“Have courage and be kind.”
This is one of my favorite movie quotes of all time. It is from the live-action Cinderella movie that was released in 2015 (for the record, I saw the movie six times in theaters). Whenever I need an inspirational pick-me-up movie, I watch Cinderella. On a stylistic note, this movie is quite stunning. The movie is embedded with rich color and dramatic tones. The boldness of the colors, the lavish costumes and the setting truly give way to the beautiful cinematography.
However, though the stylistic features of the movie are truly breathtaking, the underlying message of the movie is more incredible—it is the embodiment of true love and sacrifice.
Before passing away, Cinderella’s mother shared with her young daughter some life-altering advice, so that little Cinderella would be able to face “all the trials that life can offer.” She told the young girl that she must always, “Have courage and be kind.” And she must do this even when times are hard, difficult or too daunting.
After her mother passes, Cinderella experiences hardships, as her father remarries an unkind lady, Madame Tremaine, who mistreats the poor girl by forcing her to complete various household duties and strenuous chores. She is very misused and is often verbally wounded by her new stepmother and stepsisters, often being told that she will only be a servant girl for the rest of her life and that she is unworthy of greater things. Moreover, her father passes shortly after he remarries as well.
We all can identify a time in our lives when we have felt like poor Cinderella. We have all felt betrayed, cornered, embarrassed, hurt, lonely, misunderstood, mistreated, sad and all the other feelings that Cinderella endured. These emotions are all a part of the human experience, but they are excruciating, and we must know how to face them with humility when they do confront us.
Although Cinderella endured harsh treatment from her stepmother and stepsisters, she continued to be kind to them, even when they did not deserve it. Then something magical happened. One evening after her stepmother and stepsisters were especially cruel, she received a visit from her Fairy Godmother who gifted her with blessings upon blessings.
Cinderella—with the help of her Fairy Godmother—attends the Prince’s ball, arriving in an ornate gold carriage, and wearing an exquisite blue dress. Once at the ball, it is love at first sight, as Cinderella and the Prince lock eyes and dance the night away—finally receiving the acceptance and recognition she so deserved.
All her dreams come true because she continued to believe in courage and kindness.
Through her trials, Cinderella held tight to what her mother told her when she was a child, “Have courage and be kind.” It was because Cinderella had faith, remained strong and continued to show her stepfamily love, despite their cruel treatment of her, that goodness eventually came to her life. Kindness—even in the smallest form—can make a lasting impact and impression on others. Poor Cinderella continued to show others this kindness, even when they did not treat her in the same fashion, and she did this without fail—she persisted and persevered and kept her promise to her mother.
The underlying message of the movie is truly more incredible—it is the embodiment of true love and sacrifice.
If this information hasn’t been engrained in your brain quite enough, let us just remember the cruel treatment young Cinderella had to endure: Her stepmother and stepsisters forced young Cinderella to do the housework (after Cinderella’s father dies), sent her to the attic to live without heating or ventilation, ripped her dress when she tried to attend the public ball, mocked her when she attempted to dine with them and laughed at her—calling her “a wretched servant girl.”
And, yet, she still was kind to them.
What if we acted in the same manner to others, just like Cinderella, when people are unkind and cruel to us? What if we encouraged others to reach their fullest potentials, instead of bringing them down? What if we lived to serve others, instead of discouraging them? What if we aimed to bite our tongues when someone insults us or wounds us, and instead, show that individual kindness in return?
Though I’m sure we all have not always been the best at doing this, when we react kindly to negative situations, the outcomes turn out better than we could have ever initially believed. It is so hard, however, to show others kindness when we are being treated so poorly. It is one of the most humbling, but—nonetheless—emotionally difficult things that we can do as humans.
Cinderella does end up with the handsome prince, but, this isn’t the only love story in the movie. Cinderella showed unconditional love to those around her—to those who treated her as if she were nothing—and she did this without expecting anything in return. Thus, we should remind ourselves to also “have courage and be kind.” People will always disappoint us—it is inevitable. But let us—like Cinderella—be individuals who show grace and kindness towards others when maybe it is not deserved. Though this is a struggle to do, it is so worth it.
(If you haven’t watched this movie, go watch it now.)