How many of you grew up watching Disney movies? Probably most of you.
It's the same story: a pretty damsel has a rough home life. She meets a handsome prince. He helps her out of a sticky situation. They fall in love. She and the prince get married, and they live happily ever after. Nothing happens after that. We don't see the fair maiden doing anything else.
Her story ends when a man saves her.
It kind of sounds like a Hallmark movie starring Candace Cameron Bure or Lacey Chabert.
Anyways, we are shown these stories and we start to believe that a happily ever after consists of finding our handsome man. Our parents and grandparents encourage this mindset. They talk about how much they love one another, and that someday we will find our true love.
From the very beginning, girls are taught that the ultimate "happy ending" in life was to find a handsome man, get married, and live happily ever after. We are also taught by society, movies, TV, music, and our families to romanticize everything. "We have to do everything with heart." "We have to let our heart lead us when it comes to love." We aren't taught anything else. We were groomed for a life that does not exist. Life is constantly changing, and we are brought up the same way our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were raised. Those worlds do not exist anymore. Yes, we need the basics guidelines. However, this world has different rules, and the glass ceiling continues to shatter more and more.
The American dream, society's happy ending, consists of getting married in your 20s, starting a career and family in your 20s, raising teens in your 30s, progressing in your career in your 30s, having a home, having a car, joining clubs, watching your kids go to college in your 40s, and living a middle-age life (50s and beyond), just you and your husband (obvi the grown kids visit once a week with their kids and spouses).
This is considered the American dream.
Society's American dream is NOT REALITY. Only a small amount of people are living that American dream. The rest of us are just trying to keep our head above water. Certainly, some of us watch through the fence as those in Mayberry are living the American dream, and we wish it were happening to us. Because of how we were brought up, we fail to realize that we have a different happy ending. Some people don't want to get married and have kids in their 20s. Some people wait until they are in their 30s and 40s. Others don't see that as their American dream at all! There is no collective happy ending. We have what works for us. There is a general bottom line, and I will explain below.
In my personal life, and I go more in depth on my Podcast, which you can listen to here, I'm 38 and I'm still single. I grew up romanticizing everything, had many failed dating situations, and I always blamed other people. Through the years, I watched as my HS graduating class lived the American dream. A lot of them have gotten married, they are working high paying jobs, and they are homeowners. I used to be insanely jealous of them, and seeing their happiness pissed me off even more. I would ask myself, "Everyone else was living my dream. Why wasn't I?"
I started to have inner peace within the very depths of my soul. Everything was quiet, and I had no drama in my life. This was the crazy part because I've always had drama in my life. To suddenly have quiet in my head, heart, and soul, it rocked my fucking world.
I re-wired my thought process and realized that my happy ending is...me! I realized that I had everything that I need in order to be a whole person. Searching for love in other people, romanticizing every single fucking detail, was nothing but madness.
Guys, happy endings are more than just romantic love. We have to love the fuck out of ourselves before we can be of any use to someone else. You cannot fake the process, and you cannot expedite the process. It takes as long as it takes. I'm the strongest I've ever been, but I know I still have a ways to go. I'm living an amazing moment in my life, and if someone is out there for me, we will find each other when the time is right. If there is no one out there for me, I'm completely okay with it. Either way, I have my happy ending. I can look back on my life and be so proud of myself.
Happy endings are more than just romance, and a hand job at a massage parlor. It's achieving inner happiness and inner peace. We may have been spoon-fed fairytale stories as kids. We may have overindulged in Lifetime and Hallmark movies as adults, but that doesn't mean we continue the cycle of romanticizing everything. We can change the course of our lives, and we can raise our children to have inner peace as their goal. Happiness matters, romanticizing does not matter.
There is a quote from a movie called "He's Just Not That Into You," and it is just so perfect. Ginnifer Goodwin who plays Gigi, said it at the end of the movie:
“We're so focused on finding our happy ending we don't learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don't, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn't include a guy, maybe... it's you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future.”
While a romantic happy ending is great, it pales in comparison to the great love and respect you can have for yourself. This is the key that unlocks our own unique happy ending. It will change everything, and you will bless your own life with nothing but the very best. When you love yourself, you are untouchable and unstoppable.
Now THAT'S a happy ending!