There is this idealized world out there in books and movies. A world where everyone has a happy ending. All too often I hear friends saying, if only I lived in (insert book or movie title here). The funny thing is, these people seemed to have overlooked all of the imperfectness the characters went through to find the perfect in their lives.

Let’s illustrate with a commonly known fairy tale, Cinderella. How many times have I heard the phrase “If only I had a Fairy Godmother.” The funny thing about it is that the Fairy Godmother wasn’t the one  who solved all of Cinderella’s problems. The only thing the Fairy Godmother did was make sure Cinderella got to go to the ball. It didn’t even last past midnight. Cinderella had to do most of the work herself.  I’m not even sure the Fairy Godmother would have shown up if Cinderella hadn’t tried her hardest before her step-mom took it all away from her.

The fact is, Cinderella was only given a dress and a carriage. She had to charm the prince, she had to live by the rule of midnight, and she had to prove herself by keeping the other glass slipper. If she hadn’t done any work she never would have gotten her happily ever after.

Life is hard. We are going to be faced with obstacles no matter what path we take. It would be easy to give up on our happy endings because the work is too much. But really, there is no happy ending without work involved.

Perfection in life is an unrealistic goal, but happiness isn’t. Even if it is just for a moment. I find I am happiest in my life when I work hard for a what I want. If everything was handed to me, would I really appreciate it? If Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother how showed up when Cinderella’s father was still alive, would she care? Probably not. The fact that she had been through so many trials is what made the Fairy Godmother worth it. The story wouldn’t make sense if Cinderella had been living a life of luxury beforehand.

Think of how much sweeter that happy ending was because we knew what Cinderella had been through to get there. Just getting the prince wasn’t enough, the fact that all of the odds were against her was what made the moment so special.

The next time you are grumbling about the world being against you, take a moment to think about how much stronger you will come out in the end. Reflect on those times when things have been bad in your life and remember the lessons you learned from them.

Happy endings are possible. It takes hard work and a good attitude to get there. If we grumble through the trials we’ll miss the lessons we should learn along the way. Your happy ending will be sweeter if you remember the journey it took for you to reach the end.

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