Maria Laquerre LMFT, RPTS
A Whole New World and A Search for Purpose
“But who cares, no big deal, I want more.” Ariel had “gizmos and gadgets a-plenty, whozits and whatzits galore, and even 20 thingamabobs” and she still wanted more because these things weren’t as meaningful to her as the passion behind it. There is a tradeoff for everything in life whether we aim to invest in experiences or material items, all choices offered leave us with the fate of deciding what matters most to us in the long run. Ariel sings her heart's true desires yet does her best to hide them from those closest to herself for fear of not conforming to the beliefs of those around her and it leads to a very alienating feeling to build within her allowing conflict to arise within her between her authentic self and her ego.
This is the part of all of us that yearns to be accepted and loved, yet as Ariel learns amidst an argument with her father, the need for this acceptance can only be allowed to lead our lives for so long before it causes us more pain. True acceptance of who we are cannot exist if we are merely conforming or molding ourselves into the person that others believe we should be.
Open Your Perspective to Create a Whole New World.
Ariel set the mold of a proactive character that drove her own story, making decisions that went beyond solely reactionary, a social norm for the typical story line of early princesses. Instead of just allowing things to happen and her dreams to be dismissed or her choices limited to what her father and sisters wanted for her, Ariel choose not to be helpless. Instead, she focuses on being proactive in creating the world she saw for herself.
She does this by showing us what it looks like to correct a reactionary response. She takes initiative to changing her course of action when she, like all of us, falls prey to her own reactionary tendencies. Driven in large part by the negative impact of not feeling accepted plays on our psyche and in turn, our behaviors.
Ariel is unlike her sisters in that she is born with a longing for a different life than the one laid out for her by her family’s vision of what she should want for her life. Ariel is plagued with an identity crisis amid a society in which she feels she no longer belongs, long before she chooses to leave the only world in which she’s known. Conflicted with the view she holds for those so different, yet so similar to what she feels in her heart.
Be Wary of Losing Your Voice, Amidst the Noise of Others.
Ursula is an example of the jealous “friend” we all need to watch out for who manipulates, condescends (“poor unfortunate soul”), and bends the truth to get what she wants. Ariel falls for it because she doesn’t read the fine print. It’s great to be adventurous, to take risks, to dare, to “make the choice,” but we must do so consciously, not because someone else is pressuring us. Rash decisions made in a moment of desperation are bound to backfire. Ariel feels hopeless amidst her father’s so-called “tough love” which makes her a vulnerable target for Ursula’s evil plan as she reacts out of rejection of her dreams and true self, rather than being purposeful in her actions. She signs the sinister contract with her eyes literally closed, but she didn’t have to sign the contract at all. Life is full of choices, but we must make choices out of love, not out of fear!
“It won’t cost much, just your voice,” Ursula. We sometimes sacrifice our voice to fit in. Your voice is precious and speaking up is your birth right. Ariel’s story is a cautionary tale, so you don’t dare underestimate the power of your own voice. Ariel didn’t fully realize how important her voice was until it was gone. It was her most precious tool to fight for her rights, to demand her freedom, to express herself and speak her mind, to vent, to seek understanding, to use her singing talent, and to carry out the important relationships in her life.
Have An Open Mind and be Rewarded with a Positive Spin on Differences
Ariel’s desire is not really about a prince she just met, it’s about satisfying her burning curiosity, exploring, learning, and experiencing the human world freely. King Triton absolutely forbids merpeople to be in contact with humans, at all times. He refuses to see any other perspective, especially when it comes to Ariel's interest in humanity. He believes humans are dangerous, and that's that. Triton wasn't open-minded in the least, and it nearly cost him his daughter and his kingdom.
Had he been more open to seeing humans as anything more than dangerous, a lot of the heartache and problems in the film may have been avoided. Open-mindedness is important; even if someone doesn't understand something, it doesn't mean they can't keep an open mind and learn. Even if we don’t understand another’s perspective or chosen path, we can still support them. It’s such a gift when someone doesn’t try to hold us back from our dream, accepts us for who we are, and loves us without having to “obey their rules.” When we stop ourselves from trying to control the behaviors of others and instead opt for an open mind, we allow those around us to flourish and grow into their truest self and providing an opportunity for limitless possibilities.
Embracing our authentic self and all that we are allows for us to learn and prosper from our own mistakes, exercise the beauty of our natural gifts, and reminds us that our voice is ultimately the most powerful when we choose to use it. In doing so we create a whole new world with various perspectives made more powerful by the differences in the lenses we each possess. We are the creators of our world after all.
A self-described geek, Maria Laquerre-Diego is a CEO and Owner who is committed to increasing access to mental health services and breaking down the stigma surrounding therapy services. As a therapist turned CEO, Maria has developed a unique perspective when it comes to mental health and the barriers surrounding mental health treatment. Influenced by her time at New Mexico State University in the Family and Consumer Science department, and University of New Hampshire’s Marriage and Family Therapy department, Maria has turned her dedication to giving back and supporting future generations of therapists. In addition to supporting mental health providers, Maria takes an active role in addressing the continued stigma of mental health services through the use of pop culture – everything from movies and television shows to superheroes and Disney characters. Maria has spoken about mental health at several local events, has served as an officer on professional boards and has provided training to clinicians all over the country while maintaining her and her family’s roots as Aggies! Outside of the office, Maria can be found spending time with her family and loved ones, exploring the world through travel, and creating cosplays for herself, her husband and their two little ones. Maria is always happy to talk about Star Wars, Marvel and mental health and can be contacted through her practice website www.anewhopetc.org