By Samantha McKenzie
Are you a closet Cinderella? A professional damsel in distress? Do you cling to the notion that one day – ssssssomeday – your knight in shining armor will arrive and save you from this dreaded life?
Even in today’s forward-thinking, progressive society, it’s not uncommon to embrace this concept. We’ve inherited the idea that someone or something will save us from our failures. We’ve learned it from Disney movies, read it in fairy tales, and wasted decades waiting for that glorious day to arrive. And we wait. And wait. And wait.
But life doesn’t work out the same way as it does in movies. Real life requires you to take action.
There’s a term in psychology which dates back to the early 20th century called “rescue fantasy.” It is described as “a subconscious belief or fantasy centered around being rescued…a belief that one is needed or able to save another person from something.”
Men suffer from it too. We’ve been conditioned to save or be saved. To wait for someone to change our life. To search for someone who needs us to fix them. Most of the time, if we are honest with ourselves, at some point in our lives, we’ve acted out the role of the rescuer or the rescued – without knowing it, even just for a little while. Religion can sometimes reinforce this belief. We are prone to wait for some extraordinary act, a sign, a miracle of sorts, before we make a change.
A friend of mine told me that she’s tossed around the idea of opening up a part-time business selling her homemade baked goods. I egged her on and gladly volunteered to be a taste tester (wink!) When I asked her why she hadn’t acted on it before, she leaned back in her chair and said, “To be honest, I kept thinking I would win the lottery, then I wouldn’t have to worry about anything.” As the words fell out her mouth, we simultaneously exploded in laughter. We carried on about the many things that has stopped us from moving our ideas forward, our fears, and how we had unknowingly bought into the rescue fantasy. It was time to get real.
Suffice to say, my friend made a commitment to herself to work on her business cards and baked goods list. I pointed her to a free website and marketing tools. I didn’t talk her out of playing the lottery, I just encouraged her not to wait on it. It was really that simple.
I think I will always be a Disney fan and I will forever romanticize about my handsome prince, but I won’t let that stop me from my success.
It’s time we rescue ourselves.