As a child of the 80’s, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of my favorite animated series to watch. I was also known to partake of Duck Tales, X-Men, Gargoyles, Jem, Captain Planet, and He-Man—all of which were animated shows that I consider far superior to the drivel my 10-year old watches today.
But I’m not here to debate the merit of late 80’s/early 90’s TV of the animated variety, although I could wax nostalgic on the subject. Today I want to talk to you about messages and the weight they can carry, whether we’re aware of it or not.
You see, after many episodes of Ninja Turtles, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael (my personal favorite) would impart some nugget of wisdom to their young and impressional audience—a message intended to teach valuable lessons of justice, morality, and right action to my generation.
One such message played out as a water-wasting op-ed: Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth, they said. It wastes water, they said. It’s irresponsible, they said.
I stand here today at 34 years old (and probably still the same height I was then) recalling that op-ed every single time I brush my teeth. I kid you not: Every. Single. Time. Whenever I see a faucet running unnecessarily, I immediately shut it off—because the Ninja Turtles told me to do so.
Now to be fair, I was a budding environmentalist; by age 10 I was already the president of my local “Kids For Saving the Earth” club, often organizing trash clean-ups and enthusiastically attending LA’s yearly star studded Earth Walk. At one such event, we were told the stars of 90210 would be in attendance, but I only got to meet Ian Ziering. I mean, Steve Sanders—what a rip off.
I was-and am-an incredibly Earth conscious human, so perhaps that’s why this message landed so squarely. Regardless, it was a powerful enough message that it’s stuck with me some 25 years later, and it continues to spur me to action.
The media we consume, the literature we read, the people we interact with, the thoughts we entertain—these all contain messages. Some of these messages might not stick and others have staying power, but at the end of the day it’s our responsibility to filter the messages.
Should we commit to a path of higher living, we need use discretion when it comes to which messages we allow space for. We need to develop the filtering mechanisms necessary to separate effective messages from those that threaten our power and worth. We must hold our messages, both in and out, to a higher standard.
Because again, messages have a way of sticking, whether or not they hold truth—and sometimes they stick so subconsciously that we take them for indubitable facts.
There are many messages in our modern world that threaten the way of the wild and powerful woman. The media wants us to believe we need fixing, social constructs would have us feel shame around our sexuality, and patriarchal society wants us to believe we’re meant to play small.
These are messages which many of us have allowed to take up prime mental and emotional real estate. They cause us to alter our behavior and keep us from standing in our power—and unless we unlearn these messages, they will continue to erode our sense of worthiness. We have to see them for what they are: not facts or truths, but cleverly crafted messages that stand to help others profit in some way or another.
We must commit to seeking out messages that uplift and empower our very being. We need to fill our social media feeds, our minds, our hearts with messaging that propels us towards our Higher Self, because only when we occupy that space can we begin to do the work of our soul’s purpose and our heart’s desire.
Only when we believe the messages that perfection is a myth, that we are powerful, and that we have the right to take up space can we show up in the world and spread that message ourselves. We may not always embody these messages, and that’s okay—but we can certainly lay their truth as our foundation, using them as a ballast when we’re lead astray.
What we must remember is that we are not fragile. We must be discerning of the forces that threaten to convince us otherwise and profit from robbing us of our light. I encourage you-nay-implore you to take a look at the sources from which you currently draw your messages. What needs to be turned up? What needs to be tossed out? How can you consume messages that align with your integrity and core values?
Where can you create space for messages that will pull you closer to your heart-driven, powerful, purposeful life?