Love ‘em or hate ‘em, fairy tales can linger within us and effect the way we see ourselves and others. Whether we envision being “saved” like “sweet” Cinderella, being “rich” and “powerful” like Prince Charming, or being a villainous, sinister, puppy-mill-monster like Cruella DeVille, what we take from these characters and stories may impact us more than we know. In today’s article, we’ll ferret out our own “fairy tale logic”. Considering whether it brings us closer or farther from living our very own “happily ever after”.
The role of imagination
Absolutely vital is the role of imagination in fairy tales. As we watch movies like Shrek and Little Mermaid, or listen to a loved one as he or she reads to us from our pretty-little-paperback of Bluebeard or the Frog Prince, we follow our imagination as it transports us to an idea of a “good” and “fun” life. Through stories and fairy tales, we are taught at an early age to employ our imagination to begin building (in our minds), the foundation (ideas) of what happy relationships look like. Although fairy tales can stereotype male and female roles and offer other questionable concepts, for the sake of making our own minds more beautiful, let’s focus on the heart of how we use our imagination to build “our character,” so it can benefit us and others.
Fairy tale lives
Unconsciously, we may look to model fairy tale characters, since mates may seem “perfect,” and often live “happily ever after.” It’s easy to see how, as youngsters, we might draw the conclusion that if our mommies and daddies would only be more romantic and look and act like Big Princes and Princesses, that the family would be happier.
As adults, we might also imagine that “if only” we would be more like The Prince or Princess, all would be well with our relationships. How many of us have imagined the following things? Women: have you, at one time or another—imagined or now imagine “being rescued” (from life’s struggles) by a charming prince? Men: how many of you have imagined—or imagine, “saving” a princess and then marrying her? And how many of us may have imagined or are currently imagining that our mate IS a prince or princess, while we deny the truth that he or she is abusive, destructive, controlling, addicted or has some other devastating trait?
Using our imagination this way is what I call, “Fairy Tale Logic.” It chops us and those we love into separateness—as being EITHER “good” or “bad,” “hero” or “villain.” It does not take into account our “whole story,” our “whole person,” and the “big picture” of who we are.
The trouble, stress and drama-do that we create by using our imaginations this way is deep.
It results in men/princes who look for women who need to be saved. Or, if a man/prince dates or marries an empowered woman who doesn’t need to be saved, he may unconsciously or intentionally decimate the woman’s respect for herself and him, so he may then have the opportunity to be the hero and save it/her.
Women/princesses are also affected, since they may wait in dutiful obligation to be saved. Not sure if her looks, charm or “who she is” is enough, she keeps searching for the “right” dress, shoes, hair, make-up, jewelry and carriage to “hook the hero.”
In working with people to increase their willpower and overcome addictions, I’ve seen how deeply people are affected by their own “fairy tale logic.” Most of us have it somewhere “in the back of our minds.” And, when our reality does not meet our imagination of what we believe it should be, this disconnect can cause unhappiness, drive us to depression and addiction, or it can also be the catalyst to faith and change, or somewhere in between.
I am not immune to using my imagination to create “fairy tale logic”. Early on, I imagined my dad as a hero. I told myself that he could do anything. First (and unconsciously), I began by choosing to imagine and believe that my dad was ONLY (what I thought were) his “good”, “hero” qualities. The lie I told myself that accompanied this “logic”, was that I was sure that with enough love and support from me, my dad would choose to let go of what I judged were his “bad” qualities. “Hero-fying” him this way allowed me to love his “good” qualities and deny/ignore both his “bad” qualities—and my resulting pain and unmet needs.
In my thirties, I realized that by not accepting the whole of him, I was also not accepting the whole of me. Unconsciously, I had duplicated relationships with men who mimicked my father’s hurtful traits. It wasn’t until I accepted all of my dad for who he was—AND accepted that my unmet needs were important and needed to be met NOW, that I began to allow myself and others to truly care for me the way that I needed.
Acknowledging the “whole” person can save a lot of heartache
Seeing and accepting the whole “person”, and ALL characteristics is the beginning and “happy ending” we seek. The “villain/hero”, and “bitty/princess“ in each of us deserves to be acknowledged for its power to drive our behavior. So many of us learn this the hard way. I hope this article inspires thinking about how we might be characterizing ourselves and limiting our potential. If we believe that we need to be “good” like Cinderella by letting our family disrespect us, our affiliation with Cinderella is disempowering. If we believe that we are a powerful prince and hero—and our money and connections will win over a potential princess, we’ve limited ourselves to attracting women who are seeking money and power.
What fairy tale character do we relate to?
Who is it … Belle, Beauty, Beast, Bluebeard, Bambi? Think about their qualities … do they empower or limit to us? If we are wise, we will understand both parts of us. Recognizing the Beauty and the Beast and NOT categorizing ourselves as EITHER. Our ability to do this greatly determines our “self”-worth and compassion for others and their character traits. Then, let’s apply our imaginations to build ourselves into strong, healthy characters who live “happily-ever-after”.
What say ye?
Please share your thoughts and feelings so we may grow in strength and willpower together …
Always with love,
For inspiration and insight to building ourselves into strong, healthy characters look into the following article: http://www.willyou.guru/avenues-to-enlightenment/
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