Things I’ve Learned from Cinderella

Disney's Cinderella Movie Poster
Disney’s Cinderella Movie Poster

Our daughter just turned 13 years old. And like most teenagers, she’s in this space between wanting to be treated like an adult but not yet ready to give up some child-like things. Wait! As I write this, it reminds me of a lot of some adults as well…but I digress…back to the birthday.

One of the gifts she received for her birthday was a DVD of the 2015 remake of Disney’s Cinderella . While one never really outgrows anything Disney, there is a part of me that finds it difficult to relate to Fairy Godmothers and talking animals. In spite of this, we all sat down and watched it together, and I found some very relevant life lessons that we should all take to heart.

“I want to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. Have courage and be kind. For where there is kindness, there is goodness and where there is goodness, there is magic.”

Regardless of what life had to throw at Cinderella she refused to despair. To be fair, Cinderella had a lot of things to complain about. Her mother died. Her father remarried – to a horrible woman at that – and then he died. Then her step mother and step sisters turned her into a house servant and made her sleep in the attic. I’m pretty sure all of this would make me a bit disgruntled. It’s not that she never felt despair. It is that she felt it, acknowledged it, but refused to wallow in it.

Not only did she refuse to wallow in despair, but she faced it with courage and kindness. It takes courage to be kind. It takes courage to understand that those who are causing you pain are usually facing pain themselves and this is their means of coping. Having the courage to approach life with kindness does create magic.

“Just because it is done doesn’t mean it should be done.”

Just because things have always been done a certain way, does not mean there isn’t a better way to do them or that they should be done at all. Being brave enough to ask questions and challenge the status quo can lead to great changes in attitude, culture, and community.

“To be seen as we truly are is the biggest risk we will ever take. Will we be enough as we really are?”

Allowing others to see us as we truly are is a real and scary risk. Are we smart enough, are we pretty enough, are we social enough, are we a good enough mother? These are all questions we ask when evaluating the risk/reward of being seen as we are. The truth is, we will never be enough for everyone, but we will always be enough for the right ones. By putting our real selves out there we will attract the right ones to us and keep from cluttering our lives with the wrong ones… always making the risk worth it. Besides, trying to be something other than our true selves is just plain exhausting.

“Cinderella believed in dreams, all right, but she also believed in doing something about them. When Prince Charming didn’t come along, she went over to the palace and got him.” – Walt Disney

It’s not enough to merely dream. You must believe enough in your dreams that you are willing to take action and make them happen. The most successful people I know haven’t let circumstances or outside influences stand in their way of greatness. Nor have they waited around for someone to make it happen for them. Rather they use their resourcefulness, perseverance, and belief in themselves to move them forward to achieve what they desire.

“Never look back. If Cinderella went to pick up her shoe, she would have never become a princess.”

Fixating on the past keeps us from making progress and allowing new opportunities to open up for us. There is a quote that I found on that I like, even though I’m unsure who said it, that states, “you’ll never see all of the awesome things ahead of you, if you keep looking at all the bad things behind you.” I’m convinced it’s good to look back long enough to reflect and learn, but staying there only keeps you from moving forward and claiming what is yours.

And finally…

“Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life.”

This quote is not actually in the movie (I don’t think) but I see it everywhere and love it – BECAUSE IT IS TRUE!

I know that my daughter, in her mind, was just watching a fairy tale. But I hope she learned, as I did, that even when you have a Fairy Godmother, you have responsibility for living life true to who you are, for challenging the status quo, for being kind and courageous, and for making things happen.

Bippity, Boppity, Boo!


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