‘Once upon a time…’
Sorry, I know that might have gottten you all excited with that opening story line, but here’s the bad news… Happy Ever After Does not exist. It’s a falacy. You live, you die and if you’re lucky, you have a reasonably good life in the middle.
Well that’s how many people view it.
Hang on a minute – Some people really do get to have amazing lives… and not beccause they’re lucky, or born under some special star, or have a silver spoon in your mouth… in fact many with those great starters have to work even harder to sustain their lives than those starting out with tougher expectations. I talked recently with a friend who had an amazing career, owned a string of stores, and was perceived from the first day she entered her family business that she was being helped out because of who she was, but the reality was, that she had to work twice as hard as anyone else to prove herself, not only to her co-workers and associates, but also to her family. Tracey worked extra hard, did incredibly well, and went on to enjoy her own levels of exceptional success in her work, and appears to have a happy ever after relationship with her husband too.
This is a common theme, among people who end up working in family businesses.
Let’s break down the ‘Happy Ever After concept’ a little more:
We’re told as children, stories of princes, princesses, castles, bad witches and evil queens, and the hero’s overcoming all the obstacles placed before them and winning the heart of their true love. From Snow White, to Shrek, this is the story of life we’re fed and so our hope is continually that everything will come right in the end, and all of life will be complete when we finally have true love.
I can see a whole lot of holes in that line of thinking, can’t you?
Some of us will never find true love and some even say they don’t care if they do or not. Many people simply don’t beleive in it anyway – and will settle for a different outcome. A life of service, focused business or helpfulness, travel, adventure and what ever comes up along the way. Some will expect heartache. Many will get it. People really do fall in love, and sometimes the handsome prince or beautiful princess in their stories either die, get sick, change and become the evil-doers in the story, or tragedy strikes and they never recover.
Sounds dismal doesn’t it!
If Happy Ever After Really is a Myth, Then What’s Real?
What does exist, is the option of how your own story is viewed, shared, and how many others it may affect along the way. Are the chapters complete in the parts you reflect on? Are you able to go back and change any of the outcomes? Or can you make peace with them? Is this something you feel you must do? Or can you live with how things have evolved since then?
So, how do you ensure a better outcome?
You can take control of your own stories and decide how you want them to be shared. Who stars in your story, what your missions and lessons might be, and how to then be able to reflect back on these with wisdom, gratitude, and an ability to articulate the relevant parts of your stories.
Maybe you will have to review your stories and seek the silver lining in them, and then put them to rest or share them happily. I know that for some people, my personal story has looked at times like a tragedy, and at others, like it’s been a dream. But while the hardships have been bloody tough at times, these all taught me things, and helped make me ready for the next thing that came along. My husband dying young was not something that I’d wish on anyone, and yet I can also see some extraordinary and beautiful aspects to that story too. Falling in love is not something one does lightly after something like that, and perhaps that makes up another part of the story. But get this. We ALL have a ‘something’ that shapes us and takes us forward.
No one gets out of this life unscathed. There are no final chapters when you look at the reality of what still may evolve from where you left off that last story. Until you die, you can still review, and amend. Maybe you can’t change what was, but how you view it and the aftermath may be different.
And one final thing on this? If you’re still in the story you’re currently refecting on, then write the finish the way you want to. Have the conversations that may change the course of the outcome. Make peace with the players, and their respective roles in your play. Get ready to applaud the heros, sometimes they are the ones who didn’t even take centre stage at the time. But most of all, be happy with your happy ever after enough to make that NOW.
Make your story a happy ever now instead.
PS – If you are intent on having a much more interesting angle to your own happy ever after story, and wish to book a coaching or mentoring conversation about turning your story into a book, presentation or something more, then reach out via this link…