For generations, women have been raised to look for their own Prince Charming. We have been programmed to want the fairy tale lives that we grew up watching in Disney movies. I am no different. Somehow, even the middle-aged me, still wants the romantic fairy tale.
However, for the sake of argument, I want to point out that we never really hear the end of the story in fairy tales. In our minds, we equate finding the right man (our soul mate) to “Living Happily Ever After.” I am not saying that soul mates aren’t real, but if we are looking for Prince Charming to be our soul mate, that image is based in fiction.
Perhaps using the fairy tale analogy, life is more like the 2007 Disney movie, “Enchanted,” where the princess, Giselle, is thrust from her perfect animated world into modern day New York. She finds herself in the messiness of real life. That is notable because in the make believe world, we never see a dirty, tired or disheveled princess. That’s a tough one for most of us to live up to!
The romantic story line revolves around her prince following her to New York to take her back to the animated world of “Andalasia”. She refers to him as her “true love”, (insert soul-mate” here). She knows everything he will do to sweep her off her feet! It IS a fairy tale after all. However, as the story goes on, it gives us a glimpse that perhaps in spite of all the romance, Giselle and her prince were not soul mates after all.
So what are the lessons that apply to us? First, real men are not always Prince Charming. Nor are we the ever perfect, never disheveled princess. Our lives do not take place in a perfect animated world without any conflicts or worries. I don’t remember a single princess that was up all night with a sick child and had to go to work the next day.
Or one who was a single mother who struggled to find a way to pay the mortgage, keep food on the table and also pay for braces. Not a single one was too exhausted to think, talk or get into an argument. If we recognize that the princess standard is impossible for us to live up to, shouldn’t we also recognize that it’s not fair to expect our soul mate to be perfect?
Secondly, since we are ever evolving, every stage of our lives is a bit different than before. Isn’t it possible that there could be more than one soul mate for you? Even if you thought that you married your soul mate before, there is probably another perfect match for the current version of you. After all, YOU are not who you were 20 years ago. All the bumps and bruises, joys and happy memories have transformed you into an older and wiser version of you. The man who touches your soul now probably bears little resemblance to the “Prince Charming” of your 20’s.
Lastly, since we don’t get to see what “happily ever after” looks like in the fairy tale, we have a chance to create our own ending. I do believe that soul mates exist, but that they are rare and special. I also think that the chances of finding our soul mate increase through knowing ourselves, being well aware of what truly makes us happy.The deep down warm fuzzy happy. As with many spiritual experiences, you have to be open to finding your soul mate in order to recognize him.
Alan Cohen, author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul”said, “Wouldn’t it be powerful if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew it would make you happy? This is precisely how much life loves you and wants you to nurture yourself. The deeper you love yourself, the more the universe will affirm your worth. Then you can enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you the richest fulfillment from inside out.”
I don’t think Cohen wanted to turn us into a bunch of narcissists. With his quote in mind, what an amazing place to start the journey to finding our soul mate. Perhaps the key to finding them is as simple as recognizing a kindred spirit once you have fully begun to love and nurture yourself.