When we are young we pattern our life dreams and expectations after the stories we hear and the movies we watch. Often, in American culture, Disney plays a major role in that. While the Disney rendition of fairytales is a butcher job of the originals, children only know what they are shown and taught and so we head off into our lives picturing a prince or princess and a happily ever-after.
We all want love, magic, and riches. That sounds good – I’ll take that.
I learned this week when I asked people how their life was like a fairytale, that the go-to mindset was to think about how it was a happily ever after. Fairytale seems to equate with perfection or the ideal. Stay tuned to hear my man-on-the-street quicky interviews where people got to share how their lives were like fairytales.
When I first started getting the responses and everyone was going straight to the happily-ever-after, I had to ask – haven’t you ever read an entire fairytale? What about the challenges along the way? What about the problem the main character faced? Repunzel was a prisoner who wanted freedom, Cinderella was enslaved and wanted a little recreation, the Shoemaker and his wife were on the verge of financial ruin and desperately wanted money to buy food, the princess in the Princess and the Frog had lost something important to her. She desperately wanted her golden ball. Goldilocks was tired and hungry and wanted a place to crash.
The main character wants something in these stories and they are faced with major obstacles. Fairytales aren’t just about happily ever afters, they are about a hero or heroine facing heartbreak/challenge/disappointment, often the death of a parent. We love the stories with happy endings, but the stories are only interesting and beloved because the main character found their way through the struggle.
This is the part of the stories that smack a bit more of real life. We will always have challenges because those are the steps to growth and understanding. Challenges –check!
Let’s talk about more ways our lives are like fairytales:
One of the things I love about fairytales is the way magic shows up to help. Whether it is a fairy godmother, or an elf, or a frog, or simply the thing they wanted, there is a pattern that aligns closely with the universal laws of creation. As we desire, believe we will receive, envision and focus, then magic shows up to help us take something from an idea into literal creation. I love the fairy godmothers– the serendipity, the “coincidence” the unplanned for things that show up just when I need them. I love these because it makes life seem so unpredictable and wonderful and supported by goodness. How wonderful to be able to believe that magic will show up. We all have those people we turn to in tough times – the people who show up in a pinch. Sometimes it is the small and simple things – the books, the advice, the workshop, the tip, the connection, the idea that glitters with magic and takes us where we need to go. Pay attention to the magic in your life and celebrate how much it really is like a fairytale. (Listen to the episode on serendipity – episode 10)
It’s also like a fairytale because we have wonderful pets and while they might not sing and talk to us in our native tongue they love us unconditionally and whenever life gets rough they are there.
Have you ever noticed that in fairytales there is almost always an enchanted forest? We also have nature – botanical gardens, backyards, wilderness, hiking trails, fresh air – head into nature and feel the magic.
One of the lessons of fairytales is that beauty is often buried. Things are not as they appear. A beautiful face doesn’t equate with a beautiful personality. The lesson here is the importance of not judging.
What about true love? Most fairytales involve relationships of the romantic kind because this is something the human heart longs for. We long for love, acceptance, someone who sees our beauty and value. It’s one of our greatest longings. If you haven’t found this, remember to look at others this same way and be grateful for all the love you do have in your life and you will create more.
I did something for this episode that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I went out on the streets of Salt Lake City, Utah and did a Man-On-The-Street approach. I asked others how their lives were like fairytales. Here’s what they had to say.
Tune in to the audio program for my interviews with the people of Salt Lake City.
This romantic idea of your life as a fairytale – of you as the hero or heroine of an intriguing tale is fun to play with. How IS YOUR life like a fairytale? Your challenge this week is to think about your own personal role in your own personal fairytale. Do you have the support of loving animals or fairy godmothers? Does magic show up just when you need it – an idea, a book, a person? Do you face a challenge that requires courage and ingenuity? Have you found your prince or princess? Do you live in a wonderful cottage or castle? Just for a moment, realize how much your life is like the beloved fairytales and think to yourself: “If this were a fairytale, what would the brave protagonist do now?” How do I write the best life story moving forward? What can I do to create connection (Snow White and the 7 Dwarves), possibility (Cinderella), and self-care (Rapunzel)? What courageous thing can I do to move my story forward in all the best ways?
Have a great week this week. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll love my book: LIFE – Living Intentional and Fearless Every day – the 21 LIFE Connection Challenges. It’s an organized way to create possibility, connection and self-care in your life. Available on Amazon or there is a link on loveyourstorypodcast.com.