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10 Things Fairy Tales Do Not Tell About Life

10 Things Fairy Tales Do Not Tell About Life

With the new live action Cinderella set to impress audiences, fairy tales have been on people’s minds. They remind us of our childhoods, and of the hopes that they had inspired in us.

Many fairy tales have a dark and horrific history that have been altered for people to enjoy. In a Huffpost article, it discusses the disturbing truths of some of our favorite tales, including one of the most popular: Snow White. It’s believed that the tale was actually based on the life of Margarete von Waldeck. Her brother used small children for mining, and after they became deformed, a man would serve poisoned fruit to the children who he believed had stolen from him.

Margarete’s step-mother was also evil in her own way: she was jealous of Margarete’s beauty and sent her away, where she had a love affair with Prince Philip II of Spain. She was then poisoned because of the affair. Sound familiar? This awful history was altered to be sold as a more pleasant tale.

However, when these tales were changed, they may have become more pleasing to listen to, but they also left out some important life lessons.

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1. There’s Not Always Someone There to Rescue You

In almost all fairy tales, someone is there to save the main character: The hunter saves Red Riding Hood and Fairy Godmother helps to rescue Cinderella. But what these tales don’t teach us is that occasionally, we have to save ourselves. Sometimes in life we will get ourselves into a bind, but it will be up to us use our own strength to pull ourselves out again.

2. We Won’t Always Sing While We Work

When Snow White and her dwarf friends sing songs that include lyrics like, “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go,” and “Just whistle while you work”—as well as all of the singing Cinderella does while she finishes her house work—we learned that singing helps you get through the work day.

While that true on some days, what fairy tales don’t tell us is that some days, even the cheeriest song can’t make the things go easier. When workers, bosses and customers are stressing us, we can feel more like screaming our way through work than singing.

3. Everyday Will Not Be a Perfect Hair Day

There’s a common trait that almost all fairy tale characters seem to share: They are always looking perfect. Whether it’s in movies or pictures in storybooks, everyone looks good, no matter what is happening in their lives. However, that’s not always true in real life.

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There will be many many days when you feel less than beautiful or perfect, when your hair is looking like something a bird flew out of and your makeup is non-existent. It’s ok to be looking less than perfect, we don’t need to look like a Princess 24/7. We just need to let our inner beauty shine.

4. Beauty Comes In Every Shape

Along with perfect hair, the main characters of fairy tales are often depicted as the perfect shape. While there’s nothing wrong with these pictures and movies, since they are for entertainment, we need to know when we get older that there is nothing wrong with not being a size 2.

It’s a lesson that girls especially have to take to heart for as long as we can. We don’t need to feel bad if we don’t have the waist of Belle. Pictures are just pictures. We need to embrace who we are as a person and let our looks not get us down.

5. “Ugly” Doesn’t Mean Evil

The “ugly” people in fairy tales tend to be evil. Of course that’s just to show us the difference in characters. But it can sometimes teach us that ugly is bad. Which of course isn’t true. Your outer appearance has nothing to do with what kind of person you are. Beautiful of not, it’s up to you how you live your life.

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6. Life Can Still Be Good With a Step-Family

Did anyone ever notice how many how many step-families are evil in fairy tales? It can almost makes you think you’re doomed to unhappiness if you belong to a this kind of family. But what we need to learn is that, while yes, blending families can be extremely difficult,it won’t be all bad. With hard work and effort, blended families can be pretty great. They can be chaotic and fun and full of love.

7. Sometimes You Need to Be Tough Instead of Sweet

Fairy tales tend to have main characters who are kind, sweet and gentle. And while that works for creating stories with lovable characters, it doesn’t always work for real life. There are times in life where being sweet and kind isn’t going to get you far. Sometimes, you need to bring a little toughness, a little can of whoop-ass to the table to get things done or to get what you need. And those days shouldn’t make you feel bad, but, rather, they should make you feel strong.

8. Balancing Work and Play

In the famous tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper, we learn that hard work gets us ahead in life. But what also needs to be taught is that the grasshopper wasn’t all wrong. Too much work will make life pass you buy. Without any playing or enjoyment, there’s not much point of living. You need to balance work with play. So go ahead and get the work done, but don’t forget to take breaks and enjoy the life around you.

9. The Past Can’t Always be Undone

In tales like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, life resumes as normal after the curses are lifted. But that’s not always true. There are times in life where we can reverse what’s been done, but there are many times in life where what’s been done can not be undone. Learning that our actions, whether good or bad, can be permanent—that there’s not always a “do over”—is important. It makes us take responsibilities for what we do.

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10. Bad Things Do Happen from Time to Time

We all know the famous saying, “And they Lived Happily Ever After.” Every fairy tales ends this way, and it makes us feel very god inside. But life doesn’t always have a happily ever after.

Bad things really can and do happen. Our hearts do break, we lose people we love, and we have to cope with the pain that real life brings. While it’s wonderful to live in these tales to enjoy the “happily ever afters,” it’s important that we learn that real life doesn’t always turn out that way.

Fairy tales are fun, happy and enjoyable. And while there are many things we can learn from fairy tales, there’s also a lot of life lessons that these fairy tales don’t teach us about. But that’s ok—we’ll continue to love these fairy tales for generations to come. And the other life lessons? We’ll figure them out along the way.

Featured photo credit: JANIE via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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