Princes, stop saving the damsel in distress

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Illustration by Katherine Kurz Photo credit: Katherine Kurz

When I was 13 years old, I was told over and over again that one day I would find the perfect guy for me. He was going to be able to build me up in ways that I could not.

While this thought can be a wonderful one, it is can also be harmful, harmful in that it created a pattern of thinking within myself. It pushed me to believe that any love interest could potentially be the one just because he happened to be the opposite of me.

There was a constant search for traits that were not necessarily good ones. For instance, I would always lean toward the outspoken boys because I am always the one to speak my mind no matter what.

This concept has been pounded into children’s minds through TV shows and movies.

Disney makes every girl think that one day her prince will come and boys will be the knight in shining armor for some damsel in distress.

When the prince arrives, everything is supposed to fall into place and the damsel will want to be saved. However, most damsels realize that saving is not what they needed. Instead, they needed to find this strength within themselves.

The ideal partner has not been there for me when I had to pick myself up out of the gutter and keep moving on.

He was not there when I needed a shoulder to cry on.

And that is just fine, because I found these traits in my best friends. They have been the ones to see me at my lowest and still love me.

My friends will also be the ones to tell me when the right guy does walk into my life, because they know me better than I know myself.

All the hardships in my life will be reopened to this potential one. But honestly, if the spark really exists, then there will be no hesitation at all.

The stubbornness will fade within in order to let “the one” fix things inside that cannot always be fixed independently. Sometimes a push from an outside source is needed to piece the worst parts together.

Floodgates will open and we will be stronger than ever because we are able to unlock these hurtful moments— be vulnerable for a moment with each other.

That vulnerability is an uncommon trait in most people. By learning to share this with the special ones, the walk of life will become more beautiful because they will know the wars that have been battled.

Elizabeth Ernster can be reached at [email protected] or @Liz_Ernster on Twitter.