How Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ Provides the Key to Happiness

It is no surprise that Disney’s live-action “Cinderella” topped the box office in its opening weekend, bringing in $70 million in the U.S. Not only do movie fans love the Disney classic, but everyone loves a good fairy tale.

Disney has had great success in live-action fairytale adaptations with “Maleficent” and “Into the Woods,” so it is no surprise that “Cinderella” is winning the favor of viewers.

In this new version of the classic tale, we not only see that Cinderella has a tremendous amount of kindness and courage, as her interaction with Gus-Gus and Jaq showed us in the animated version, but we are also reminded of this through numerous moments where she tells herself to be “kind and courageous,” as her mother taught her.

Photo Credit: Disney
Photo Credit: Disney

And while these verbal reminders reinforce the concept, perhaps this is best demonstrated through a powerful scene at the end of the film.

Once Cinderella has been discovered by Prince Charming after being hidden and locked in the attic of her own house by her stepmother, we see the happy couple walking hand-in-hand at the same moment Cinderella’s stepmother makes her way down the staircase. Just as Cinderella is about to leave to live happily ever after, she turns to say one last word to the woman who has treated her so poorly for years.

If this story were portraying real-life, it would not be surprising if Cinderella said a few choice words and perhaps even some expletives, but instead, Disney decided to provide a powerful lesson of what true kindness and courage look like.

In this moment, Cinderella utters one last, very important phrase to her stepmother: “I forgive you.”

I believe this is the most important scene of the film and commend Disney for including it. Cinderella’s words, while not always easy to emulate, perhaps provide us the key to happiness.

[sharequote align=”center”]Cinderella’s words, while not always easy to emulate, perhaps provide us the key to happiness.[/sharequote]

Forgiveness has an innate power to do strangely miraculous things. Unforgiveness, on the other hand, operates like a terrorist. It plots death while masquerading as a friend. The quickest way to grow old, hard and sick is to refuse to forgive yourself or someone else. Withheld pardon never damages anyone as much as the person who is unwilling to grant it.

Forgiveness can bring dead things back to life and restore relationships. The difficulty lies in the fact that the people we love the most always have the greatest ability to hurt us, making them the hardest to forgive. This is the reason many people have issues with trust and avoid the meaningful relationships they need most.

True forgiveness is to set someone free and cancel his or her debt to you. The surprising revelation is that the person who ends up being freed is not only the offender but the person who is forgiving.

Cinderella learned something most of us never do. That forgiveness is not meant to be earned but to be given freely. The old saying is true: hating and refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

The ability to forgive is not something to be found but something to be chased. It must be an intentional act of will, where each step of healing is paved by a previous step.

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