We all know the story of Cinderella. Poor girl loses mom, has to live with wicked step-mother and awful step-sisters. Fairy Godmother comes to the rescue, dolls her up to go to a ball. Poor girl meets the prince, falls in love but runs away when the clock strikes 12. She conveniently drops a glass slipper while hobbling ungracefully to the carriage. The prince uses them to find her and blah blah, you know how it goes.
In the Brothers Grimm version, however, the step-mother made her daughters do whatever it took to make their feet fit the delicate slipper. When the prince came, evil step-sister 1 chopped off her toes and viola, the shoe fit! The prince, obviously missing more than just a few IQ points, was overjoyed to have found his ‘beloved’ and took her back to his castle. But on the way, two pigeons came down to tell him that evil step-sister 1’s foot was bleeding. The prince, appalled, sent her back home.
The prince then asked for evil step-sister 2 and she came. Her foot fit perfectly into the gold slipper (yes, it was gold in this version) but only because she sliced off her heel. The prince, that oblivious bat, probably said something like, “yes, I always knew you were the one!” and brought her home, where of course, the pigeons stopped him mid-way tweeting, “There they go, there they go! There is blood on her shoe; the shoe is too small, -Not the right bride at all!” He brought her back and well, since he was already there, might as well ask for the cinder maid. After all, third time’s a charm.
Aaaaaaand, you know how it ends- they got married and they lived happily ever after.
I’d like to think that if this story was my life, I’d be Cinderella. But more often than not, I feel like a carbon copy of the evil step-sisters. I fall into the comparison trap, giving in to feelings of envy and jealousy.
Comparison and jealousy are the ultimate joy-stealers.
We spend more time looking at other people’s happily ever afters and complaining that ours aren’t as good, than chasing after our happily ever afters.
We ask ourselves, How can I truly be happy when I don’t have what she has? We see what other people have and we covet it, putting all our time and energy into chasing after what we deem as perfection, when in actual fact, all it buys us is a whole load of bitterness and self-loathing and just maybe, a morsel of fleeting satisfaction.
After that we’d just find someone else to be jealous of and the vicious cycle repeats.
“Now that I have this, I want that.”
Just like the step-sisters, we chop off our toes, slice off our heels, to wear a shoe that so obviously isn’t ours. We stomp around bare-footed trying to get ourselves shoes that won’t even fit… all while leaving our very own, pretty darn cool (and not to mention, expensive) Jimmy Choos to collect dust.
I get sucked into this comparison trap all the time. My happiness would turn sour and I would refuse to look at my life through anything except lenses coloured a disgusting vomit-green of envy. I would put myself down because of other’s achievements instead of being happy for them.
If you feel the same way too, it is time to let go of these feelings and channel all that energy into building your own happily ever after. Just as there are no two identical snow-flakes, there are no two identical people as well (even you twins!).
Each of us are made up of a combination of a million different skills, personalities, talents and purposes.
There is no one like you. Your shoes are tailor-made. And well, you’d be surprised to find out that there might be people out there pining for your very own shoes as well. So nestle your feet into those shoes today and wear them out proudly. Like Cinderella, wearing those shoes will get you your own tailor-made happily ever after as well.