By Susan Birmingham
How many times have you heard the expression “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince?”
I started to wonder – where did this saying come from, so I Googled it and per Wikipedia here is how it began.
“The Frog King or Iron Heinrich (German: Der Froschk nig oder der eiserne Heinrich), also known as The Frog Prince, is a fairy tale, best known through the Brothers Grimm’s written version; traditionally it is the first story in their collection. In the tale, a spoiled princess reluctantly befriends a frog (possibly meeting him after dropping a gold ball into his pond), who magically transforms into a handsome prince.
Although in modern versions the transformation is invariably triggered by the princess kissing the frog, in the original Grimm version of the story, the frog’s spell was broken when the princess threw it against a wall in disgust. In other early versions it was sufficient for the frog to spend the night on the princess’s pillow.”
There have been many interpretations of this fairy tale as I continued my research. The one that resonated the most with me is the one by Carl Jung who was a famed Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of Analytical psychology.
According to Carl Jung’s analysis, “the story presents an initiation process of a young female psyche.”
Let me put it into layman’s terms and how I interpret it, I didn’t feel good enough about myself to recognize when a great guy had come along.
My lack of self-esteem when I was growing up and as a young woman, drove me to settle for less than what I really wanted in my life. In fact even knowing what I wanted in my life puzzled me.
I desperately wanted to be loved and never felt as though I was. I lived in fear that I would not be loved and accepted. So I kept trying to be better, prettier, thinner, funnier – anything and everything more than what I was.
The only thing that I can be sure of that I knew was that I did want to fall in love and marry my prince. I just didn’t know how many frogs I would kiss along the way.
I did not grow up in an peaceful home where mom and dad were loving and well balanced all the time. I grew up in a home that was filled with alcoholism and sprinkled with dysfunction. Not to say that there weren’t great times, there were. And not to say that my parents didn’t love me and give me a good home, they did.
What did happen though was that I grew up not feel very good about myself. I felt that I was never enough and that I didn’t deserve to have the best.
This was very confusing because on the outside I did have the best. My father was a successful business man in spite of his alcoholism. In fact I grew up in quite a bit of affluence and material abundance.
What I didn’t get growing up were the tools and instruction manual on how to communicate and express what was going on inside of me, my feelings.
As I became a young woman I married for the first time at the age of 21. I was madly in love with my husband and very intimidated by him at the same time.
It was not a good combination, and eventually it did not work out. We divorced after 4 years of marriage. We did not have any children so I never had to stay connected to him.
I left that marriage very broken hearted and my self-esteem was at it’s lowest point, or so I thought at the time.
The next 10 years that followed were filled with my own journey into alcoholism and a series of unhealthy and failed relationships. I was always wanting to find my handsome prince but was invariably ending up with the frog.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks through my own moment of clarity – “I had to become the right person before I could ever attract the right person!”
From then on I was on a mission to discover how I could become the right person and what did that really mean.
Here is what I found. By learning to love myself from the inside out and by being willing to believe that I am worthy of the very best I grew in my self confidence and I built up my self-esteem.
I started to feel that what I thought and how I felt were important and mattered. I also started to understand that if people didn’t feel the same way I did, that was OK, it didn’t mean that I was wrong.
AND It didn’t mean that they were right either, it just meant that we had different beliefs. I was becoming a woman of conviction, principles, morals and values. What a relief to discover that I could and valuing myself.
Things started to change and I started to attract men to me that treated me better as I was treating myself better. Time went by and I continued my mission of getting stronger and stronger, of grow more and more confident in the beautiful woman I was becoming.
When finally one day it happened I found my prince. My frog kissing days were over and have never returned. My prince has become the King of our castle. He is the man of the house and I adore him. I respect him and admire him, two key elements to any great marriage.
And you know what HE ADORES ME TOO! He thinks that I am the best thing that has ever happen to his life, WOW, what a great feeling. He is the type of man I always dreamt about having in my life but never knew how to get. Just by being who he is, make me a better woman.
We have been married now for over 17 years and I have never been happier. The young girl and then woman who grew up not feeling good enough and settling for frogs along the way is but a mere memory now. I am able to look back and really mean it when I say to myself “You’ve come a long way baby!”
What have been some of your heartbreaks and how have you overcome them?
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