Have you ever really looked at yourself?
In the 2005 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, the best scene of the entire film, beautifully acted by Matthew Macfadyen & Keira Knightley, is the one where Mr. Darcy reluctantly exclaims his love for Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Here are the words he uses…
Mr. Darcy: Miss Elizabeth. I have struggled in vain and I can bear it no longer. These past months have been a torment. I came to Rosings with the single object of seeing you… I had to see you. I have fought against my better judgment, my family’s expectations, the inferiority of your birth by rank and circumstance. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony.
Elizabeth Bennet: I don’t understand.
Mr. Darcy: I love you… most ardently.
This pivotal emotional encounter & revelation by Mr. Darcy leaves Elizabeth overwhelmed and astonished. Standing in front of the mirror in her room, she lets the day pass by.
She looks at herself for hours, most likely contemplating, ruminating and grasping for understanding of what… just… happened.
I’ve loved this film since the first time I saw it in the theater. It is a go-to for me when I want to watch something of quality.
There was a time when I found this scene a bit annoying. I wanted Elizabeth to get over herself and either, leave to return home or run across the estate into Darcy’s arms, not caring if the film stuck to the original story!
But in recent viewings I have watched the scene with more understanding and appreciation.
When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror? I mean really looked, not just a quick makeup application, hair style and go.
It seems odd to do this, but give this exercise a try.
1. Stand in front of a mirror.
2. Pause. Don’t rush off after you’ve gotten ready for work or taken your makeup off for bed.
3. Look at yourself. See past what you glance at everyday and really look at you. Don’t feel like there needs to be any monumental epiphany, just allow enough time for this pause to not feel odd anymore.
4. After a minute or so, I imagine some thoughts came to mind… maybe you had a recent difficult conversation with someone – how do you feel about the way you left it? Do you need to revisit the conversation? Maybe you have felt lonely – remind yourself you are loved and recite the names of those who care about you, ultimately remind yourself you are loved by God. Maybe you are overwhelmed at work or at home – simply doing this act is giving you time to breathe. Do some intentional breathing exercises.
Take from this exercise what you need – whether it’s a pause from your day or a moment to think about your recent actions with someone you care about.
After such a profound moment in her life, I appreciate the choice of representing Elizabeth Bennet’s change and thoughtfulness through the symbolism of standing in front of a mirror.
Hopefully this symbolism will connect with you and bring enlightenment.
Want to watch the scene from Pride and Prejudice? You know you do – Pride and Prejudice Rain Scene