What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words King and Queen?
Would it be monarchy? A person of excellence in their profession or talent? A significant other? Popularity?
Interesting that such short and simple titles are currently so loosely and wastefully used these days. Lately everyone is calling themselves or someone they love "King" or "Queen".
It's not that I have a huge problem with it but I do have a few observations. It seems that when pop culture fanatics tend to throw these words around, the true essence of being a Queen or King doesn't always translate.
Kings and Queens, "rulers", in the traditional sense have rarely been about exercising power or demonstrating beauty (unless they weren't particularly good at having a positive reputation). Sometimes, just the opposite.
There are very few absolute monarchs left in the world (having total control of their subjects). People assume that monarchs could freely do whatever they wish but monarchs often must keep in mind that their own people or own counsel can overthrow them.
Photo: Liam Daniel | Netflix
Kings and Queens must always tread lightly, even if they wear a crown and robes. Stories of Julius Caesar, Marie Antoinette, King Edward II, King Charles the I, and others throughout history have shown that title without mercy and empathy for others accounts for nothing if enough people hate you.
For the masses who prefer to call themselves King and Queen, the subjects have become social media followers, company sponsors, employees, supervisors, customers, and yes... friends and family. It is becoming increasingly clear that no matter one's status or bank account size, eventually judgment comes for us all by people in these groups.
Most people tend to forget that there are requirements that being the head of others, or even being the centerpiece for others, to be met. It means that owning your own greatness and putting on your best display must not only be for you. It must also represent those affiliated with you in some capacity.
There is a tricky balance that must be maintained like a tight rope between when to exert power and when to be a pillar of restraint. There is not always the luxury to bend or to compromise in order to appease others and yet there are times when diplomacy and collaboration are utterly critical.
When you are truly the King or Queen of your circle, you must care what everyone thinks while simultaneously not caring what anyone thinks at all.
Photo: Bennett Raglan | WireImage.com
To simply choose just one or the other not only makes someone an ineffective leader, but it further makes one incapable of fulfilling one's duty to his or herself, and others to whom one is obligated.
Having a healthy and high esteem for oneself is a necessary trait for survival. Those who cannot decide for themselves and would rather defer to others tend to struggle with mental health and anxiety. The fear of doing the wrong thing or upsetting others can lead to paralysis in personal growth.
In contemporary times, referring to others as King or Queen is simply to show reverence or respect such as in music or the arts for pioneers, i.e. The King of Pop, Queen of Soul, King of Rock, and so forth.
Many couples now call their partners King and Queen as a sign of respect for provision, motherhood, or fatherhood. (Note, if your partner is not providing for you or actively participating in raising the family, this title should most certainly not be used).
Let's not forget... some people actually are born with the name Queen or Kingas their parents gave strong adoration or worship for them!
But are we watering down what used to be a compliment? I believe in self-empowerment and self-identifying but I also believe the shoe should fit and the actions should follow the belief.
Photo: United Artists | MGM
Being regal is not simply about being the best dressed or having the sharpest tongue. It isn't being the loudest person in the room or developing an entourage. It is inspiring and lifting up others. It is taking care of oneself in order to to be available to take care of others.
It is setting standards and having the courage to accept no less than follow through... even if that follow-through takes several attempts to get right. To carry oneself as royalty means being strategic about how you respond when being told no and you get the opposite outcome than anticipated.
Being a King or Queen is to not fall apart when life feels like a losing battle or to take every chance to blame others for lack of success. It is to hold oneself accountable in order to hold others accountable. This person knows they don't only carry responsibility for themselves but for the well-being and advancement of others.
A worthy Queen or King does not want to rule over a kingdom that is failing and has no foundation. They must be invested in the success of those around them in order to realize their own. Selfishness is a tool that has to judiciously be used only in times of self-preservation rather than as a primary lifestyle.
Photo: Matt Kennedy | Marvel Studios
Being a leader or someone that others look up to or should respect means learning when one should sit and when one should stand; when to let things unfold without interference and when to be assertive in obtaining a specific outcome.
When we give ourselves or others titles, an expectation exists. Not everyone is capable of rising to the occasion of fully examining themselves and willingly altering their natural instincts in order to maintain stability.
Some people are too prideful, too fearful, too timid, too angry, too narcissistic to make the necessary sacrifices to sustain a family, a business, or a nation. Some people barely have the capacity to create friendships or establish themselves as reliable coworkers because they enjoy the title of something more than they can handle the responsibility of it.
It sounds wonderful to be an entrepreneur or a CEO until there is no more security blanket and anything everyone else does becomes your problem. Some people are ecstatic at the idea of a wedding or a pregnancy until the inconveniences of making adjustments interferes with one's original goals.
You can be a Queen. You can be a King. You can raise Kings and Queens. You can hire Queens and Kings. You can marry Kings and Queens.
You just have to keep in mind that if you accept the title that it becomes less about you and more about your kingdom. You can only be as strong as those you oversee and the results you aspire to. Restraint and self-control, dignity, and fierceness is necessary. Standing ground and charting new territory will each have a turn.
People will not respect you simply because of what you are called or how you regard yourself. Not everyone will agree with you or like you or do as you say. How much do you exhibit grace towards others who can do nothing for you?
Photo: New Line Cinema
Shakespeare's Henry IV highlighted the line "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown". It is inevitable that as humans we will face anxieties, stresses, and disappointments when it comes to dealing with others on a daily basis. Don't mistake a crown as a symbol of comfort.
Wearing a crown in real life is not a Disney fairy tale. Crowns are weights bearing down. One must honor the crown that is carried and overcome the difficulties that are faced because of it.
The business we are growing, the marriage we are building, the depression we are fighting, the debt we refuse to give in to, and the generational cycles that we are working to break will all teach us well if we push to master ourselves and our circumstances.
I love a good story about the hero that refuses to fade into the night or to bow to forces that exist to keep the good guy (or girl) down.
Wear your crown, fix your crown, trade up or down your crown, straighten your crown... whatever, just honor your crown! Thomas Carlyle explained that it takes an enemy, a fight, and a victory to even attain a crown.
Don't expect things to come easily. Don't expect things to just be given. Don't expect things to be fair.
Your Majesty, your throne is yours to possess. Your legacy is yours to shape.. What you command from others you must first demand from yourself.