The idea of fairy tales is still alive and well. The prince. The princess. The heroic rescue on a white horse. The happily ever after. Read a book. Watch a movie. Prince Charming and Mr. or Mrs. Right are apparently still out there—somewhere.
In truth, as effective as they are as an escape, getting yourself in too much of a fairy-tale mindset is actually incredibly destructive to your love life. Believing in that "perfect" partner, placing your happiness in someone else’s hands, and trying to force an existing relationship to match some ideal you have in your head destroys your potential for real, lasting love before you can even realize it.
Here are three fairy-tale myths that disempower you and destroy relationships, plus tools that empower you to create a relationship that works:
1. The Myth of Prince Charming:
There’s a good possibility that you grew up with the idea that finding Prince or Princess Charming was the ultimate happiness. The frenzy that springs up around royal weddings shows just how susceptible we are to that particular fantasy—Kate Middleton, anyone?
It’s so deeply embedded into the fabric of our culture that we internalize it—often without even realizing we have. You might find yourself waiting until you find that "right" person to start really living your life. Next time you think you might be making a choice that postpones your desires in favor of pursuing some possible romantic lead, stop and ask yourself if that’s really what you want.
You should never let someone else hold the key to your happiness. After all, how small would you have to make yourself in order to need someone to come and rescue you?
Questions open the door to all possibilities. Conclusions close doors. When you conclude that you’re waiting for Prince or Princess Charming, you stop asking the questions that allow you to create what you really desire.
You’ve got to start asking, "What would be a great relationship for me? What is truly valuable to me in a partner? And, if I were creating this from scratch right now, what would I choose? Am I happy enough on my own to give any relationship a shot at working?"
Get clear on what you want—regardless of anyone else’s opinions. Your life is about you.
2. The Myth of the Fixer-Upper:
Have you ever met someone who was incredibly attractive but wounded, and all you could see was their potential? You KNEW that with just a little help (obviously from you), they could be the perfect partner for you. So, you stepped it up and took on the project.
As helpful as you think you’re being, as certain as you are that this is going to work out and be the relationship of your dreams, taking on a Fixer-Upper actually makes you more vulnerable to people who want to take advantage of your kindness and nurturing instincts. If you believe your job is to give 150 percent, you will always end up with people who take 200 percent.
3. The Myth of Soul Mates:
If you are looking for your one soul mate, your twin flame, your other half, you will inevitably be disappointed. The quest to find your other half is not only unrealistic—it's damaging to yourself.
If you are convinced your soul mate is out there and you just can’t find them, you start judging yourself. You start looking for what’s wrong with you.
Instead of looking for the perfect partner, start asking questions. Ask, "If I was with this person, what would my life look like? If I was with this person, what would my life be like in five years, in 10 years, in 20 years?" When you ask these questions, you will start to perceive what your life would be like in this relationship. Now, does that match what you truly desire? If not, they aren’t right for you.
Fairy tales take your happiness out of your hands and place it in the hands of someone or something else. They disempower you from creating the life you want. Fairy tales say that the only thing you can do is wish for things to turn out perfectly and hope and wait for your rescuer to show up.
But you can change that. To get empowered to create your own happily ever after, you’ve got to recognize that it’s all about choice. It’s the active choosing of your life and of a relationship that allows you to create that reality.
Want more insight into your relationship? Find out the five things couples who stay together do every day and the ways your sex life can show you what's wrong in your relationship.