We rarely give a second thought to the stories of our childhood. Fairytales, religious myths, favorite books, legend, lore, or those that just seemed to be “in the water” — the stories of our family, our culture, the systems and structures within which we lived.
But in not thinking about them – and with intention – we are prone to repeat the messages hidden within, often unwittingly, over and over again, no matter how many years have passed since those stories were told. The plots, the protagonists, the antagonists, and the morals/messages remain in our psyche, our way of viewing our world, our very DNA.
Cinderella. One of my favorite stories growing up – specifically, the Rodgers and Hammerstein version that played on TV only once a year.
- You can always count on something magical to make everything better.
- Everything is better when you are pursued and chosen by a prince.
- Yes, you feel forgotten, misunderstood, and unseen, but that will change when a prince sees you for who you truly are.
- Yes, you’re sitting by the cinders, put upon and all alone, but it’s just a matter of time before your fate completely turns around.
- When you are beautiful, everything changes.
- Happily Ever After is a thing.
Underneath each of those, exist a few more:
- Look outside yourself for answers, solutions, and the life you long for.
- Being chosen by a prince (translate: man) is the penultimate goal; it gives your life meaning and value.
- Just keep hoping and wishing for things to get better.
- Buy the makeup, the clothes, play the part: you’ll be noticed, valued, and loved.
- When you are beautiful, everything changes (Wow, does this one embed!)
- There is a “someday” that will solve every problem, heal every hurt, and make you whole.
Made manifest in my life:
- I don’t trust my own wisdom.
- I see marriage (and the man) as the goal, the aspiration, the answer; he determines my value and worth, my lovability, even my beauty.
- When things don’t change, I’m convinced that’s because I’m not pretty enough, thin enough, beautiful enough, perfect enough.
- Because, after all, if I were beautiful, everything would change!
- I chase the promise of Happily Ever After through relationships, jobs, money, courses and programs, shopping, you name it. I can’t settle into and be satisfied with who I am.
This is but one example! Clearly, I could go through the very same process with Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and Eve (which I have done, many times).
The stories you’ve been told, even if they were many, many years ago, lodge themselves in your understanding of self, your understanding of the world around you.
You don’t have to think directly about Cinderella to have her show up in your deepest beliefs, your most painful insecurities, or your hopes for your future. (Bibbidi, bobbidi, boop!)
I have no critique of Cinderella. In fact, years later, I watched the Disney version of the musical with my girls — over and over again. Brandy replaced Leslie Anne Warren, Whoopie Goldberg played the queen, and Bernadette Peters was the wicked stepmother. It’s less about the story itself and more about a closer look at ourselves via the stories.
When you name and acknowledge the stories you’ve been told, you can unravel them enough to then proactively weave the story you desire and deserve.
Consciously. Intentionally. With agency and sovereignty and will.
You are shaped by the stories you’ve been told. Fairytales. Bedtime stories. Bible stories. Disney. Nickelodeon. Netflix. Novels. Around-the-table talk of family. The over-story of your predominant culture (patriarchy, racism, misogyny, colonialism, capitalism, etc.)
Knowing them, looking at them, and then choosing what serves and what does not, makes all the difference. The stories that make you you are worth your every effort. YOU are worth your every effort! Always.
I believe that the stories we’ve been told (and the ones we tell ourselves) are almost single-handedly responsible for sovereignty’s absence. Its presence is what you deserve. Join me for SOVEREIGNTY — my live, 9-week program.
All the details are here. Registration closes on 9/6/21.
This program was way more and way better and way deeper healing than I knew to ask for. Though I had an idea it would be awesome, what I got was a gift I didn’t know to ask for, much less receive. I’m so grateful I said, “yes.” ~ Sheri M.
SOVEREIGNTY was a “yes” for me because I wanted the opportunity to learn from Ronna. The most valuable impact from the 9 weeks was being able to acknowledge that in many, many ways I already am sovereign; that I contain all the necessary components. ~ Jennie Alexis, Values Leader