“Classic fairy tales do not deny the existence of heartache and sorrow, but they do deny universal defeat.”
In fairy tales, love is an ideal, perfect relationship that was destined to be. It’s easy to forget the dark conflicts and dangers that fairy tales also present. If fairy tales really dictated our lives, true love would require early abandonment, voluntary isolation, dubious acquaintances, hazardous tests, fatal mistakes, terrifying evil and horrendous sacrifice. Yet most lovers focus only on the tales’ perfect happy endings as a template for achieving their hearts’ desire.
How much do fairy tales–in all their fantasy facets–inform our lives? Certainly in a deeply psychological manner, fairy tales express universal inner experiences in symbolic language. One message they share is that, regardless of circumstance and appearances, each of us plays out a profoundly meaningful story whose every moment is vital and whose every act has consequences. But this insight doesn’t mean we should run to slay the neighborhood dragon or devote our lives to a lover held hostage by another. One of the most dangerous pitfalls of fairy-tale romance is losing our good sense through the misinterpretation of reality… as fairy tales themselves so often tell us!
– Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss, Daily Meditations, 23 October 2014, Center for Healthy Sex