family is story

Be Your Own Prince Charming

3043668081_bc93be7687_zHave you heard of Prince Charming Syndrome (PCS)? It’s when we get caught up in wishing and dreaming that someone or something is going to come along and save us.

During my daily trek through Atlanta traffic this past week, I was listening to podcast episode 62 of Natalie Sisson’s The Suitcase Entrepreneur. As I creeped along I-285, I listened to Sisson and interviewee Kate Northrup touch briefly on the subject of PCS, and how many people dream of being rescued from a boring or difficult life.

As they explained this common belief (primarily among women), I audibly asked my empty passenger seat: Save us from what? Save us from working hard? Save us from the consequences of our bad decisions? Save us from bad coincidences? What exactly do we think we’re going to be saved from? The life we’ve chosen?

My irritation doesn’t lie with Sisson or Northrup—or even with my Nissan—but with this notion that something outside of ourselves is going to “rescue” us from the position we’ve placed ourselves in.

Our lives are a series of choices. I spent a long time not being very mindful of my choices, sometimes blatantly being careless. Sometimes I was in hot water—for years when I was single, I was in tremendous credit card debt. Did I want someone or something to rescue me from bills and living paycheck to paycheck? Sure, I did. But I didn’t bank on it. Instead, when I grew tired enough of my situation, I began planning to rescue myself. Years of hard work, counseling, tightening my financial belt, putting good habits into practice, and shifting my perspective, slowly and surely lifted me out of my weakened position into a position of self-reliance and power.

I can’t deny that it feels good, for a moment, to dream about being lifted out of unwanted circumstances—it’s a mental break from daily worries. The problem comes when our daydreams fuel our bad choices. When we believe these daydreams will come true—so we delay getting finances in order, we stay too long in unhealthy relationships, we continue working at jobs that are slowly eating our souls. Because “someday” it’ll be fine; something will change; someone will take us away from all of these “troubles.”

Here’s my suggestion: Fall in love with your abilities to change, achieve, work hard, focus, overcome, and fight to gain the life you dream about. Make small changes in a positive direction and embrace the reality that it will take some time to move from your current circumstance to a new one. Be your own Prince Charming and rescue yourself.

©2013 Jennifer Wilder. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog.

Photo by Jennifer Donley