10 Things Every Modern Woman Can Learn from Cinderella
Fairy tales don't always go over well with the modern-day woman. We don't necessarily like the idea of a man riding in on a white horse to save the day. Though I've never really seen Cinderella as much of a damsel in distress, and perhaps that is why she was always my favorite of the Disney princesses - above anything else I always saw her as a kind person who worked hard and got what she deserved in the end. Isn't that something we all want? To know that our hard work and all of our struggles will one day pay off? When I saw the new live-action remake of the classic fairy tale, I was reminded of all the reasons why I love this story and why I idolized Cinderella so much when I was a child. Damsel in distress or not, there are quite a few lessons to be learned from this Disney princess. / All images courtesy of Disney.
1. She looked on the bright side.
Sent to the cold attic so her step sisters could have more room, Cinderella saw the good in her bad situation. Instead of focusing on the negative, she enjoyed the peace and quite that the attic offered. I talk a lot about perspective here on the blog, because I've come to find that it is essential to lasting happiness. Bad things happen, unfair things happen. That part of life never goes away, and sometimes you have to focus very hard on the positive parts of a situation so you can make it through.
2. She was unfailingly generous.
I think generosity is an undervalued quality in the modern age. We're all about finding self-fulfillment and success. In the new Cinderella movie, the fairy godmother first appeared to Ella as an old woman in rags who is hungry. Cinderella could've shrugged her off, but amidst her terrible evening, just having her dress torn to shreds by her stepmother, she took the time to care about someone else.
3. She knew the importance of friendship.
Granted her bffs were rodents and birds, but she had a lot of love to give, so she gave it to the kindest creatures she knew. With ever-increasing social media, it can be hard to reach out one-on-one and to be real with people, but we all need someone to talk to. We need those connections in order to thrive.
4. She worked hard and didn't complain.
When her father died, and her stepmother had to let the household staff go, all of the work was left to Cinderella. But she didn't complain. She simply did it, because it needed to be done. Sometimes our workload isn't fair. We may feel as if we have to work ten times harder to get the same results as someone else, but hey, life isn't fair. Just focus on yourself and do what you need to do. Hard work and persistence are two things that almost always pay off in the end.
5. She knew when to hold her tongue.
I'm often mistaken for being non-confrontational, and I suppose I am. I've come to learn that it is a strength, not a weakness. If I know that discussing an issue with someone is futile, then I don't waste my energy on it. The modern woman is constantly encouraged to speak up for herself, but we have to be wise about when and how we do it. You have to be able to think a few steps ahead and ask yourself, "What will confronting this person accomplish?" Cinderella was highly aware of her situation and knew that speaking up at the time would've just gotten her more ridicule and an even heavier workload. She waited until she had nothing left to lose to give that wicked stepmother a piece of her mind.
6. She didn't let her sadness break her spirit.
There was a moment in the new Cinderella movie towards the end when she could've just given up both mentally and emotionally. She was in tune with those feelings and allowed herself to be sad, but she was determined to not let it overtake her.
7. She never stopped dreaming.
Whenever I sat on my dad's lap as a child, I would ask him, "What do you want? If you could have everything you've ever dreamed of, what would it be?"
He would always answer, "I wouldn't want to get every single thing I want, because then there wouldn't be anything left to dream about."
Of course I didn't understand that until I got older and life became a little harder. This quality is in part how Cinderella was able to keep her sadness from overtaking her. Sometimes, especially whenever we have very few things to stay positive about, it's the dreaming that gets us to the next place. You never know what is around the corner, and the truth is, sometimes we have no reason to think anything good will come anytime soon, but we have to have faith. "No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true." What a great song.
8. She knew how to comfort herself.
She didn't need a man to make her happy, because she already was. She simply happened to meet the man of her dreams. Can't fault a girl for that! When her step sisters hurt her so much that she probably wanted to punch them both in the face, she hopped on her horse and took off into the wind - not to go off and cry but to get some release. We all need temporary relief from stress in our lives. Find out what those things are and use them as tools whenever you feel overwhelmed. This helps avoid the negative self talk of "how am I going to get through this??" It turns that internal dialogue into a more rational voice that says, "I know I can't change my situation right now, and I can't change the people who are hurting me, but I can do things today to boost my mood." You have to put yourself in charge of your own happiness.
9. She went for it.
When her fairy godmother came and turned a pumpkin into a carriage, she could've been like, "Whaaaa?! No thank you, fairy Godmother. Please take your crazy somewhere else." But she didn't have time to think or question. It was time for the ball! So she hopped her butt into that pumpkin and got to that ball. Timing in life is never perfect, and opportunities often arise when we aren't quite ready. Sometimes we just have to go for it!
10. She followed her heart.
In this age when products are finely tuned to our specific wants and needs, it can be all too easy to take this approach to dating and love. It's easy to have an attitude of, "I love you, but there are a few things I'm just not sure about."
But here's the thing with waiting to find the "perfect" person. When you've been in a long-term relationship (and by long-term, I mean at least 5 years), you go through enough to know that challenges come in and out of our lives whether we plan on it or not. You can wait for everything to seem perfect on paper and have all of your ducks in a row with someone, and then what? If you're together long enough, something will come along to challenge that, whether it be financial issues, health issues, or whatever. The only way to make it through those times is to do so with someone you trust, someone who is kind, someone you respect, and someone with whom you can communicate and connect with. If that someone comes in a nice package and makes your heart race, well, even better! If they also come with a castle, hey that's nice too!
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