What You Can Learn About Finding Love From Wonder Woman (& Gal Gadot)

Photo: movieweb.com
wonder woman
Love, Self

We think that being in love will make us happy. It won't.

You were brainwashed as a young girl to believe that falling in love would make you happy. Maybe you believe you’re unhappy now because you’re not in love. Maybe you’re in love, but you’re not happy, so you wonder if you’re with the wrong man.

If you’re looking for love and happiness, it’s time to give up the Cinderella mindset and adopt the Wonder Woman mindset instead.

You remember Cinderella, the gal whose life was a series of hardships until she was swept off her feet, fell in love, married the handsome prince, and lived happily ever after? That works in fairy tales, but it doesn’t work in real life.  

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When living with the Cinderella mindset, our happiness depends on being loved by a man. We feel we need a man to find happiness and fulfillment — that we can’t be happy if we’re alone. We can't be happy if we don’t have a castle and a carriage. We can’t be happy if we don’t have a family.

After all, marriage and becoming a mother are the ultimate expressions of true womanhood. Who wouldn’t want that?

Society only furthers this Cinderella mindset by passing harsh judgment on women who remain unmarried or childless. Remember the card game “Old Maid?”

Jane Austen novels are cautionary tales about the dangers of ending up as a spinster. Miss Marple and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle remind us of how eccentric you become when you are widowed and childless. And, for Maude in the movie Harold and Maude, happiness is framed as a choice between vice and virtue; but if genders were reversed, the movie would have been a tender story about a May-December romance, not a cult classic.

Old research reinforces that message. For years, we’ve been told that couples live happier and healthier lives than singles. Being single meant living a short, meaningless life. Who wouldn’t be desperate to couple up, cohabitate, and get married?

So, what’s a single gal to do?

First, it’s important to separate truth from fantasy.

Yes, Cinderella married the handsome prince and rode off into the sunset to live happily ever after in a castle. But her story ends before the happy couple has their first argument over his stag hunting or her shoe collection. We don’t hear about Cinderella covered in spit-up changing diapers with a case of the flu or having PMS or going through menopause.

The same is true for real-life Cinderellas like Grace Kelly, Princess Diana, and Amal Clooney. Even for the Cinderellas of the world, marriage isn’t a picnic. It’s hard work. They just don’t cover that in the gossip columns.

Second, we need to recognize how the Cinderella mindset disempowers us.

How can you feel strong and resilient if you believe you're weak and you’re waiting to be rescued? How can you be self-confident if you believe you are incomplete without a man? How can you take control of your own happiness if being happy depends on living in a castle with a man who loves you, factors over which you have no control?

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Here’s where Gal Gadot and the Wonder Woman mindset comes in. Why has Wonder Woman had such an enormous social impact on girls and women from all walks of life? Gal Gadot showed us what a strong, independent woman looks like, both in her portrayal of Wonder Woman and in her real life. She gifted us an alternative, empowering narrative to living a happy life.

Wonder Woman shows women that you don’t need men to be happy.

The Amazons aren’t sad, lonely, barren spinsters. They are strong and capable. They have a lot to offer. They live happy, healthy lives without men. They cooperate, collaborate, and handle all the challenges of life without men.

A November 2017 study by Mintel, a global market research firm, shows that 61 percent of single women are happy being single and 75 percent are not looking for love. That’s thinking like an Amazon!

Wonder Woman also shows women that you don’t need material possessions to be happy.

The Amazons live simple lives. Wonder Woman set off from Themiscyra by herself with a couple of magic bracelets and a sword. It’s pretty basic stuff.  

Research backs that up. David Clingingsmith at Case Western Reserve University did a study that shows that money can buy happiness until your annual income hits about $70,000; after $200,000, there’s zero additional benefit on happiness.

Wonder Woman shows us how to create our own happiness from the inside out — forged from factors we can control.

Wonder Woman shows us that women are whole and complete, with or without a man.

Gal Gadot, and her character, Wonder Woman, show us the value of contribution. In her real life, Gadot is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, a former Israeli soldier, and a mother of two. When she and her husband owned the Varsano Hotel, a luxury hotel in Tel Aviv, she helped with housekeeping. Wonder Woman leaves her home and loved ones to fight for humanity.

A recent poll on happiness shows that 93 percent of people are happier when they help someone else compared to when they are helped! That’s thinking like Wonder Woman!

But, what if you’re one of the 39 percent of single women who aren’t happy being single, or one of the 25 percent of happy single women who are looking for love?

It’s not enough to be attractive, family-oriented, empathetic, consistent, giving, friendly, and loving.

Men want women who know who they are and what they want. They want women who can communicate their needs. Men want confidence, independence, intelligence, ambition, a sense of humor, emotional maturity, low maintenance, and adventurousness.

More importantly, men want women who know how to make themselves happy — not women who expect men to be responsible for their happiness.

In other words, being happy makes you attractive to men. If you want a happy relationship, you need to be a happy person first.

Goodbye Cinderella, hello Wonder Woman!

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Gretchen Martens is an author, speaker, coach, and happiness expert who helps support people in their pursuit of life transformation and change. Join her open Facebook community, The Happiness Society, to learn more or follow her on Twitter at @GretchenMartens.