One of the prevalent stories of our lives is the one of Prince Charming and the Perfect Princess. We all know it, because it’s a story we have been told since we were born, we’ve watched the story play out in books, in movies, in songs, and yet, we rarely see it work in life. Yet, we’ve all bought into the fairytale, because at different times in our lives we have tried to save someone or wished with all our might that someone would come along on a white steed and save us. I know I am guilty. In my 20’s I was ambitiously looking for Mr. Right, to come and save me from… whatever I needed saving from. I wanted to be Sleeping Beauty.
The fantasy of Prince Charming is a little like thinking about what you will do when you win the Lottery. Which is a great tool to distract us and is perfect if we’re avoiding our life. I might even make the argument that the Lotto fantasy is the same story with the character of Cash instead of Charming. These are hard stories to live with because we either sit around waiting to be a hero in someone else’s story or we sit around as a victim, waiting to be swept away from all our own troubles. Unfortunately, when we are sitting around we aren’t actually doing anything to change our life in any of the meaningful ways we might if we were taking action.
And, that last bit is key to why you have to kill the Sleeping Beauty/Prince Charming myth in order to grow.
- Why do you think that being asleep through your life makes you worth saving?
- What do you learn about taking care of yourself if you are waiting for some magical solution to show up?
- Have you ever met anyone who could perfectly take care of you, past the point they started to bug you?
- At what point are you taking care of your own baggage if your focus in on fixing someone else’s?
- How do you grow up if you choose to hold onto a fairytale?
Let me be clear, I like fairy tales, I love to read them and watch them at the movies. I just don’t want to pretend that I am waiting for the fairytale to show up and save me from my life. I don’t want to wait for Prince Charming, the Lottery, the perfect Mentor, the perfect body, the perfect job, I want to go out and find what makes me happy and grow if from the inside. It’s time to wake up.
I’ve always wondered at the end of the fairy tale, “and, they all lived happily ever after…” Not only is there no such thing as “happily ever after” it is an ending to a story that continues on the next page, it’s also an untruth that gets us into some serious trouble.
What if my life is filled with the normal ups and downs? What does that mean about my value, my abilities, and me? If I never meet Prince Charming am I lost? Or, I didn’t get the happily ever after just because I met Prince Charming, what then?
And, maybe I did find my Prince Charming, but he has a few bad habits, he doesn’t always listen to me the way I want him to, he doesn’t always clean up after himself, he disagrees with some of my genius ideas, he needs me to take care of him sometimes, sometimes he just needs me to be quiet, and happily ever after actually has taken an epic amount of work and willingness to find a middle path. In fact finding the right partner for my life, took a lot of courage and an astronomical amount of self-realization, self-improvement and some deeply honest and painful conversations with myself. I won’t even go into the painful conversations with my partner about my “not so Princess like” qualities that I have had to take a good look in the mirror about, so I could address them. I am happy; in fact, I may have found what amounts to a real happily ever after. But I am not happy because I sat around waiting for someone to come and save me from my past, my problems, or myself. I am happy with my life because it didn’t just magically show up, I have worked on my thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, my actions, and learned to take real ownership of my crap. These tools will stay with me and grow through the rest of my life and add to my happily ever after in real and tangible ways.
Learning to take care of yourself means you have to take your own leaps, you get to run with your equals, that you learn to trust yourself, and learn that you don’t require someone to help you feel powerful in your life. You don’t actually need to be saved. Your care is not dependent on someone else, it can’t just be taken away from you, and so you get make choices, make mistakes, learn, grow and kick ass for the rest of your life. And, magically, you find friends and partners to share all this with, and when you continue to ‘own yourself,’ you get to keep these brilliant gems of people the rest of your life because you’re not wearing them out with your need to save them or be saved by them.
My happiness is a direct result of my willingness to grow myself into a person who I would actually like to be in a relationship with. I want to be a person who owns her good qualities and her ‘in need of improvement’ qualities, a person who listens even when she disagrees, and I want to kill the fairytale so I can choose wake up and get on with my life; finding my happiness along the way.
images from bigstockphoto.com