When I was little, my wonderful world of fairytales got crushed pretty early on. I was in my own dreamlike world with sleeping beauty and Cinderella. My mother, realizing this, soon broke it down for me: Cinderella and sleeping beauty were weak, useless creatures who needed someone else to save them. My mother’s criticism of my fairytale world stung. But, reflecting as a much older person, I have to admit she had a point. I can cut some slack for sleeping beauty— what could she do being stuck in an eternal coma? On the other hand, Cinderella is quite pathetic. Instead of bravely standing up to her stepmother and paving her own life path, she does nothing to improve her state. Rather, she floats along until her prince charming saves her.
As I grew up, I was unaware that I was leading my life in the same manner as these passive damsels. I felt terrible about myself. I hated the lifestyle I was living. I daydreamed about change, but never did it occur to me to actually execute that change. I was waiting for someone to change me. I dreamed about wonderful friends who would transform me. I always wondered about a special person coming into my life and turning it in the right direction.
When I became severely depressed in the middle of high school, my therapist was my pronounced “savior.” I was so excited for my first appointment with her. I imagined her as this Buddha-ish, Zen master guru of life. She would fix everything! As the therapy went on, I got angry with her. Why was she asking me all these questions? I just wanted her to tell me what to do! Reveal to me the secrets for a happy life! In retrospect, I appreciate the way she guided our talk sessions. She asked me nonjudgmental questions that centered on why I thought things were the way they were. These questions helped me to foster my own problem solving process, and sift through my thoughts and my life.
Before I got to that stage however, I had to face myself first. The worst feeling during my stage of anger towards my therapist was the deepest feeling of hopelessness. I remember leaving her office feeling such great despair. What was I supposed to do now that my last hope—my only savior—was not who I thought her to be? For the next few weeks, I really thought hard about my life. What I finally understood is perhaps the biggest life lesson that jump-started the road to happiness: no one, but myself, can save me.
I grew up as a damsel in distress, and transformed into Superwoman. I refuse to live my life at the mercy of waiting on someone to fix me, or for circumstances to change on their own. I’ve learned that you have to want to change so badly that that desire comes intrinsically from only your heart. You have to want it so badly, you’re going to stop waiting and try to change by yourself. Waiting on a person to save you may work temporarily, but it is a completely unsustainable way of living.
I believe that no one can have an influence over you, or get you to do something. For me, I got to that point of realizing I have to be my own savior because I saw that nothing more (externally) could be done for me. I already had my dad’s support and love, and a therapist to help guide me. I must then complete my share by implementing changes. Waiting around for someone or something to change your life is like being spoon-fed. And, of course, it will never work because you aren’t putting in the work.
It can be scary to realize that it’s all up to you to save yourself. But, knowing that is freedom. No longer are you shackled to the reliance upon others, or the deceitful hope that things will “just get better.” Your life isn’t put at the mercy of any of that. You feel powerful and on top of the world. Anything you want in the world, you can get yourself.