What’s your favorite fairy tale and what does it mean for you?
I want to raise your awareness on your favorite fairy tale or novel that impressed you in your childhood, and the connection to you right now.
Let me explain. Since the age of 18 I’ve been reading psychology books and, thanks to my sister, I came across Transactional Analysis, which is widely recognised form of modern psychology that involves a set of tools designed to promote personal growth and change.
The analysis of the games that people play at present can reveal what beliefs from childhood they still carry around with them now and how they use these games to justify their current behaviour.
So I came across this thing where discussing about my favourite fairy tale revealed beliefs I carried with me as an adult and how I used these games to justify my current behaviour.
I’ll give you an example. My favourite story from my childhood is The Little Match Girl. I was absolutely in awe of that book. My friends had it, and every time I’d visit them, I’d pick it up and read away, look at the pictures, and read again. To me, as a child, it was enchanting.
When, much later, I discovered the psychological meaning of The Little Match Girl, and I was shocked.
The Little Match Girl is about a dying child’s dreams and hopes. It’s set in the Victorian era where poverty was everywhere, and sadly, the girl in the book dies at the end.
Luckily, in my imagination I never saw the girl dying. In my eyes she had the magical power that made her wishes come true, which is what pulled me to the story in the first place.
I’ll tell you another one. Remember Thumbelina? What do you think she was doing in the story?
She left the house to find her Prince. And before finding him she ended up being manipulated by many ‘mean people’ and she even had to marry one and be his wife, remember? Before the Prince came and saved her. What do you think a woman with Thumbelina as her favorite story would say now?
And what about Little Red Riding Hood? She was warned about the big bad wolf, and of course, she found him. What does that mean? Are any of your previous partners reminding you of the big bad wolf?
It’s strange and sometimes hard to see the life we’ve woven for ourselves; the ties that bind us are never ending.
Not every story is bad, but every story has a meaning.
Remember, it’s the lifelong learning that makes us able to un-plait those threads and loosen the knots from our past.
Now try to remember your favourite childhood story, and then find the psychological meaning behind it. What would you discover? Something deep inside yourself that you knew all along? Something perplexing and new? Or something shocking?
Do tell me. I’d love to know.
Fairy Tales Examples
Here are a few fairy tales / stories that could help you understand what I’m talking about. Please note that I am not a trained psychologist and therefore do take this at face value. More importantly, do your own research into your favorite story (there are lots of resources on Google). I have done mine because it was my story and I’m always interested to read different interpretations of it out there.
I’m sure you’ll do the same for your story, if you think it’s relevant.
A story where a woman is beautiful, graceful, polite, supportive, hardworking, independent, and maligned by the females of her society, but she is not capable of changing her situations with her own actions and must be helped by an outside force, usually a male (i.e. the Prince).
The Cinderella Complex is very dependent on men for emotional and financial purposes. If this is your favourite fairy tale, can you see your life reflecting the story?
Rapunzel from Tangled is kept in a tower by her supposed mother Gothel for her entire life. Rapunzel seems to have borderline personality disorder, often a result of a parent invalidating or disqualifying experiences of his or her child.
But what does Rapunzel do all day?
Nothing. Rapunzel does nothing. Instead of making an escape plan, she sits and waits for life to begin, for Prince Charming to come, climb to the top of her tower and rescue her. In other words, Rapunzel isn’t leaving until someone makes her.
If this is your favourite fairy tale, can you see your life reflecting the story?
The Tiger That Came to Tea
A story of a tiger that invites himself to tea and eats and drinks all the food and water in the little girl’s house. He then leaves, never to return.
Does it remind you of someone coming into your life, taking all you have and causing havoc only to leave as fast as they came?
Peter Pan is the boy who won’t grow up. Does that accurately describe a person in your life? It’s characterized by emotional immaturity and an unwillingness to take on responsibilities. It is more common in men than in women (who can suffer from “Wendy Syndrome,” i.e. acting like mothers to their partners and others).
Alexandra’s background is in lecturing, coaching and communications breakthrough. She is an Emotional Intelligence Analyst and an NLP Master Practitioner. In her daily work she empowers and motivates women so they can succeed, grow and achieve extraordinary results for themselves.