What I learned from Disney
I have a few friends who will probably murder me for this, but I learned a great deal about life from Disney movies. Today I was reminded of Aladdin, which has always been a favorite. There’s a great scene in the movie where the Genie lists the rules of wish making, two of which are; I can’t make anybody fall in love with anybody else. I can’t bring people back from the dead.
Yup, even having a Genie can’t make someone fall in love with you. While you may never really think about it, we all spend a great deal of our lives trying to make people love us. Its most obvious with romantic love because it’s the setting in which we let go of so much of ourselves and open the doorway to fear and self-esteem issues.
In yet another fairy-tale movie (yes, I’m a fan) the step mother says to her two daughters “Remember girls, we hide our flaws till after the wedding”. While I know it’s just a movie, that kind of thinking is prolific and incredibly destructive. Everyone wants to present their best face at the start of a relationship, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you are presenting a person that isn’t you, it’s easy to get sucked into a belief that the authentic you isn’t good enough.
People are often more intuitive than we give them credit for. A guy knows that you don’t really like rugby despite your stoic presence in the rain at matches. He probably knows that you don’t find his habit of falling asleep on your couch (which you will have to clean) covered in crumbs and sauce, as cute as you may say you do. Most of us make allowances for small lies like these at the begining but later on in a relationship when people stop trying to hide their percieved flaws, real intimacy develops and we are more secure, but more vulnerable. If that relationship then fails, it often sparks a belief that revealing our true selves was a cause of the split, after all who would love us as we are… right?
Sometimes no matter how much people care about each other, how well they get on, how “good” together a couple might be, it just doesn’t work. I don’t think most breakups are about flaws or being imperfect. I believe that it’s about imbalance. When a relationship doesn’t work it often means that one person is less invested than the other. One is putting less effort into the relationship. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t care about their partner, it means that being a part of that relationship isn’t as important to them as it should be.
We are so quick to look at ourselves and believe that we are not good enough. That in some way we have been found wanting, but is this really the truth? How many times have you looked carefully at a failed relationship and honestly analyzed it?
I have sat over many glasses of wine listening to friends wailing variations of “if I was sexier/more spontaneous/liked his interests more/complained less, then maybe we would still be together”. I said these very things myself. But what if we looked at a relationship and instead of placing blame on our imperfect natures, we said the things that deep down we know to be true. Think about your past relationships for a moment and see if any of these fit;
“I don’t think we were emotionally mature enough to commit”
“He cares about me but doesn’t provide what I really need in a partnership”
“We love each other but there isn’t enough effort put in to maintain our relationship”
“I love him, but I need to resolve my insecurities which lead to trust issues before I can commit”
"We are actually not a good match but Im scared of being alone so I keep pushing for it to be right"
“He’s actually just an assbag and I deserve much much better”
Doesn’t that make a great deal more sense than sitting around sobbing into your fifteenth martini that you’re not good enough?
When we start to accept that we cannot be responsible for how our partners (or ex) feel and react, we can start to let go of the belief that we are responsible for not being loved enough (Exception: if you are going through his garbage at night and sending creepy notes with bits of your appendix attached… It may be your fault – yes true story). We can start to see that relationships are about more than good chemistry and shared interests. They take work, and that can be scary.
If your partner, or love interest does not genuinely want to be in a relationship with you, and won’t put in the effort required, that is not your fault. It is their own issue that they must grow to overcome. Nothing you do or say can change that. Or maybe, you're just in the wrong relationship.
It does not matter who you are, what you look like or what your interests are, you cannot make a person love you. Not even a Genie can make someone love you if they aren’t ready to love, and he can’t bring that love back from the dead.