If you haven't heard that Prince William and Kate Middleton are getting married tomorrow, I seriously do not know how that is possible. The amount of "special reports" on the royal wedding is almost overwhelming. People from all over the world anxiously await the big day, throwing viewing parties and talking about what dress Kate will wear.
But not everyone is so happy about the wedding of the century. Many of my single female clients who are around Kate's age and report that their "fingers are getting cold" cannot wait for the big day to be over, as it is a consistent reminder of what they don't have. I've also gotten emails from readers like Allison about how triggered they have been getting by this wedding:
I can't help but feel envious about the upcoming royal wedding. Am I alone in this? I am currently planning my own wedding and have found myself feeling jealous and inadequate when I think about the fairytale wedding. I have this lingering feeling that my life and my wedding aren't "enough" compared to the royals.
No, Allison, you are not alone, and I'm writing to you as well as anyone else who is engaging in any kind of comparison, jealousy or self-judgment brought on by the engagement and wedding of the century.
First keep in mind that a royal wedding is a complete fantasy. Their love may be real, but nothing about the wedding is realistic. It is pomp and circumstance. To compare yourself to it or long for this kind of extravagance in your own life is a recipe for disappointment and what's the point of that?
If you do not think you can watch the pre-wedding hoopla or actual event without engaging in comparison, jealousy or self-judgment, then don't watch it. If you do choose to tune in to the wedding of the century, treat it like you are watching a movie. Enjoy the pomp and circumstance for what it is: entertainment.
And if you do find yourself longing to stand in Kate's designer shoes, remember this: from this day forward her entire life will be under a microscope. She is sacrificing her private life and anonymity. Everything she does, says, wears or eats will be under constant scrutiny. Her security will be an issue, as well as her self-esteem, as the tabloids will comment on everything from her size to how she is sizing up as a princess. Then her fertility will be a public issue as she endures pressure to bear an heir to the throne and raise him (and God-willing it's a him) according to the wishes of the entire family. She will see and read about herself on every newspaper and tabloid. This week everyone is celebrating her marriage, but pretty soon it will most likely be analyzed, judged and gossiped about.
Still want to be a princess? I encourage you to be grateful for your own life, even if it is not the fairytale you dreamed about, because truly no one's is. It's natural to look at the royal wedding and think about what it must be like to have that experience. We all had fantasy weddings as little girls; we played princess and daydreamed about who our prince may be. But as grown-ups we realize that love is not about a knight on a white horse riding into our lives and whisking us off to live happily ever after.
If you are single and longing for your day in a white dress, I encourage you to focus more on your relationship with yourself than on thinking that life would be so much better with a "Mrs." before your name. And trust me, the more you take responsibility for fulfilling yourself, the more fulfilling your future relationships will be. If you are bride-to-be, remember that the reason you are having a wedding is because you have committed to a marriage, not to play princess for a day. Please don't obsess over floral arrangements and seating charts and lose sight of the importance of what you are committing to (and don't go into debt to throw a party for a day). Make being present, peaceful and connected the single most important thing about your wedding. The dress, decorations and food are so secondary to the vows you are taking. And if you did have your walk down the aisle already, recommit to why you said yes in the first place. Show some appreciation for your husband, even if he is far from Prince Charming at times.
None of this is meant to sound cynical or unromantic; my wish is to support you in managing your expectations and fantasies. True romance is not about a fairytale wedding but rather about two people who are committed to learning from each other and growing together. True love starts with taking responsibility for ourselves rather than looking for someone else to do that job for us. And marriage is about being a partner, not a princess.
So if you are going to tune in for the royal wedding, enjoy it! Take in all the beauty, extravagance and tradition as you watch a moment in history. Send your well wishes to Kate and William as they take this incredible journey together. (They'll need it!) But please do so without demeaning yourself, your relationship or your own life in any way. Not all of us can be a princess and have a royal wedding, but we can all give ourselves the royal treatment by being kind to ourselves.