Want to learn something about yourself? Read the following quick story and then identify the curse.
There once was a princess who grew up with a curse and she couldn't leave her room in her tower. Her parents had to move, and begged her to come, but she couldn't break the curse so she had to stay while they left. A prince rode up one day and said he heard how beautiful she was and wanted to marry her but she said she couldn't because she was cursed and couldn't leave. However, he came back repeatedly and day after day begged her to break the curse.
Now stop! Before you read any further---name the curse. What was the curse that kept her locked up in the tower?
Once you have named the curse, decide how the story will end. Will she overcome the curse in your story, or will she die alone in the tower?
Are you done? Then—read on!
There is no right or wrong answer, however, whatever curse you named should reveal something to you about yourself. I thought it was fear. She was afraid of the unknown and therefore not willing to venture out into it. My daughter’s friend said it was lack of trust.
I told the story to some friends and their answers were: she was ill, and she was actually ugly and didn’t want anyone to know. Some ended the story in a positive way, others in a negative.
The curse you chose is probably one of your own fears or insecurities. If you end the story in a positive way, you probably are an optimistic person. If you end it in a negative . . . well, you might want to work on that. :-)
My favorite answer came from my daughter Kristen. She asked:
“Who placed the curse on her and how did she know she couldn't leave?" She concluded the princess was just a silly girl who assumed she was cursed because her door was stuck and since she was afraid of heights she didn’t want to use the window. However, with the encouragement of the Prince's frequent visits she investigated her room more thoroughly and was able to find a trap door she had never seen before and explored her way out of the castle.
But she didn't marry the prince.
He gave her a ride to his castle where she fell in love with his brother who liked her for more than just her looks. And of course, they lived happily ever after.
I have been thinking a lot about Kristen’s answer. I wonder how many times we “curse” ourselves, when no curse actually exists except in our own minds.
We say things to ourselves like, “I am not creative therefore I can’t . . .”
“I am overweight, therefore I am not. . . "
“I didn’t graduate from college, therefore I can’t . . . "
"I am not good at memorizing, therefore I can't . . . "
“I didn’t grow up in the church, therefore I don’t . . ."
“I can’t have children, therefore I am not . . . "
I am reminded of the blind man who climbed Mt. Everest and a woman from Phoenix who lost both arms in a car accident. How many of us would assume we could not climb a mountain if we couldn’t see? How many of us would think we could no longer cook dinner if we didn’t have the use of our arms? And yet the man did climb and the woman learned to cook (and many other things) using her feet.
There have been many times in my life when I have limited myself by self-imposed curses. But I have decided that I am going to try and change that. Now instead of saying, “That isn’t me, I can’t do that” I am going to search to see if I can find a way, because I believe if I do, it will bring great . . . joy to my journey.
Editors note: I did not make up the story, it was part of counseling lesson from a student in social work.