We’ve been taught to always believe in ourselves and to always believe that everything will work out like a fairytale. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved fairytale endings: the girl ends up with the person of her dreams and gets married, the evil stepmother and ugly stepsisters get what they deserve, and they all live happily ever after.

This carried over into my teen years with my love for romantic comedies—the grown up fairytales. Jamie meets Sam when they are young and they become best friends. Jamie and Sam grow up and live their lives doing separate things, probably in different parts of the world. Jamie meets Alex, the supposed love of her life—they are engaged to be married. Jamie runs into Sam again after a long time and is reminded of how great he is. Jamie falls out of “love” with Alex and in love with Sam. Jamie and Sam end up getting married and having kids and stable jobs. All the while, Alex ends up with the actual person of his dreams and they all live happily ever after.

It’s more complicated, but there is a happy, fairytale ending.

For years, I’ve been waiting for my fairytale life to kick in: going to the college of my dreams, finding the friends and man of my dreams, traveling the world, getting married and having kids, bringing about a sense of world peace through the use of music. Here I am, 19 years old, at the college of my dreams with the best friends in the world, but still waiting for that man. Just waiting for someone to whisk me off my feet. Waiting for a stranger to show up at my door and say that he’s the guy I’ve been looking for. Waiting for old guy friends to say that they’ve secretly been in love with me all this time. Waiting for the evil stepmother and ugly stepsisters of my life (student loans and the job search) to get off my back. I’m waiting and waiting and waiting for my fairytale life while reality zooms by.

If you’re someone who feels like they’re waiting for their fairytale ending, it might be holding you back.

When we’re waiting, we’re not putting ourselves out there for jobs, friends, love, and opportunities. We constantly tell ourselves lies like, “the right thing will come along and fall right into our laps. It’ll fix everything and we’ll be happy!” But that’s not how the world works. We tell ourselves these lies to feel better, but we end up hurting ourselves even more.

Instead of waiting for the right opportunity to land in our laps, we need to put in the time and effort to make a happy life for ourselves. I’ll admit, sometimes there are those moments when the right things fall into our laps and seemingly fix all that is wrong in our lives, but those moments are few and far between.

Happiness and success can take a lot of hard work. It’s important to remember this and not let the idea of a fairytale ending hold you back. Life can be a difficult balance between being realistic and creating a happy life for yourself, and not losing that child-like wonder and hope that comes with believing in fairytale endings.

So, I encourage you to take a look at your life. Are you waiting for something to fall into your lap and make things better? Or are you seeking out opportunities in jobs, friends, and love in order to create a life of happiness and success?