My end of the year was quite gloomy, since otitis had me lying in bed in the last days of 2021 and the first of 2022. To this was added the hangover from a long season with too much work, so I had to make an effort to compose myself so that this year was truly new.
To find new paths and be original, in the true sense of the word, it is useful to go back to the origins, as Gaudí once said. In other words, recovering the splendour of childhood.
I don’t have parents since more than ten years, nor have I have my favourite uncle, the only single of eight brothers and sisters —on my mother’s side— who was like a spiritual father to me.
To get out of the melancholy, I wanted to relive the movies I saw with Uncle Maria (his name was Josep Maria) every Christmas. A waiter by trade, he loved musicals, so as a child he made me watch movies like An American in Paris or My Fair Lady over and over again. In the first days of 2022, I saw the latter with my partner, who did not know it.
Having talked in so many articles about The Pygmalion Effect, which takes its name from the Bernard Shaw play that inspired this musical, I wanted to see it with today’s eyes.
Throughout the 2 hours 46 minutes, in addition to remembering each of the songs, I was amazed by Audrey Hepburn’s comic performance, although the Oscar went to Rex Harrison and she was not even nominated.
Beyond the extreme classism and sexism of Professor Higgins, the underlying message in the play and in the film is that if you change the language, you change the person.
In the film, the ‘Pygmalion Effect’ is only aimed at moving up in social class. Two linguists bet on whether it is possible to transform a rude street florist so that she doesn’t clash at a royal reception.
Nowadays, psychology gives to the change of language a much greater significance, since it includes the words we use for ourselves.
What do you say to yourself?
If the most used words in your inner speech are “I don’t…”, “If I could…” or “I wish…”, among other defeatist expressions, you are like Eliza Doolittle surviving in Covent Garden, while waiting for a stroke of luck from heaven. The power is outside of you.
On the other hand, if you speak to yourself in a proactive and empowering language, free of excuses, external culprits or the wheel of fortune, you are the Eliza who arouses the admiration and respect of the kings of Transylvania. You have become aware of your power.
There is an inner language to the role you decide to play in your life, and you don’t need Professor Higgins to learn it. It is about observing what you tell yourself about yourself and changing the messages that do not help you progress.