Happily-ever-after is an inside job and not a damsel in distress story. Finding Prince Charming has more to do with finding yourself.
Twenty-something years ago at the ripe age of twenty-five (an old maid in the Northwest) people who knew me would say annoying things like, “It’s so sad that you are alone and you don’t even have any children at your age” or “You are just being too picky”. My reply was always simply, “I am not going to settle. I am not going to get married just for the sake of being married. I’m not desperate. I would rather be single and alone than in a relationship and miserable.” I was tired of playing the dating game and the last thing I wanted was to try to mold another person into my idea of the perfect guy. I wanted someone who was already perfect for me.
It was in the 1980’s, when self-help anything was considered woo-woo, new age and even evil by some. Leave it up to me to be cutting-edge and rebel against the status quo. I was a self-help junkie in a sense and by time I was twenty-five I have read every self-help book I could get my hands on. I was determined to take control of my destiny and take responsibility for the direction of my life, rather than live it haphazardly like most other people seemed to be doing, or according to God’s plan that my parent’s had raised me with. Perhaps that’s why so many people considered self-improvement to be evil now that I think about it.
Along with self-improvement I read books about financial improvement and creating goals that stick. I decided to use the same approach to finding a mate that I had been taught as a means of creating success in other areas of my life. That was to set a goal for what I wanted. Not just set a goal, but be very specific about the goal, what I wanted and why it was important to me. To be successful in any endeavor requires knowing what you want and why you want it. And so it is with relationships. After all, how do you know when you have arrived if you don’t know where you are going?
I also knew that before I could find my ideal mate I needed to be very specific about what I wanted in him. I began writing a list of dos – always keeping it positive. At the top of my list of course was honesty. Several years later the list had grown to be three pages long. Everything on my list was based on insights from my dating life and I knew very well what I did and did not want. This was not three pages of one- liners, and it was based solely on personal qualities I wanted my ideal partner to have. It had nothing to do with the amount of money he made (because quite frankly the men in my past with the most money are the ones who hurt me the most) the kind of car he drove, where he lived or where he went to school. To me those were all material and superficial. What I was looking for were qualities in the person and not the “stuff” they had. After all, quality of life isn’t in the stuff; it’s in the relationships we have with ourselves and others.
This three page list was comprehensive and invaluable for reminding myself what I wanted and the reason each quality was important to me. And here is the best part. At the end of my list was the disclaimer “All of these things I expect from my man I must also expect from myself.” In the process of writing a list about who I wanted to attract into my life I began to change and I became everything on that list.
When I became everything on that list, when the qualities I wanted in a man became a part of who I am, I found a man who met every one of the criteria I had set out to someday find. The list was lost (another story) but not until after I recognized him as my soul mate. No, it wasn’t love at first sight and I wasn’t rescued by a wealthy prince. What I found was my personal prince charming, who happens to be the perfect man for me.
My husband and I have been together for over twenty years. And while it has been rocky at times, we know, that no matter what “we” always come first.
Yes, finding prince charming among all of the frogs isn’t easy, and it is a worthy endeavor if you are willing to do the work to become the kind of princess that will attract him. Certainly not the damsel in distress – that will probably scare him into running far, far away. No one can rescue you, the only pet project that brings you true love is a pet, and the only fixer-upper that pays off is real estate. Be the shero of your story. Rescue yourself, become the kind of person you want to attract and the perfect partner will show up… but only after you are really ready. In the end it really is all about you, and who you choose to be for you.