Fairytales Show Us Ourselves

Fairytales are like mirrors—they show us ourselves.

They tell us impossible tales about make-believe creatures, but look a bit closer, and it’s not a princess or a knight we see—it’s us. Straying from the path. Trusting the wrong person. Hopelessly lost in a strange, scary place.

Hundreds of years old, these tales were a form of talk therapy long before Freud existed. They allowed our ancestors to have their deepest fears expressed, and then happily resolved, by humankind’s first therapists—storytellers.

These ancient tales—with their hungry children abandoned to the forest, their lonely girls locked up in towers—convey a bitter truth: that the world is often a hard and heartbreaking place, one filled with beasts. But at the same time, they tell us another, more profound truth: we can beat them.

The world has changed since the likes of the Brothers Grimm wrote down their tales, but we human beings have not.

We still long for the promise of happiness and love. We still hope for a world where kindness wins. We still hunger for the light of the fire to push back at the darkness, for the old, wise voice to cast its spell over us, to tell us that we are all we need, that we have all we need, to walk out of those dark woods and find our way home.

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