There is no perfect life. The word “perfect” in itself sets us up for complete failure in our everyday lives. I learned an expression years ago, “The enemy of great is perfect.” This means that while we are so busy looking for perfection, we overlook when something is just plain good or great.
Life is not a fairytale — besides…fairytales are not exactly as great, looking back, as we thought when we were kids.
Let’s take a closer peek…
If you take a good look at fairytales a little deeper, you’re going to realize that they weren’t so perfect after all.
While Prince Charming always seemed so great – handsome, successful, good hair – obviously there was no follow-up or gauge on how the happy couple really wound up once life became reality. So technically we only have a sneak peak at their ‘romantic’ phase and nothing more.
The women depicted in our lovely fairytales of yesteryears, in actuality, had very twisted and imperfect lives.
Take Snow White, for example. She had a narcissistic, insecure, homicidal stepmother who actually put a ‘hit’ on her own stepdaughter because of her deep jealousy.
How about Cinderella…Cinderella had an emotionally and verbally abusive stepmother, along with stepsisters who ridiculed her shamelessly and worked her like a slave. In today’s world, Cinderella would have been a ward of the state and taken out of her home on first-degree child abuse charges and put into foster care.
Even in Rumpelstiltskin…the father, in order to attract a wealthy man for his daughter, lies about her talents of spinning gold out of straw and basically sells her to the highest bidder (which happened to be the King). In today’s world, I think we could call this um… child slave labor or underage prostitution!!!
Alas…in the midst of all their family drama, the Prince always comes along to save the day.
So basically we have three different fairytales where the Prince is the hero – but we overlook the family drama and abuse that surrounds these girls. We overlook the imperfection of their lives and focus only on the ending. This is what sets girls up for failure. We believe that if we don’t have that happy ending, we are not okay. The focus is so much on the meeting of the Prince, that we have overlooked everything else in the story — all of our lives.
We don’t realize when we are young and impressionable and reading these stories before bed that meeting the Prince doesn’t save us. It just adds a new dimension to our lives.
This brings me to today.
First of all, there is no perfect Prince. In fact, usually the higher up they are in the kingdom makes for a bigger pain in the royal tuchas (Yiddish for butt). There are wonderful men out there, but certainly they all have faults just as we women do. Romantic relationships can add wonderful joy to your life – but they can’t be your only focus. I always tell people to focus on a purpose, not a person.
Secondly, falling in love does not take away the burdens and stress of everyday life. Meeting a man doesn’t save you. So despite what fairytales say… women have it all already. They have the ability to save themselves.
Preparing young women to be their own “saviors” should start in childhood. Historically, gender often determined where interests were steered towards in school. Girls were ushered toward nursing, while boys were steered toward being doctors. Women, paralegals, and men, lawyers. Luckily, those days are gone, and women can achieve greatness in any field, including engineering, medicine, technology and law. It is with education that women can create a strong foundation for their future.
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in love! I just believe that teaching girls to wait for Prince Charming to come along and rescue them is a very bad concept. Don’t be damsels in distress; be the answer to your own fairytale. Create your own happy ending where the heroine goes to graduate school, has a fabulous career, meets a great guy or doesn’t, has great friends and is self-sufficient.
I guess what I am trying to convey is that life is not a Disney film and it does not always play out the way we imagined it would.
It is important to know that we can write our own script, buy our own glass slippers and still live happily ever after.
Until next time,
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The Buddha Team