Last night, I went to Daniel Packard’s interactive, one-man Live Group Sex Therapy Show. Based in part on Daniel’s personal story, the show is a social commentary on love, sex, and how men and women relate. It’s irreverent, insightful (and don’t worry, Mom, there is no actual group sex; that’s just the spicy title), and the audience’s participation ensures that every show is unpredictable and wildly entertaining. Last night’s show ended with a standing ovation, which surprised me if only because the truth bombs Daniel drops, especially those aimed at the ladies, aren’t necessarily the easiest to hear. Even though I’m plenty self-aware and work with men and women on relationship issues, I still squirm in my seat when Daniel fires away at women playing out the princess role. From the back of the house, I watch light bulbs go off all over the room and feel the discomfort in the room rise. Partly because he offers his vulnerability and partly because he’s funny as hell, Daniel seamlessly jumps from calling women out on their bullshit (not an easy task) to lovingly inspiring them to be the queens that men need them to be.
We went out afterward to celebrate and I sat across from a beautiful 20- year old Norwegian woman who promptly asked me whether I was a princess. A few weeks ago I may have defended myself, but after seeing the show many times since then I’ve come to terms with the answer, and last night I simply responded, “Yes, yes I am.” When I asked her the same question, she smiled and nodded and said, “I think we all are a little bit.” That is true. Hell, even Daniel admits to the audience his own princess tendencies. But the more important question—the one I didn’t ask last night but pose to you now—is whether being a princess is getting you what you want or is just an example of getting in your own way. Is being a princess stopping you from having the relationship and the life you want, from being the woman you are meant to be? If so, it’s time you joined me on a princess detox.
First, let’s look at what makes a princess and what makes a queen. A princess has the attitude that she deserves it—a perfect first date, a sugar daddy, a boyfriend who can read her mind, perfect weather for that perfect spring wedding, a hot sex life, a sexy body, a raise, a baby, new shoes that she wants but can’t afford. That the world somehow owes it to her. On the other hand, a queen doesn’t just think that she deserves it; she knows it. And not because the world owes it to her, but because she’s put in the work and earned what she wants.
Princesses expect everything to work out; queens make sure that they do.
Princesses complain, queens give feedback.
Princesses look good, queens feel good.
My guess is that deep down we would all rather be queens. So why are there not more queens walking around? Why all the princesses? Because becoming a queen requires work—the kind that’s uncomfortable and easy to avoid. And to boot, being a princess often works in the short run and gets a woman far enough to convince herself that she’s getting what she wants. Princesses are liked, charming, and revered in popular culture (“Bridezillas,” anyone? “My Super Sweet 16”?). On the other hand, growing into a queen requires looking at yourself and your behavior, especially the not-so-attractive parts, the parts behind the mask that you don’t want everyone else to see. The princess detox, then, is like any other detox: you feel awful before you feel better because you have to find and stare at all the toxic sludge in your personality before you can let it go.
Unfortunately, the growth from princess to queen often stems from the fallout of a major wake-up call: you get fired or dumped, your parents or man cut you off financially, you have a falling out with a friend, you get sick. Even then, it’s easier to get defensive and blame someone else than to take responsibility for inviting the wake-up call and using it for your own growth.
For me it took moving to New York and being in a new relationship to truly wake me up to my final princess traits that need to go. I’m now taking responsibility for every part of my life – my finances, my body, my friendships, my clients, the quality of my relationship and sex life, my avoidance tactics, my cuteness deflection moves, and mostly my belief that I am special and therefore life will just kind of like you know, work out. Responsibility is action, looking at my reality and not just my vision, showing up where and when I say I’m going to. And it means if I miss the mark, I apologize and make changes instead of avoiding or getting defensive. I am speaking my desires and letting them unfold instead of expecting instant gratification. And as a result, slowly but surely I am starting to feel more grounded, clearer, and more deserving of a crown instead of a tiara.
A queen knows who she is and leads by example to make the necessary change in the world. That is what I’ve set out to be and what my work with women will focus on from here on out. Yes, if you work with me you will learn how to love yourself, how to have romance and a long-lasting relationship, and how to have the best sex of your life – to love your body, yourself, and your life from the inside out. But before you can have all that, you have to let go of the traits, the beliefs, and the princess who is not serving you any longer.