Do fairy tales affect our perception of reality?
Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who lived far, far away. Something terrible happened. The handsome prince came to her rescue. They fell in love and they married. They lived happily ever after. The end.
Add in a beautiful princess, some wicked people, and a handsome prince and voila, you have the plot for an award-winning fairy tale.
Does the princess have to be portrayed as a helpless damsel in distress in need of rescuing? Is the prince always a handsome young man willing to go to any length and endure any danger to save the beautiful princess? Most importantly, why do they always end up getting married and living happily ever after? How do these stories we grew up with affect our perception of romantic love?
I won’t even address the stereotypical gender roles that are portrayed in these fairy tales with clearly defined tasks for girls and boys, as that’s a whole different story. Many of us are affected to a greater or lesser extent by the fairy tale syndrome. From childhood we are faced with romantic messages from these fairy tales with perfect happy endings. Disney is especially wonderful at doing this. The most recent film, “Tangled,” is living proof that you don’t play with a winning formula (think Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White). All these stories convince us that our prince is out there and will come to our rescue, we fall in love and live happily ever after. As predictable as they are, they are gripping and continue to captivate audiences.
Fantasy and fairy tales are beautiful. These stories transport us to far away places with extraordinary people and for a while you escape from reality. They also have their practical uses, such as dealing with the problems of right and wrong, good and bad, and that actions have consequences. All positive things.
However, have fairy tales made us believe that our partner has to be Prince Charming? When reality does not match the fairy tale, do we get disappointed? Is the only guarantee to live happily is to find and marry Mr. Right? I’m sure most women have kissed their fair share of frogs, so we inevitably start asking ourselves, “Where’s my prince?” Well, Mr. Perfect Prince Charming is busy playing cards with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
Frog or Prince, the main thing is to be with someone who loves you and respects you for who you are. Most importantly, remember that you are your own princess and you can find happiness in any form. You make your happiness and it does not depend on Prince Charming. You are the owner and guardian of your Kingdom and you make your own rules.
On the theme of romance and fantasy, say hello to the good old chubby Cupid this Valentine’s season, hoping he will help fill your life with love. Let his arrow point in any direction you choose!
Do you think fairy tales affect our views on life and love?
Check out the Aim to Be Coaching blog for more articles by Ana Antunes da Silva. You will be able to get the full experience with images etc. as well as sign up for a FREE Coaching session