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Life is a Fairytale… Here’s the Proof

Life is a Fairytale… Here’s the Proof

Once upon a time, a reader stumbled upon beautiful pictures of faraway lands. There were ornate castles on hilltops with towers and spires that touched the sky. There were fortresses surrounded by moats and drawbridges to keep the residents safe. There was a castle built over a river and another perched like a bird, high above the sea. They saw a photograph of one of the seven wonders of the world and read how it was a romantic tribute to lost love. The reader longed to visit these magnificent sites, but for now, they would have to use their imagination to travel to these enticing destinations.

If you long to see magical castles that look like they were pulled from the pages of a fairy tale, we have hand-picked 15 for you. Because, once in awhile, in the middle of an ordinary day, fairy tales do come true. Happily ever after is out there — where will you find yours?

1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

    Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It’s called the “Fairy Tale” castle because it is said to have inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom.

    2. Chateau de Chenonceau, France

    Chenonceau France

      Chenonceau boasts five arches spanning over the Cher river in France. Called the “Ladies Castle” because it was built and later improved upon by queens of France.

      3. Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

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      Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

        One of thirteen small monasteries or “tiger’s lairs” where the Guru Rinpoche, also known as the “Second Buddha” of Bhutan, is said to have meditated.

        4. Notre Dame Cathedral, France

        Notre Dame France

          The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is the setting for the story The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world.

          5. Blarney Castle, Ireland

          Blarney Castle Ireland

            This historic castle is most famous for its stone, which has the traditional power of conferring eloquence on all who kiss it.

            6. Chateau de Chambord, France

            Chateau de Chambord, France

              Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley and was never completed.

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              7. Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

              Dunrobin Castle Scotland

                The Castle of the Earldom of Sutherland — one of the seven ancient earldoms of Scotland.

                8. The Swallow’s Nest Castle, Ukraine

                Swallow's Nest Castle, Ukraine

                  The neo-Gothic Swallow’s Nest castle was built by a German noble in 1912 and perches 130 feet above the Black Sea near Yalta in southern Ukraine.

                  9. Bodiam Castle, England

                  Bodiam Castle, England

                    Bodiam Castle was built from 1385 and is surrounded on all sides by a moat.

                    10. Eltz Castle, Germany

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                    Eltz Castle, Germany

                      The Eltz Castle is surrounded on three sides by a river and is still owned by the same family that lived there in the 12th century, 33 generations ago.

                      11. Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

                      Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

                        The Alcazar of Segovia is built upon a large rock promontory, which is shaped like the bow of a ship. This castle is also said to have inspired Disney’s Cinderella castle.

                        12. Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

                        Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

                          One of the most recognized castles in Scotland and most popular visitor attractions in the Highlands.

                          13. Corvin Castle, Romania

                          Corvin Castle, Romania

                            The castle has a well 30 meters deep. Legend says that the fountain was dug by 12 Turkish prisoners, promised liberty if they reached water. However, when they did just that 15 years later, their captors did not keep their promise.

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                            14. Prague Castle, Czech Republic

                            Prague Castle, Czech Republic

                              According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world.

                              15. Taj Mahal, India

                              Taj Mahal, India

                                One of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife of three, Mumtaz Mahal.

                                These are just a few of the fairytale destinations the world has to offer. If you could leave today, where would you go first?

                                Featured photo credit: Phil Dolby via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                                How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                                We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                                So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                                Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                                What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                                Boundaries are limits

                                —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                                Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                                Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                                Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                                Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                                How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                                Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                                1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                                Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                                You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                                To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                                You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                                • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                                • When do you feel disrespected?
                                • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                                • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                                • When do you want to be alone?
                                • How much space do you need?

                                You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                                2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                                Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                                Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                                3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                                Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                                That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                                Sample language:

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                                • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                                • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                                • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                                • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                                • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                                • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                                • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                                Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                                4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                                Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                                Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                                Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                                We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                                It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                                It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                                Final Thoughts

                                Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                                Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                                Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                                The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                                Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                                Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                                They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                                Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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