Mariska Hargitay credits her success to having empathy and compassion for herself and for others.
“I would say that we that — this is a lesson that it’s taken me a long time to learn — but we already have everything we need inside of us,” Hargitay, 55, told Page Six on Wednesday at the “Law & Order: SVU” Television Milestone Celebration at The Paley Center for Media, celebrating the NBC show’s 21st season. “Sometimes it’s simple. Simply about acknowledging what we already are and to stop deflecting but really stand in our power. And if you really show people who you are, you’ll be surprised at how they will respect that. Having our boundaries and not being scared and not always deferring or deflecting or apologizing, but allowing ourselves to be all of our selves. Our joy, our beauty, our anger, our fierceness.”
“The more compassionate, empathetic and tolerant we are with others and the more we go through life with empathy and compassion, the more everyone opens up and feels safer and then you get the best of people [and] the best of yourself,” she continued. “We’re so critical on ourselves and that’s what my goal is, to stand here and go like, ‘Doing the best that I can!’ Sometimes it feels like it’s not good enough, but you know what? It’s pretty good. I think that we can all say that to ourselves. We’re pretty awesome as women. So own it!”
Hargitay uses her compassion to advocate similarly to how her character, Olivia Benson, fights for justice for sex crime victims. She created the Joyful Heart Foundation, which supports sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse survivors, and is also behind the award-winning documentary “I Am Evidence.”
The “Law & Order: SVU” star, director and executive producer is vocal about praising strong female figures and previously called her co-star Kelli Giddish an inspiration, saying: “Kelli is one of the strongest people, I’d say, in a lot of ways, like, a lot cooler than I am … so there’s so many women that I admire and look up to and I try to grab pieces of those.”
The Emmy and Golden Globe winner also called Dr. Christine Blasey Ford courageous after her testimony against Brett Kavanaugh last year.
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