Why Fairytales Are Good For Grown Ups.

7 Nov

“To be attracted to or repelled by a fairy tale indicates that the story contains something that resonates with an unconscious process in the reader or listener, for one cannot be attracted or repelled unless one recognizes something that is personally meaningful.” -Meredith B Mitchell.

Fairytales parallel common human conditions. They resonate deep within us in emotionally creative ways and invite us into illogical, impractical, unrealistic, wonderful and terrifying worlds where good opposes evil, magic exists, and animals transform into people.

Because a fairytale is a story with a simple plot, stereotypical characters, universal themes, with elements of ideas and imagery from a vast array of human experiences that we can identify with, they are a perfect and safe playground for us to explore our own thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Fairytales tell us all about all kinds of relationships. Just look at the relationship between Goldilocks and The Three Bears. Simplistically, Goldilocks was self obsessed and went after comfort for herself, at the expense of others. The Three Bears could have destroyed her, but they chose to chase her away and probably grieve and rebuild once she left. Would we have been so compassionate in their shoes/paws? How about The Three Little Pigs? Would you have banded together with your brothers and collectively planned a safe building which lived up to council regulations and ensured no baddies could enter? Or would you have enjoyed the chaos and drama and more survivalist way they went about things? The mass murder of wives in Bluebeard is not something anyone would consciously invite, but I couldn’t help thinking about this tale when I heard on the radio this week that a 25 year old just said yes to marrying a 72 year old. What must they both have to sacrifice? Money? Honesty? Authenticity?

Greed, lust, kindness, compassion, magic, you name it, fairytales have it all.

Perhaps the reason why fairytales are so good for us as grown ups is that they make us privately and quietly face the truth about ourselves and what we identify with. Therein lies the magic of transformation and growth.

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