Is finding Prince Charming your top priority? Then it’s time to change your thinking and discover your powerful inner princess, as she’s the one who leads to happy ever after
Once upon a time, there was girl, a lonely miserable girl called Cinders, who was waiting for her prince to come and save the day. That’s not a brilliant start to a story, is it? But it’s what many women do. Through no fault of our own, we are programmed from an early age to believe everything will be all right, that we will finally find our place in the world when the perfect partner arrives.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with searching for love or wanting to meet your soul mate; the problem comes when you believe that this is the ultimate outcome, and that without it, life is not complete. When a man becomes your holy grail, and you feel like something is missing without him, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and losing your personal power at the same time.
“Fairy tales are wonderful and definitely have their place in language development,” says author and professional storyteller Alison L. R. Davies.
“From a young age we can connect with these tales because they use archetypes that are easy to visualise. The problem arises when you start to treat the tale as a model for the rest of your life.”
Alison believes these types of stories can be used in personal growth and development, in both positive and negative ways. “When the protagonist is easy to identify with, and the symbolism is strong, we can find that we slip into the story and actually put ourselves in the tale, therefore setting up a blueprint for who we are and how we want our life to pan out.”
She cites Cinderella as a prime example of this. “Cinderella has to be saved by the prince in order to become the beautiful princess. This sets a precedent, and the underlying message is that when you meet the man of your dreams, everything will be all right.”
Shamanic healer and life coach Sue Tribe (nottinghamhypnotherapy.co.uk) believes ‘Cinderella Syndrome’ is a way of avoiding responsibility for the here and now.
“We say, ‘If I had my perfect partner I’d be happy, and as I haven’t, it’s why I’m miserable’. It’s often a subconscious way of trying to find someone who will take away our fear of being alone or independent, and yet ironically it is more likely to attract these things.”
She believes it helps to understand the root of the syndrome, in order to overcome it. “It’s a bit like putting a sticking plaster over a gaping wound; it holds it for a while but gradually we need more and more plasters to hold it together until one day it requires stitches.”
So how can you combat Cinderella Syndrome and take back your power?
To start, you need to identify whether it is actually affecting you. Answer these questions honestly.
1 Are you always daydreaming about the future?
2 Do you say, ‘Oh everything will be ok when I meet Mr Right. I’ll be happy then’?
3 Do you feel something is missing from your life?
4 Do you keep putting off working towards specific targets or goals?
5 Do you think that having a partner makes you feel more attractive and successful?
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you might be suffering from Cinderella Syndrome. But don’t panic; according to Alison, there are some ways to change the story so that you can benefit from the characters’ strength.
Empower and imagine
Think about a fairytale with which you identify. For example, if it’s Cinderella, imagine you are in a cinema watching it on the screen; see yourself as the main character; when you reach the point of crisis, freeze frame and pause the film; this is the point in the story where a resolution is needed, something has happened, some kind of dilemma for the main character, and the rest of the story is about how they solve this problem. From this point the story could go anywhere.
Rather than playing the rest of the film through as you know the story ends, you’re going to come up with a new ending. In the case of Cinderella, what would happen if she never met the prince? How would she resolve the problem of the ugly sisters and rise above her situation? See yourself as Cinders, gaining strength and confidence, stepping out of the drudgery, and becoming dynamic. Hold this image in your mind; replay the film several times until you automatically think of the character and the story in this way.
Turn it around
Another simple way of re-positioning yourself using fairy tales is to take back the power and look at the story from a different perspective. For example, we assume Cinderella needs the prince to escape her life of drudgery and become the princess, but what if it’s the other way around? Think about it for a moment. The prince needs a bride. He’s looking for love too, and he’s searching for the right type of person. Perhaps the prince feels he needs his soul mate to complete him, and if this is the case then these two are truly matched.
Increase your princess factor
So the moral of this tale is that we don’t need to wait for the perfect person to complete us. We don’t need someone else to help us escape, or become a princess. We’re already there, we just need to acknowledge this fact, and empower ourselves. Whenever you feel yourself sinking back into the old story, try these top tips to express your fabulous feminine side.
1 Repeat several times, ‘I am perfect. I am complete. I love myself’. If possible, find a mirror and say it like you mean it with a dazzling smile to finish!
2 When you wake up every day, take a moment to think ahead. See all the things you wish to accomplish, and visualise yourself a wonderful success.
3 Step outside your comfort zone. Do something different, no matter how small. Take a different route to work. Say hello to a stranger. These small changes will boost your confidence and help you enjoy the wonder of life.
4 Daydream, but imagine it like a glossy, star-studded film, with you as the A-list star of the moment!
5 Wear turquoise, the stone or the colour for strength and to help you express yourself in a clear and positive manner.
6 Write your own fairy story where you are the central character. Have fun with this and give yourself magical powers. Perhaps you have suitors queuing up for your hand, but in the end you decide you’re better off without them. So you live happily ever after, ruler of the kingdom and in charge of your destiny!