. Yet in a talk with Oprah Winfrey she opens up about having battled low self-esteem for many years. She also shares during the interview how she had to learn to receive love and how when she was nominated for an Academy Award in 2008 for the film Doubt she went through a mid-life crisis that led her to realize the only definition of success that mattered to her, was her own.
Here is the first clip where she talks about overcoming her low self-esteem.
Here is a second clip where Viola reveals why she didn’t feel fulfilled, despite the fact that her dreams were coming true.
Viola’s childhood was far from glamorous. She grew up so poor that at times she knew what it meant to go hungry and her family lived in a condemned building that was infested with rats and roaches. Despite her impoverished upbringing, Viola says, she learned to dream big from her older sister. She credits those experiences for making her who she is today. She shared in the first video how grateful she is for the simple things in life due to her knowing what it is like to have so little.
What are your reactions to the video clips?
Do you feel you worry too much what others think of you?
Do the opinions of others affect you a great deal or not very much at all?
Would it bother you if someone didn’t like your writing, your art, your singing, your dancing or some other form of creativity that you were expressing?
Have you allowed criticism to hold you back from doing something that interested you or that you loved?
If you answered yes to any of these questions consider what these now well-known writers faced when they were trying to get published. Dr. Seuss faced over two dozen rejection letters before he realized his dream of being published. Classic books such as Lord of the Flies, Diary of Anne Frank, War of the Worlds, Animal Farm and The Time Machine all initially met with rejection from publishers.
How about these very successful and well-known public figures: “Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because, ‘he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.’ After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.” “While today Steven Spielberg’s name is synonymous with big budget, he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.”
Could it be true that some of the funniest actors didn’t fair so well in the beginning? “Just about everybody knows who Jerry Seinfeld is, but the first time the young comedian walked on stage at a comedy club, he looked out at the audience, froze and was eventually jeered and booed off of the stage. Seinfeld knew he could do it, so he went back the next night, completed his set to laughter and applause, and the rest is history.” “Lucille Ball had thirteen Emmy nominations and four wins, also earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors. Before starring in I Love Lucy, Ball was widely regarded as a failed actress and a B movie star. Even her drama instructors didn’t feel she could make it, telling her to try another profession. She, of course, proved them all wrong.”
Here is to following your dreams, writing the book that you will love to read, painting canvases that speak to your heart and express your soulfulness, singing those songs that lift you up, dancing that lets your spirit fly and be free, creating whatever that is inside of you yearning to be expressed, all because it makes you happy.
Here is one last clip of Viola Davis speaking about learning to receive love: