Learning From the Princesses: Cinderella

“Ella continued to see the world not as it is, but as it could be if only you believe in courage and kindness and occasionally just a little bit… of magic.” – Cinderella (2015)

You may think that the Disney Princess movies are unrealistic fairy tales, but I believe those princesses have grasped some truths that I need in my life.

So, let’s talk about Cinderella. I love the classic movie, but the 2015 version blows my mind. It took all the themes that I love about Cinderella and made them stronger and more impactful. A glorious movie!

All Disney princesses display reckless optimism and never-ending hope. They choose to think best-case scenario, even though you as the viewer can see how naive it is. As Tyler Knott Gregson expressed, “I do not believe that is a more dangerous and destructive force in the world than Hope, but I do not believe there is more necessary or perfectly beautiful one either.” Hope may seem like a flimsy thing, but I believe it has immense power. Choosing joy and hope in hopeless circumstances changes your world/the world. Those with the most hope will have the most influence, right?

The other thing Cinderella does, which goes against the natural human tendency, is to honor and love her step-mother and step-sisters, not matter how they treat her. She behaves like this Tumblr post:

Cross Oceans 2

Obviously I’m not advocating letting people abuse you. What I’m talking about is taking the time to figure out what love looks like in that moment, rather than just jumping to the conclusion that you should “stand up for yourself,” that kind of stand up for yourself which means you can trample over other people to do so. I love how Cinderella’s selfless love doesn’t save her step-family. Sometimes that love does change everything. Sometimes people are too hard. They get to make their own choice in how to respond. Whether being a loving and honoring person changes the other peoples lives or not, it is worth it because it defines your character. “Have courage and be kind” defines Cinderella. She carries that spirit with her, and it draws the attention of royalty.

What I love most about Cinderella is how she shows that being kind, gentle, feminine, tender, and loving is strength. She carries herself like a princess even when doing hard labor. She knows her worth and identity even when the people around her do not treat her like it. Because she knows who she is, she is able to speak with kings and princes without fear or shame. She has the dignity we all wish for, without being hard, mean or condescending.

My little brother has taken to calling out to me as I leave for work “Have courage and be kind!”  That’s a reminder I need every day. I am so excited that Disney told the story of a girl who behaves that way, which I can one day share with my daughters.

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