What’s Your “Upside Down” Magic?

By Dr. Debra Rezendes, HMT Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy in Northern Virginia 

This weekend my family watched the movie, “Upside Down Magic,” for movie night. In the movie, a group of young children are deemed misfits because of their “wonky, ” “unorthodox,” and “upside down” magic. When the school gets attacked by “Shadow Magic,” the children must confront the parts of them they once avoided to rediscover their unique magical abilities.

In true Disney style, the movie holds a powerful message for all of us. After all, don’t we all have parts of ourselves that we’ve hated, avoided, pushed away or forgotten because it wasn’t seen as good enough, useful enough, beautiful enough or left us too vulnerable? What if we changed our relationship to these parts of ourselves? What if instead of these parts being our biggest source of weakness they were instead our greatest source of strength?

The truth is that the real magic comes from transforming our inner conflict into radical acceptance of who we are—all parts of who we are. This is our “upside down” magic, rediscovering the uniqueness and power of something that was once seen as a weakness, unlovable, or worthless.

How do we find our “upside down” magic?

  1. Recognizing when we are fighting, alienating, or criticizing an aspect of our self.
  2. Using self-compassionate, self-accepting inner thoughts (For example: “Even though I am struggling to accept the part of myself that is anxious, I lovingly accept all parts of myself.”).
  3. Identifying how we would treat this part of our self if we accepted all of our self as worthy.
  4. Paying attention to any body sensations we feel when we think of every part of our self as worthy.
  5. Acknowledging that we can still love yourself even when we are working on transforming our relationship with this part of our self.

We are all on a path of continual growth and development. When we increase our self-acceptance, we unlock a new level of personal power that can motivate us towards greater success and fulfillment.

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About Dr. Debra Rezendes:

Debra has over ten years of community and clinical work with individuals, children, parents, and families and has been published in the Journal of Happiness Studies and Autism Research and Treatment. She received her doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University and has gained specialized, intensive training in emotionally focused therapy (EFT) and Theraplay. She also has skills in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), strengths-based therapies, self-compassion training, attachment-based therapies, play therapy, and solution-focused therapy.

Dr. Debra Rezendes is a Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy and is working towards licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Virginia. She works under the supervision of Marianne S. Coad, MAMFC, LMFT, LPC-S. In the event that clients have any questions or concerns about Debra’s work, her supervisor can be contacted at mariannesynergycounseling@gmail.com, (703) 657-9721, or 10379-B Democracy Lane, Fairfax, VA 22030.

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