Worthiness

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…
In this playful take-off of the familiar Cinderella fairie tale, Jonathan and Mark help an aspiring actress find both love and professional success while healing the broken relationship between a father and daughter. In this version, Cindy finds that it is not beautiful ball gowns and glass slippers that win the heart of Prince Charming, but the honesty of just being who she was created to be.

“Don’t you have another daughter?” the prince asked.
“No,” said the man. “There is only a deformed little Cinderella from my first wife, but she cannot possibly be the bride.”
The prince told him to send her to him, but the mother answered, “Oh, no, she is much too dirty. She cannot be seen.”
But the prince insisted on it, and they had to call Cinderella. She first washed her hands and face clean, and then went and bowed down before the prince, who gave her the golden shoe. She sat down on a stool, pulled her foot out of the heavy wooden shoe, and put it into the slipper, and it fitted her perfectly.

When she stood up the prince looked into her face, and he recognized the beautiful girl who had danced with him. He cried out, “She is my true bride.” -From “The Cinder Maid”
Everyone has heard the fairie tale of Cinderella. Virtually every culture in the world has a similar story, from Medieval Europe’s “The Cinder Maid” to Norway’s “Katie Woodencloak;” from Ireland’s “Fair, Brown, and Trembling” to Vietnam’s “The Story of Tam and Cam.” (The original ‘golden shoe’ became a ‘glass slipper’ in the French version, “The Little Glass Slipper.”) While each version contains its own, unique details, thus remaining culturally relevant, each presents the same basic tale, which is truly the story of all mankind.

Cinderella was born into a noble house, of royal blood. But somehow she lost her birthright. She was told she was unworthy, dirty, and ugly – and she believed it. She worked hard to gain approval but found herself relegated to the back corner of the house, covering her feet in the ashes hoping for a bit of warmth, grateful for the crumbs that fell from her father’s table. It seemed she could never be good enough. It took the intervention of a fairie godmother to make Cinderella see the beauty that resided beneath the soot and ashes. It took the attention of a prince to make her realize her value.

Unfortunately, many of us suffer from this Cinderella complex, this sense that our worth is all bound up in how we look, how hard we work, and what other people say about us. Madison Avenue marketing gurus know that the key ingredient in advertising is creating discontent, so they create the ‘perfect’ home, the ‘perfect’ car, the ‘perfect’ hairstyle, and the ‘perfect’ figure. If you could only have ‘that,’ if you could only look like ‘that,’ if you could only go ‘there,’ then you would be happy.

But that is a lie. Your self worth does not lie in what you possess, or how you look or even what you do for a living. You are valuable just because you are you. As the poet, Max Erhmann wrote so eloquently in the Desiderata, “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.” King Solomon concurred in the biblical book of Ecclesiastes when he declared that God has made everything, including you, beautiful in his time.

The second great commandment was to love your neighbor as you love yourself. In fact, it is virtually impossible to love anyone else unless you first have a proper love and respect for yourself.

“Self-esteem creates natural highs,” insists U.S, psychologist Louise Hart. “Knowing that you’re lovable helps you to love more. Knowing that you’re important helps you to make a difference to others. Knowing that you are capable empowers you to create more. Knowing that you’re valuable and that you have a special place in the universe is a serene spiritual joy in itself.”

Learning the value of proper self-esteem is no sudden pop-culture philosophy. Those ancient mathematicians, the Pythagoreans, held as one of their precepts, “But most of all respect thyself.” The blind poet, John Milton wrote in his epic poem, “Paradise Lost,” “Oft times nothing profits more than self-esteem, grounded on just and right.” And former U.S. President, Rutherford B. Hayes believed that, “If a man does not esteem himself, he would certainly be very silly to expect the esteem of others.”

Cindy found true happiness when she rejected the lies of those who told her she was less than what she was, and those who wanted her to pretend she was something she was not. Glass slippers and enchanted pumpkins might bring happily-ever-afters in fairie tales, but as family therapist and author, Stephanie Martson says, “Self-esteem is the real magic wand that can form a child’s future.”
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