So why do we keep getting it wrong?
I see there is soon going to be a live-action film version of “Beauty and the Beast.” I find it ironic that some Hollywood producer has decided to re-tell that same story yet again. When it comes to love and romance, we tend to do that: tell ourselves the same story over and over, looking for different results. And yet it often ends the same.
Tale As Old As Time.
I referenced the animated Disney version of the “Beauty and the Beast” story in a video blog I did over the summer (below). I was having fun with it and have no issue with the enjoyment of a nice fairy tale or adventure story. But there was a point to be made in there, too: we keep believing in these fairy tales without paying attention to the actual work it takes to make them real. And we end up broken-hearted and disappointed, convinced we haven’t yet found the right prince, or princess, after all. We keep watching these tales unfold and when our situation doesn’t work out the same way, we feel there must be something wrong with us. Or our partner. Or both.
I’m not suggesting you avoid watching or enjoying films like that. By all means, if it gives you pleasure, go for it! Personally, I find it a challenge to find a film that I enjoy from start to finish. When I watch a movie, I want to be entertained. I like adventure, a little bit of action, some humor, and perhaps some dramatic element. What I don’t like is vulgarity just for the sake of it, blood and guts and needless violence or anything that makes me feel darker than life is already equipped to deliver. Oh, and I also like to see the good guys come out on top (with the lone exception “The Empire Strikes Back”). And so, if you look at my DVD collection, you’ll find a lot of stuff that is simply not based in reality: superheroes, pirates, time travelers, spaceships and the like. They don’t reflect reality. I don’t expect I should actually be able to use The Force after watching those films. But they’re entertaining, at least to me.
Perhaps that’s why romantic stories like “Beauty and the Beast” are the way they are. But the notion of meeting the right person and then feeling immediately and permanently fulfilled and everything being good and fine after that, forever and ever without further effort, is no more realistic than assembling a squad of other-worldly mega-heroes to combat the many various forces of evil, or lifting an X-Wing Fighter out of a swamp by merely thinking about.
At least with Beauty and the Beast, Belle seemed to have a pretty solid idea of who she was and seemed to be okay with that. I like that. Self-love is an important thing to be exploring in my opinion. As I mentioned in my video blog, I would have liked to have seen the Beast remain the Beast rather than turning back into a prince-like guy at the end of the film. I also would love to be able to check back in on those two and see how they are making out a few years into their storybook romance, once “real life” has set in. Are they working and collaborating as a true team and thriving because they respect that the other each has their own viewpoint, needs, and emotions, and because they both have a very healthy sense of self and level of emotional maturity? Or, when things get rough, are they just off looking for a more perfect prince or princess to solve the issues again and try one more time to live happily ever after?
Find True Love? Yes. Live Like a Pirate? No.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be overly cynical about it. I realize that these stories are fantasies. They are designed to help us feel good and be entertained. It’s hypocritical of me to criticize a story like “Beauty and the Beast” and then turn around and list reasons why I enjoy a superhero movie or a film about pirates. It’s not real. Pirates were not really swashbuckling and romantic. They were filthy, disgusting criminals who lived in rat-infested squalor, for months on end, teeth rotting and bodies withering away from lack of nutrition and total absence of hygiene. But I don’t want to see that movie. I want to like the characters and feel entertained. So I guess as long as we know what is
fantasy and what is not, it’s all in good fun. The question is … do we really know the difference? Do we have to be reminded more than we have been?
I’m fascinated by the idea of nurturing a mutual, loving relationship and exploring effective, healthy communication. They are both very natural, fundamental parts of our human experience and yet we continue to get them wrong over and over again. Why? It’s a Tale As Old As Time, just like in the “Beauty and the Beast” film(s). I just hope that, unlike these movie producers, we are someday able to stop telling ourselves the same stories, expecting and hoping for a different result.
For anyone interested in exploring relationships further, I highly recommended the book “Hold Me Tight” by Dr. Sue Johnson. Read about it, and other helpful books, on this page ==> Kevin’s Book Shelf
Kim Von Berg, a certified singles and couples coach, joined me on the No Schedule Man Podcast in Episode 25. To see some of what she shared on relationships or to hear the conversation, click here ==> NSM Podcast, Ep. 25
Can you recommend a resource, tip or insight on what works for you? Please share in the comment section, below!