I think it can be said that all of us want a “happily ever after”. A great adventure to go on, someone to go on it with, and then a quieter life to enjoy together afterward. We all have a need for our lives to be part of something bigger, to be challenged, and to have someone to go through it with us. Plus a romantic kiss at the end, we can’t forget that. 😉
We assign people in our real lives to the roles in typical fairy tale stories. Oppressive characters like overbearing parents or witches can be actual parents, bosses, or some other figure who can or does abuse their authority. There are mentors, like grandparents or older adults we look up to that counsel us along the way. We have friends or pets that are our sidekicks on our grand adventures (or challenge), whether they be high school, college, summer camps, or something else new or exciting.
Then there are the princes and princesses. It can seem obvious who those characters are in our lives at certain points, but sometimes we are wrong and their stories (and the sorrow that goes along with them) become part of the grand adventure. Ultimately, we look with trepidation and hopefulness for the Princess who lost her glass slipper or for the Prince disguised as a frog in hopes that they will fill the roles as King or Queen someday.
That day comes. Sometimes it is magical. Sometimes it is awkward. Sometimes it is a little stressful. But mostly, it is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your story together.
What you may be surprised to find is that you may recast some of the characters in your story. The people who were once close friends may betray you and become enemies. Your mentors or furry sidekicks may abandon you due to age and health. Perhaps through all of life’s up and downs, you may even find yourself recasting your beloved King or Queen to a less…supportive role.
Maybe you don’t think of them as your partner anymore. You might see them as a nuisance, a drain on your time and energy, annoying, lazy, repulsive…the list could go on and on. They aren’t the Prince or Princess you fell in love with. The happily ever after isn’t shaping up to be quite what you expected, or it certainly isn’t what you think you deserve.
Maybe, just maybe, your King or Queen has turned into a Dragon, thrown you in a tower, and locked it. And now, you are looking for the next person to rescue you. You look for the qualities that you found attractive in what you now believe to be the person holding you captive in your own twisted version of Happily Ever After. You feel miserable, helpless, bamboozled and cheated. This isn’t what you signed up for!
Does this sound familiar?
The stories we tell ourselves are powerful. They aren’t just daydreams or fantasies, they are a reflection of what is in our hearts.
While they generally hold some truth, more often than not, they merely color of perception of reality. They don’t change the truth, but they do change how you see it. It is the difference between believing you are blessed to have a sink full of dishes because it means you have food and precious mouths to feed, and believing you are a slave because you have work that other people created and it isn’t fair.
You have a choice in your Happily Ever After. You can choose to play the victim by casting yourself as oppressed by your surroundings (spouse, children, job, etc), or you can choose to play the hero.
The question is, who are you choosing?
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