The last line in My Cousin Vinny, the sidesplitting 1992 comedy, was spoken by Mona Lisa Vito, a smart-mouthed character played by Marisa Tomei, who won an academy award for her performance. Mona Lisa wanted to jerk the chain of her disagreeable fiancé, Vinny Gambini, the character played by Joe Pesci, because Vinny wouldn’t allow Mona Lisa to help him win his first criminal law case. All through the movie Mona Lisa kept pestering Vinny and asking him what she could do to help out, but Vinny relentlessly resisted. He wanted to win it on his own. It wasn’t until the end of the movie that Vinny gave in and asked Mona Lisa to be his expert witness. After winning the case, Mona Lisa offered this prediction about how Vinny would win future cases, too: “And then afterwords,” she said, “you have to go up to somebody and you have to say thank you…...What a f***ing nightmare!”
Imagine that the universe is like the Mona Lisa character. It wants to help you and to you give you what you want. Just like a parent at Christmastime, the universe gets deep satisfaction and joy from giving. Now imagine that humans are like the Vinny character. Vinny was unwilling to receive, and he actively resisted it with his attitude and whining. Holding resistance in your mind is the surest way NOT to get what you want. In fact, it’s like a big giant "no" on steroids. The problem is that most of us don’t realize that our own lack of gratitude is a form of resistance, in which our power works against us.
Instead, we’re programmed to mistakenly believe that resistance to receiving is polite and that it’s more humble and socially appropriate to deflect gifts. Or maybe we’re worried we might have to give something back. Or maybe, underneath it all, we don’t feel worthy to receive goodness in any form. My personal vote is for option 3, lack of worthiness. Of course, everyone is inherently worthy, but not feeling and not believing in your own worthiness is another story.
When you don’t feel worthy, you hold the dirty, untrue thought in the back of your mind that you don’t deserve to get what you want. When I was a girl of about nine or ten, one of my aunts brought me a gift from her recent trip to Africa. She showed me two exotic native necklaces, and said I could pick whichever one I wanted. Can you believe I picked the less attractive one, the one I didn’t want? I thought the most beautiful necklace was too nice for me to have.