You remember the story well. Yet another beautiful commoner captured the heart of the prince, and the two rode off into the sunset to live happily ever after. It didn't matter how many times you heard that story, how many different versions of it you read; the outcome was always the same. She always won her man, he always pursued her regardless of what obstacles came up, and they always eventually married and lived happily ever after. And so it is no wonder that now, when you are all grown up, that story is still playing in your mind, forming your belief of what falling in love and being in a relationship is all about.
Whether it's subconscious or not, that theme plays in our minds whenever we meet someone, whenever we're in a romantic relationship. It's no surprise we believe we can make someone love us, we can change the cold heart of even a beast, that we can move heaven and earth to show someone that we are the one for him.
And that's exactly what we try to do.
Over and over again we repeat this pattern from the time we have our first encounter with what we believe is love, until it becomes so ingrained in us, that we don't know how to do anything different. We think it's our role, our calling. We believe that all we have to do is be that beautiful, loving, perfect woman, and he will fall for us and we will live happily ever after, too.
Until our first encounter with reality.
When we find out that we've been told a story that doesn't translate into real life. It might make for a great tale, a must-see movie, or a captivating romance novel, but when it's our lives we're talking about, there's nothing happily-ever-after about it. The happy ending never came.
And so we learn.
But not before we repeat this pattern at least a few more times before we finally see where this fairytale thinking really takes us in real life, and realize there has to be more than what we're living, what we're experiencing in our own reality.
And so when we're finally ready to see love for what it really is and how it really happens, we start our journey. Our quest from a place we don't understand to a new place that we don't know anything about either. We just know we want the real thing.
We learn it's not about being perfect, not about pleasing anyone or being someone we're not. It's not about making someone love us or refusing to give up on someone even though they're telling us it's over or that they won't make a commitment in no uncertain terms.
It's about being real.
It's about two people who both want the same thing; two people who are both on the same page. Who want to get to know each other better to see where this might lead. It's about being compatible instead of contradictory. It's about sharing the same values and wanting the same things in life. It's about being realistic instead of hopeful. It's about being authentic and staying true to yourself and who you are even if it means that this might not end in the happily ever after you were so sure it was going to be. It's about accepting change. It's about accepting what is. It's about being open to someone not being your Prince Charming after all. It's about realizing there's no shame in admitting you might have been wrong on this one. It's about realizing you don’t answer to anyone except yourself.
It's also about being willing to say goodbye when one or both of you isn't on the same page, with the realization that there is so much more to life than this. It's about communicating openly and honestly with each other. It's about hearing each other, and knowing when to listen instead of talk. It's about really hearing what someone else is saying. It's about having disagreements but knowing you are, as a couple, strong enough to work through them. It's about not always feeling like being where you are, but knowing there's no place on earth you'd rather be except right there. It's about being able to accept what is even when it might not be exactly what you want it to be. It's about being picky about the right things. It's about two people, not just one or the other.
It's time to let go of the fairytale.
It's time to let go of the stories of princes and princesses, Cinderella, Snow White, Prince Charming, to name a few (not to mention those modern romantic comedies). All those stories you thought, on some level, were what true love was all about. They were just that - stories. Made up. Fictional. All those Disney movies, and now all the romantic comedies – it's time to see them for what they are. It's time to stop looking for your oh-too-fictional Prince Charming. Because he isn't real.
There's a real Mr. Right out there in the real world looking for a real relationship with a real woman who's exactly like you. The Mr. Right that treats you the way you deserve to be treated and wants the same things that you want, and believes in the same things that you believe in. He'll have his flaws the same way that you have your flaws, but he'll be perfect in the ways that really matter.
And when you find him, you might realize that he wasn't exactly what you expected. But if you keep your heart and your mind open, you will see that it turns out he's even better.