Burying Cinderella and Prince Charming
by Linda McCarrin, CHLC, BA

In the movie, "As Good As It Gets," the character Helen Hunt plays is being courted by her new found friend played by Jack Nicholson. Nicholson has many bumbling moments trying to win her heart and in one of them he comes over to her home at 4 in the morning. She meets him at the top of the stairs and cries out in frustration, "Why canI have a normal boyfriend?"
Her mother peaks out from the doorway inside and says, "Honey...Because there aren't any."
It's the defining moment in their relationship and they find some common ground in the taking a walk to the bakery just opening up at 4 a.m. down the street.

Now, so as not to seem sexist, I'll include the female gender in the question, "Why can't I have a normal girlfriend?"

The answer still stands, "Because there aren't any! Cinderella and Prince Charming do not exist. Much to the dismay of many a man and woman, the fairy tale does not exist. If you're looking for the perfect mate, it ain'tt gonna happen! These are magical beliefs we grow up with and magical beliefs perpetuate the negative belief that "When I get what I wan...then I'll be happy! When Prince Charming saves me or Cinderella fits into my glass slipper then I'll be happy!

We think that someone else is going to save us!
From what, you ask? Now that’s a very good question and I maintain the answer is from ourselves. We all want someone to rescued us from something that we aren't good or unwilling to learn or change. And maybe, just maybe, that is part of the attraction. We like how the other handles himself in a social setting or how her analytical mind problem solves every day mishaps. We like it, that is, until we get stronger, attempt to handle a situation and our partner butts in or criticizes our attempts for trying. At this point you feel resentful because he/she saved us and now they're criticizing us for standing up for ourselves!

Happiness can't be picked in somebody else's garden. Society reinforces the idea of what Hollywood puts on the screen. Happily ever after, My Knight in Shining Armor, are all phrases we've heard at one time or another and as children or teenagers, we believed them. But we're not kids anymore and we have to take Cinderella and Prince Charming off of the shelf and bury them in the backyard! To live otherwise is negating your strengths and giving your power to someone else. This is the root of any kind of abuse or neglect.

The question is then, how do I find a half-way normal partner?

It all comes from within. Like Glenda, the Good Witch, said to Dorothy, You've always had the power to go back to Kansas; so too, do you, have the ability to find your heart's desire by reaching inside and getting to know yourself. You have to BE the love you want to attract in your life. We attract who we are!

For example, if you were raised in a critical environment, most likely you will be critical, too. Unless, of course, you are aware of this and take action. The action is simply to make your own choices.
I was once neighbors with a man whose dad had had nothing good to say about him when he was growing up. He vowed he would never do that to his own child. You have to be careful, though, because it can backfire on you. I know someone who said she would never become her mother. Instead she became her father who felt sorry for himself and looked at the world through woe-is-me eyes. These kind of people aren't happy campers by unconsciously holding onto their old ways. So where to go from here?

Imagine that you are a full circle and your mate is a full circle also. Each one represents a whole person. Make these concentric circles and you have two human beings becoming one in some areas of their life. The trouble comes when the two circles are so enmeshed that they look like one or that they don't connect at all, thus having so much independence that it’s hard to tell if they're even a couple.

Life is constantly reminding us of the boundaries that we make or do not make. Boundaries are not an easy thing for parents to impart to their kids. Perhaps by modeling how to handle situations is a far better education than by telling them what to do. But none of us had perfect parenting and so most of us live out our lives directing and redirecting ourselves through different circumstances. Questions arise like "How much should I tell my date about myself, my family, my money, my past loves, etc.?" And then, when do I tell it? These and many other questions arise as we enter into the dating world again. It's not easy the next time around. If you keep ending up with the same kind of person attached to your hip, you may want to ask yourself, & How did I do this AGAIN?; Why is this happening to me again?

The answer is simple, but not easy to do. It takes a lot of self-awareness and courage to go where you haven't gone before. And where is that place, you ask???? Ah, the Great Within! But what do you mean? I’m just fine the way I am!! Oh, I see and what egghead did you attract this time? Unless you like the feeling of your head meeting up against the wall a few times, why do you not stop and take a look at what's going on inside? You nowtake a look at what's going on under the hood! Does your mind need a lube job? Maybe you're running out of fluids? Is your antennae screwed on correctly? Is it picking up the signals you need to get a clear signal?

There's an old story that goes like this: "If I stub my toe, and it hurts for 5 minutes, all I've done is stub my toe. But, if it hurts for 5 hours, or 5 days, or 5 months, or 5 years, or 25 YEARS!!! Well, I have an infected toe! I have something going on inside of me that keeps me attracting the same kind of person in my life. So, again, what to do?

I'll be the first to tell you that this is not the work for the faint of heart. It means we have to take a good look at some of the ways we were brought up. What was our parent’s relationship like? Did they honor one another? Was there humor in their relationship? (This is assuming you value a sense of humor in your partner!) Was one always trying to fix the other?
A lot of times, we play out what we saw or experienced and that will either make or break our relationships.

So, as Glinda was trying to tell Dorothy that she always had the power within her to get back to Kansas, so, too, do you have the power to get back to your Self! That's with a capital S Because it's your Self, your real Self you're looking to find. Not the one that mom or dad said you should be, or Aunt Hadie or your 5th grade teacher! It's who you are...your likes and dislikes, (not those imposed on you), your real talents and beliefs...not the Fairy Tale promises we were told as kids!

Just recently, I heard a story about a boy who was thirteen years old when he found out there was not Santa Claus. Yep! Thirteen! How the truth got past him, I’m not sure, being that he was a star athlete in his school, no less! He overheard a conversation about how a relative was going to break the news to his nine year old that was having some suspicions about the authenticity of the jolly old man in the red suit. He went home and confronted his mother (the mother always gets the job!) that she lied to him. After a short talk, he “got it,” and all was well. My point is that we adults aren’t much different than this 13 year old who one would think knew the history of Santa. We, as adults, should know that there aren't any Prince Charmings or Sleeping Beauties waiting around the corner for us. But what do we do that perpetuates the myth? We girls keep THINKING that there are normal boyfriends just as Helen Hunt's character did and the men think there are Story Book ladies just waiting to adore them, as well.

So the next time you’re online waiting for the next "Wink", or "Hi Beautiful" to pop up on the screen remember that Dorothy didn't need the man behind the curtain to get her back to Kansas. She had the power all along& dinside her.

Copyright December 2008
Linda McCarrin
Ripple Effect Presentations

Author's Bio: 

Linda McCarrin, owner of The Ripple Effect Personal & Professional Development is a Chicago born native who has had interesting and varied careers. Her careers have led her to being a Stay-At- Home Mom, a teacher of gifted and “at risk” middle-grade children, a realtor and broker, a director of marketing for healthcare, and a counselor at a drug and alcohol treatment center.

Despite what she learned in each career, it wasn’t until she experienced her own life challenges or “personal tsunami’s” of a brain tumor and breast cancer that led her to embark on the path of Certified Life Coach and Holistic Counselor.

Today she helps others discover how their past programming and conditioning either serves or sabotages them and how it shows up in their relationships, jobs, and other life choices.

You can find several articles Linda has written on Blogger.com, Self Growth.com and other social networks.

Note: Definition of a holistic life coach and counselor

Holistic life coaches enhance personal development from a multi-directional approach – viewing the person as a complete being – rather than an individual who may have an unresolved challenge. When a coach views all possible contributions to the current situation, a better and more comprehensive resolution is created.