Happily ever after

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Everybody wants to be a princess and have her own prince charming who will sweep your feet away. You’ve been hoping for this because that’s what you’ve been told to believe. Do you remember all those fairy tales you read as a child? Remember how they all ended with, “and they lived happily ever after”? Well, guess what? That just wasn’t true. We were all lied to. Let that sink in for a minute.

Ladies, we are not damsels in distress; let’s not wait for the prince to save us! Women have been told for years that they are weak, that they are vulnerable, and that they need to look to someone else (fathers, boyfriends, husbands, the police, the state) to protect. We inadvertently reinforce these stereotypes. What if instead we acknowledge that women are strong and smart enough to protect themselves, rather than waiting for someone else to rescue them.

Gents, you guys doesn’t need to be strong and masculine all the time. “Boys don’t cry.” You must have heard this saying all time and I’m telling you right now that this is a complete nonsense. It’s OK to feel sad. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to have loved your mum and dad growing up. It’s OK to have missed them or wanted more affection. When you let your brain access these emotions, it knows exactly what to do. So nurture yourself. So, this one’s for the boys: you’re allowed to cry, you’re allowed to feel, you’re allowed to speak about your emotions.

Ladies and gentlemen, having your ever after is not to be found with someone else. It is within you. There’s a cliché saying that you have to love yourself first before you can deeply love other people and, yes, as cheesy as it sounds it is in fact true. When you get to a place where you love yourself, the action of loving yourself will come more naturally. You’ll seek less approval. You won’t have as many holes to fill within you. You’ll be more gentle with yourself, more forgiving. You’ll believe you deserve more, better, different. And the relationship you have with yourself will improve.

Romantic relationships are not magical fairy tales with happily-ever-after endings. And if you go into a relationship with this idea, you’re setting yourself up for failure. That’s because the idea of romance and love changes the longer you’re together. Lots of people think that this changing romance signals the end of the relationship, but that simply isn’t true.

I am not against fairy tales or romance.  It’s just that the way relationships are often portrayed in this culture does wrong to most couples.  There is no magic wand, glass slipper or fairy dust that we can rely on to give us our fairy-tale ending.  And “happily ever after” doesn’t just happen. It’s a work in process.

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