Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Cinderella's story is well-known. Although she is living like a slave with her stepmother and two stepsisters, she endures the abuse with a peaceful detachment. She is kind and humble. Through many magical events, she is united with the love of her life and lives happily ever after as the queen. Even after she receives it all (love, fame, power, wealth), she doesn't gloat about it. Instead, she invites her stepmother and stepsisters to live with her in the castle. Cinderella doesn't seem jaded by all her adversity. She embodies beauty, and she sees beauty all around her.
Well, this is definitely a fairy-tale! If I was in Cinderella's shoes (maybe not that glass slipper) I know that I would have developed quite a different mindset. I can imagine adopting the following beliefs:
Life is unfair and dangerous.
I need to stay in line or I'll get hurt.
I am more beautiful (or kind, aware, enlightened, smart) than these other people.
People are going to hurt, exclude, or sabotage me.
I don't have any power.
I need someone to love me, and rescue me.
We have all developed constricting beliefs like these over our lifetimes, and we adopted many of them to help us feel safe. But these beliefs can also be limiting. They reinforce perceptions of separation, hierarchy, and fear, and when we have these beliefs it is often hard to recognize the connection, equality, and love that also exist in our world.
When we take the time to notice our constricting beliefs and behaviors, we open up an opportunity to move forward in a more expanded and uplifted way. This process is not as easy as waving a magic wand, and it can take some work. But it is possible, and it is worth it.