It’s always been my secret, little girl’s dream for the Prince Charming to come to my castle on the hill and save me. The older I get, however, the more I realize that, this would neither solve my problem nor give me any real satisfaction.
When life gets difficult we tend to wish for someone to come and save us from our misery. I’m in debt – I’d love to get unexpected inheritance. I’m unhappy in my marriage – I’d love a Prince Charming to come and save me and we will live happily ever after. I don’t like my job – I wish somebody would give me a great job offer… It’s easier that way. We don’t have to do anything and if we’re stuck in our misery, it’s not our fault because it’s his/her fault that they haven’t saved us yet.
We are all conditioned to look to the external to be both a cause and a cure for all the areas of our life that we are dissatisfied with. With good intentions, our friends often point to others to make our suffering easier: Don’t worry about this idiot, next time you’ll have more luck and find someone better or How could he have done it to you? Unfortunately, it’s a dangerous technique.
Since we’ve moved to Mauritius, my old thinking habit has been coming back frequently. So I am consciously trying to challenge myself every time I am falling into this trap and here is some of my self talk when I try to convince myself why it is better for me to work on what I want rather than wait for someone to save me or give it to me.
- I am the captain of my ship – It may be a very uncomfortable thing to admit to oneself that we are at cause in our lives. We are responsible for the state of our lives, where we live, how much money we have. Yes, there are many external circumstances that affect it and in extreme cases we can’t control disease, natural disasters, etc. However, if we look at the basics the choices we make give us the results we have… I’ve heard a story at a workshop once: A reporter interviewed two men. The first guy was a convict serving life sentence in an American jail. The other was a successful entrepreneur, living in a beautiful house with his happy family. The first men explained that: I’m coming from a broken family, my dad was an alcoholic who beat us, my mum was a drug addict. I run away from home and started stealing. With circumstances like this what else could I do? The other men explained: I’m coming from a broken family, my dad was an alcoholic who beat us, my mum was a drug addict. I run away from home and did all I could to have a good life and to make sure my kids don’t go through what I went through. With circumstances like this what else could I do? [I am looking for the source of this story and will put reference here once found]. The story is a bit simplistic but represents my point. It’s not easy but we always have a choice to ignore the circumstances and decide where we want to take our lives.
- I appreciate what I’ve earned – When I was at uni I went for a summer to Canada to work and travel. I’ve worked hard and spent almost all the money I’ve earned on a laptop. It was brand new, super duper high tech and beautiful. And it had a remote control! Believe me, I loved that laptop. It gave me so much satisfaction to buy it with my own sweat and I am still so proud of what I achieved. Don’t get me wrong, I am also grateful for all the things I got from my parents (they paid for the flight to Canada!) but only because I invested my two most valuable assets – my time and my energy in something I could really appreciate it’s value.
- The road is the goal – I was listening to the radio recently and there was a musician explaining what music is. He said that music is the experience of every second of the sound. If you go to a concert you don’t want to just hear the last song or the last second of the song. You want to hear and live through all of it. With achieving our goals is similar. The experiences, the work, the beautiful places we see, the people we meet, that makes achieving our goals meaningful. Coming back to my journey to Canada. Yes, my parents paid for the ticket – they helped and supported me – but I went on my own, first time on the plane, traveled and worked myself. And it’s what I’ve experienced while achieving all that, it’s the knowledge that I got on the way that made my fully understand what it takes to achieve something. Without the 'doing' there is not fulfillment.
- Grow up – As simple as that. It is beautiful to be a small girl, dressed all in pink, listen to Cinderella story and dream about your prince. But we are not children anymore. We can’t expect other people to come and save us or make decisions for us. We are responsible for our own lives and happiness. And if you are parents, you are also responsible for lives and happiness of your children. Yes it’s difficult and scary at the beginning but it gets easier with time. Don’t be afraid, just practice a bit.
So coming back to Prince Charming… Someone who’s sole purpose in life is to read my mind, deliver everything before I ask and obviously be very rich and handsome. Let’s face it. He doesn’t exist. And if he does, most likely he is a psychopath. Shrek showed us beautifully what Price Charming is really like:)
In real life it’s better to have a partner who believes in you and helps you to achieve your goals, not brings you things on a silver plate. A fulfilling relationship is one where both partners try equally hard to make things work, support and help each other to reach their full potential. Life is not a business agreement and love is not a transaction. My partner’s job is not to make me happy. It’s my own job to make me happy.
And if you don’t have a partner, look around, there is a lot of people around you who can help you and give you support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help but look for people who will teach you how to fish, not those who will give you the fish, and your life satisfaction will last longer.