“Baby don’t hurt me!” hehehe, get it? Yes? No? Anyway, moving on….
One of the main reasons I got into photography was love. Over the years and even as a little girl, love was always this enchanting thing that you “chased” or in some cases, chased you. As I’m sure most of us have seen, Disney’s Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, all these movie’s created this false reality of what love really is. It involved someone chasing someone else’s heart, doing grand gesture’s to get their attention and 9 times out of 10 putting up a facade so that they were more appealing to their crush. To me they’re exactly what Disney created them to be, fairytales.
One movie that has and will always be my all time favorite is Beauty and the Beast. Seeing a trend here? Obviously I love Disney, stay with me, you’ll see the importance of this soon. Growing up, I didn’t always have the best example of what love (in the relationship sense) was supposed to look like. My parents fought constantly, yelling, screaming, physical violence, ending in divorce and their relationships, marriages and love escapades afterward weren’t much better. So in less words, I had more real life examples of what love wasn’t instead of what it was. When we look at Beauty and the Beast, you might see a cute little love story that unfolds, what I see has a much deeper meaning.
Belle wasn’t your average girl, she was intelligent, compassionate and kind beyond the cordial passer-by encounter. Despite how the town viewed her, she remained true to who she was and what she loved, which was more than just the Beast. As the story rolls on, she openly shows her affection and tenderness towards books, animals, roses and the beauty of an adventurous landscape. Which shows that love is all around us. It’s the tender care and infatuation you have with people, things and animals that bring you joy. Love doesn’t have to be solely boxed up and only shown toward another person. There’s more to life than just that and this movie was full of those examples.
Looking at the storyline of the Beast, he was shallow and self-absorbed. He did not see the world as Belle did and it made things dark and dreary for him. His personality and negative traits were the primary focus of why he was cursed, an inner demon that was brought to light, if you will. Now think of it in the sense of a poor upbringing, childhood trauma or even not having the emotional intelligence to acknowledge your flaws. All of these things can cause us to become cruel and cold-hearted, making it hard for us to be loved or seen as lovable by another. I’d like to highlight that these things are NORMAL. We see folks everyday who have flaws, ignorant to the diversity of the world and even stuck in their own ways. It’s what makes us human and how well this movie acknowledges that is what helped me grow to understand love on a deeper level.
You see Belle saw more in him than what he had shown her after he saved her in the forest. It was a moment that offered her two choices, leave him to the wolves or help him get home safely. The more time she spends with Beast and his servants, the more she sees that his initial behavior was a defense mechanism. Which leads me to one of my final points, love is patient. It understands that there is pain and learned behaviors that need to be unpacked for someone to become whole again. It’s making someone feel safe through that journey, as long as they’re willing. It’s not forced, love just happens. You know it when you feel it, when it sees you, in your darkness, then guides you into the light. Holding your hand through it and making sure you know it’s okay to make these changes or experience them so that you can be happy.
Now from Beast’s perspective he’s afraid he’s unloveable but after Belle shows him that’s not true.. he understands where he has been going about it all wrong. He had to set her free. A prisoner cannot be free to choose who they love, so he let’s her go. We all know how the story ends, they finally come together after lots of dramatics but all in all, true love wins.
For me, this lovely tale as I have mentioned has taught me a lot about the infinite reach of love. Some key takeaways I want to highlight:
- Love IS all around you, books, animals, nature. You just have to slow down and enjoy them.
- Love IS encouraging. It is your biggest cheerleader.
- Love IS supportive. It understands that you will grow and lets you spread your wings to do so.
- Love IS patient. It understands that growth and coming together takes time. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.
- Love IS NOT cruel. It does not cut you down for your flaws.
- Love IS NOT malicious. It does not do or say things to intentionally hurt you.
- Love IS NOT jealous. It does not envy you for growing into a better version of yourself.
- Love IS NOT optional. It is a constant choice, daily, showing your commitment to the one you love.
If you are in a relationship, no matter how long, I highly encourage you to take a look within before evaluating the person you are with. It is so easy, given our nature to care for others, to morph ourselves into who we think we need to be to make someone else happy. What I challenge you to do is to ask the question, “Am I happy with myself?” The answer to that question is in your hands, you control those feelings. How? By the way that you talk to yourself, think about yourself and see yourself in the mirror everyday. It all starts with you so dig deep, don’t be afraid to do the hard work. No love is easy, whether it is with a partner or with yourself. It is constant work and you have to be willing to step up to the plate. Once you’re done looking inward, then look outward. Is the company you keep aligned with your inner happiness? Are you surrounded by people who drain you? Suck the fun out of your life with their mentality? Are they limiting you by their, “you can’t,” way of thinking? Maybe its time to make some changes there too. If those changes lead you to no longer being in that relationship you were once in, then grieve that loss but know in the end that it wasn’t true love. Honor the person you are growing to be and continue to spread that love you are finding within to others.
Thank you for joining me here, I hope that this post has inspired you to rethink or even relook at love on a deeper level. If you found this to be helpful or think it may resonate with someone you know, share it! Even better, give it a like and drop a comment below of what hit you the hardest. I’ll be seeing you again very soon. Until then, I hope that you know that you are loved, cared for and seen for who you are. Own who you see in the mirror and be proud, you’ve come so far.