Today’s episode is about a classic fairy tale we’ve been getting wrong for years: Cinderella.
As a child, you probably watched the animated Disney movie and thought the lesson was clear: Prince Charming rescues Cinderella from a life of servitude, and they live happily ever after. But I recently watched this movie with my nieces, and I started to question whether that’s really the message we should be taking away from this story.
I didn’t see Cinderella as a weak damsel in distress. I saw her as someone who was dealt and bad hand. I saw her as a strong, resourceful, and determined young woman who refused to let her circumstances define her. She dreamed big. She had goals and was willing to do whatever it took to make them a reality.
In this episode, I’m going to explore some of the life lessons we can learn from Cinderella’s story and what they can teach us about saving ourselves. Because the reality is we can’t wait around for someone else to come and rescue us. We must take ownership of our lives and circumstances, just like Cinderella did.
So if you’re ready, let’s dive in and learn how Cinderella saved herself and how we can do the same.
Hot Take – Prince Charming Did Not Rescue Cinderella
Cinderella saved herself. This is not hyperbole. This is a fact, and it’s demonstrated throughout the movie. There are 4 majors lessons that my adult brain picked up that i hadn’t noticed before.
Lesson #1 – Cinderella remained focused on what she wanted rather than her current reality.
Despite her difficult circumstances, Cinderella stayed focused on her dream and ultimate desire to attend the royal ball. She didn’t allow herself to become bogged down in the negativity of her current reality. I commend her because her evil stepmother and step sisters acted truly awful toward her. It wasn’t just a few isolated instances; they were the worst throughout the entire movie. Instead, Cinderella kept her sights set on what she wanted. This helped her to stay motivated and take action toward her goals.
How many times have you faced something challenging and given up out of frustration? Probably, at least a time or two. I saw this as a reminder to be relentless about what you want. You can’t let challenges and setbacks deter you. Your current reality is not a crystal ball predicting your future reality. If you don’t let it become one.
Lesson #2 – Cinderella was incredibly resourceful.
When faced with the challenge of not having a gown for the ball, she didn’t give up or resign herself to her fate. Instead, she got creative and used the resources she had available to her. Calling on her mice friends to help her make a gown and using bits and baubles from around the house.
This reminded me of something I say to my clients quite a bit, “Stop looking for solutions from a place of lack. Start with what you have and where you are.” Sometimes the solution to our problems is right in front of us – we just need to think differently about our available resources. How can you leverage what you already have to create what you need?
Lesson #3 – Cinderella had faith.
Cinderella’s faith is a powerful force throughout the movie. She believes that her circumstances can change, even when everything around her seems to be working against her. The appearance of her fairy godmother is a physical manifestation of her faith. This isn’t my speculation. Her fairy godmother confirms this when they meet.
Crying and heartbroken after her stepmother and stepsisters destroy the gown she made, Cinderella tearfully declares, “There’s nothing left to believe in.” To which her fairy godmother replies, “If you’d lost all your faith, I couldn’t be here. And here I am!”
Despite the many challenges she faced, within her lived a tiny spark of faith that things could get better. This is a reminder that we need to hold onto our faith, even in the face of difficulty or uncertainty. When we believe that good things are possible, we open ourselves up to new opportunities and possibilities.
Lesson #4 – Cinderella clearly articulates how she needed help and why.
One final lesson we can learn from Cinderella is the importance of clearly articulating our needs and desires. Cinderella doesn’t just sit around hoping that someone will rescue her – she takes action and asks for help when she needs it. This help came from her mice friends and then her fairy godmother.
We don’t have to go it alone, and asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It’s also a reminder that we will get the best results if we are clear about how others can help us. Stop treating offers of help as if helping you is a burden. Be bold and clear about what you need. By clearly articulating our needs and desires, we can get the support and assistance we need to make positive changes in our lives.
Taking Ownership of Your Life
My biggest takeaway from Cinderella is the importance of taking ownership of our lives and circumstances. As we saw in the story, Cinderella didn’t wait around for someone else to come and rescue her from her difficult situation. Instead, she knew what she wanted and was willing to do the work to make it happen.
And that’s really the key lesson here. The work of changing your circumstances begins with you. No one can save you until you try to save yourself.
Taking ownership means recognizing that we are in control of our lives and have the power to make positive changes. We can’t wait for external validation or assistance. We must take the first step ourselves and seek the support and guidance we need to keep moving forward.
Of course, this isn’t always easy. This can be scary, especially if we’ve been stuck in a negative situation for a long time. It’s easy to feel like we don’t have any control over our lives and that we’re just victims of circumstance. But the truth is, we always have the power to make a change – we just have to be willing to take ownership and do the work.
We become more proactive and empowered when we take ownership of our lives. We start to focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t. We become more resilient and better able to handle setbacks and challenges. And ultimately, we create the life we truly want rather than waiting for someone else to do it for us.
We can’t rely on other people to rescue us – we have to be the ones to rescue ourselves.
So what steps can we take toward saving ourselves?
Take ownership of your life and circumstances.
This means recognizing that we have agency and power to create the life we want rather than waiting for someone else to come and rescue us. It’s about being proactive rather than reactive and taking action toward our goals and dreams.
Shift your mindset from a victim mentality to one of empowerment and self-efficacy.
Cinderella was a victim but didn’t act with a victim mentality. Recognize that we are not powerless in the face of our circumstances. We have the ability to make choices and take steps toward creating a better life. It’s about cultivating a sense of agency and control over our lives rather than feeling at the mercy of external forces.
Build resilience and develop coping strategies.
Saving ourselves is not always easy, and setbacks and challenges will pop up along the way. That’s why it’s important to build resilience and develop coping strategies to handle these difficulties. This might include practices such as mindfulness, self-compassion, and seeking support from loved ones or a mental health professional. By developing these skills, we can better handle the ups and downs of life.
Have faith that the ‘how’ will work itself out.
Finally, it’s important to have faith that the ‘how’ of achieving our goals will work itself out if we keep doing the work. This doesn’t mean being passive or waiting for things to happen, but rather having faith in our ability to make progress and achieve our goals over time. It’s about trusting in the process, even when we don’t know exactly how things will unfold. This faith allows us to stay motivated and committed, even when the road ahead feels uncertain.
So if you’re feeling stuck or unhappy in your current circumstances, remember that you have the power to make a change. It might not be easy, and it might not happen overnight, but with focus, determination, and a willingness to act, you can rescue yourself and create the life you truly want.
Affirmations for Saving Yourself
Affirmations are a simple yet powerful way to tap into your conscious and unconscious mind to motivate, challenge, and push you to reach your full potential in life. We can recite affirmations about empowerment and self-efficacy to kickstart that mindset shift out of victim mentality. It might not seem like much, but believing in yourself and your capabilities is key to changing your circumstances.
Here is a list of empowering affirmations for you to practice:
I am capable of creating the life I want.
I am in control of my own life and my own choices.
I trust in my own abilities to overcome obstacles and challenges.
I choose to focus on positive thoughts and beliefs about myself and my future.
I am strong and resilient and can handle whatever comes my way.
I am confident in my ability to make positive changes in my life.
I am proud of my progress and excited for what’s to come.
Tiny Action Now
This is your tiny action. Pick 2 or 3 affirmations from my list. Or write your own. For the next week, commit to saying these affirmations daily. Make them easy to remember by writing them on Post-Its or notecards. Display them in different locations. Say them out loud whenever you see them.
Did I convince you to revisit Cinderella and look for new lessons? The story of Cinderella isn’t about a downtrodden young woman hoping to be rescued. It really is a masterclass in staying focused on what you want despite your current reality, being resourceful, having faith, and articulating your needs.
The overarching lesson is about taking ownership of our lives and circumstances and not waiting for someone else to rescue us. Because the work of changing our circumstances really does begin with us. You have the power. So use it.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode. Do you agree? Am I completely off base? Is there a different lesson that you took away from Cinderella?