I’ve listened to some men complain about their girlfriends, fiancés and/or wives. Their number one complaint was in regards to the women’s level of ambition and intelligence or lack thereof. They’d complain that the women they chose to be in a relationship with were lacking in so many areas. ‘She doesn’t do this’ and ‘she can’t do that’. ‘I have to take care of everything’. ‘I wish she would step up to the plate’. It’s the same old song and I’m honestly I was tired of hearing the wretched melody. So I started to observe the similarities of the subject matter. The women were usually younger, less educated and seemingly more inexperienced in comparison to the men. I couldn’t help but wonder why a man who claimed to be driven, intelligent and atypically ambitious chose to be with someone who he felt was less adequate. The men grumbled about being unfulfilled. They proclaimed the women were not attentive to their needs and deficient of any aspirations. I was perplexed.
Being the curious creature that I am, I had to understand why these men felt the same way about the women they chose. They appeared frustrated always on the precipice of ending the relationship but never taking the leap. They stayed with the women despite their complaints. I proceeded to survey numerous men regarding the so-called meagerness of their women. What was the commonality? One day, the clarity arose like the sun at daybreak. It was finally lucid. They chose women they felt needed them for one reason or another. It was the men’s philosophy that without them, these women would be oblivious. They needed their guidance. I find it funny how fiction mimics’ reality’s ideologies. Quintessentially, the women were Cinderella and the men were Prince Charming. I dubbed it the savior syndrome.
What is so appealing about a woman who you feel cannot fend for herself? Is there some underlying issue within some men that they desire for their women to be detrimentally dependent? During a conversation with a male friend, I asked him to tell me why some men wanted to be Prince Charming and save Cinderella. He so fluently explained that if you meet Cinderella you instantly recognize her hardships. The unfair treatment she may have received from her family and friends is quite evident. You realize that you have the opportunity to be her Prince Charming complete with a horse and shiny armor. In the presentation of yourself, you get the chance to appear like the hero to the tattered princess. You become the savior and she loves you for this role. When in all actuality you feel like nothing more than a supplicant aspiring to be a king.
This rationalization confirmed my thoughts that men have just as much if not more insecurities as women. They can be scorned by a past affiliation, harbor egotistical responses to having frequent failed relationships or feel unaccomplished in life. Whatever the reason for the insecurities, it translates into a yearning to feel better about themselves and their failures. A quick fix is to attach themselves to someone who they feel will appreciate their presence and make them feel more worthy. Worthiness does not come from the exterior. It is stringently internal. Until some men realize that, then they will continue to suffer for the sake of being Prince Charming. So to all those men that insistently complain about the inefficiencies of the women they’ve chosen, you selected to play the leading role in the fairy tale of your life. Either you’re going to continue in the whimsical romance and stop complaining or join the real world and face your fears. You may find a woman who is willing to work alongside you as you both become king and queen respectively.
Being an adult is not just a destination but a journey. There are so many things that you think and feel as a child that change drastically with age and experience. As a child, you learn a lot of the world from your parents, family, friends and/or guardians. But who you are and who the people around you are, will become more apparent with time. It’s the people you look up to, that you trust as child that will shape the foundation for your adulthood. They are the architects for the blueprint of your self-worth. It’s the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person and a vital cerebral tool in the maturation process. When I was younger I didn’t even realize I had a worth or that knowing that worth would make such a big difference in my personal and professional relationships.
There’s no rule book to raising another human being so there are bound to be mistakes made by all those involved. I grew up in a household where the implicit mantra was “never quite good enough”. What I mean by that is that nothing that I did was ever quite good enough for those that I deemed worthy of my praise. I am not revealing this fact in order to extract sympathy from anyone. It’s just a realistic observation that abet in the formulation of my self-worth. When I gained more worldly-wise experience and started to have interactions outside of my household and immediate circle then I began to form my own thoughts and feelings.
I was led astray. I didn’t know my worth. More importantly I didn’t know that I was worthy. I was conditioned to believe that I wasn’t going to be good enough for anything that I aspired for in life. Understand that I was not aware of my misguidance at the time. That took many, many years to divulge itself to me. However, when it finally peeked out from the shadows the radiance was overwhelmingly ubiquitous. I understood my parents to be regular people with issues just like everyone else in the world. They weren’t superheroes with extraordinary abilities but mere mortals with their own past that fashioned their character. They were never taught that no one is perfect but everyone is worth it. So unfortunately, I didn’t get that memo.
Well I can no longer say I am ignorant to the fact of my self-worth and its magnitude. It determines the type of relationships I have with people along my life journey. The relations with lovers, friends, family members and business associates will ebb and flow with the value I give my worth. I attest the proper calculation and accurate sum of my merit to when I truly got to know myself. And as quiet as it’s kept…I love me. I’m compassionate, intelligent, witty, charismatic, a hard worker and I treat everyone the way I want to be treated. I recognize that I am deserving of reciprocity. I have to respect my worth before I can expect that from anyone else. Whether it’s going the extra mile for someone or making sure I’m properly monetarily compensated by my clients. I will no longer waste time and effort with those that are not respectful of my worth. I’m now aware of what I bring to the table. Therefore, I will not settle for anything less. Do you know your worth?!…
From my college years to date, I’ve lived in a few different cities and towns where I didn’t know anyone. No family, no friends. Just me, alone, surrounded by a cornucopia of strangers. I had to get to know people based on my personal observations, whether it was directly or indirectly, and my interactions with them. It wasn’t unproblematic. Difficulty lies in truly understanding someone’s moral fiber, because I find that people wear masks to hide their issues and insecurities. More often than not you meet their identity ambassador. Therefore, my discernment became very essential. I had to peel back the masked layers and get to the core of the person’s character. Throughout the years, I mastered this skill as if I was equipped with a mental masquerade peeler.
A very important unwritten rule I’ve learned is to carefully examine what people do versus what they say. In their actions, people will reveal their true self. There is a well-known quote that says, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” It is up to you to acknowledge and accept people for who they are and not who you want or expect them to be. It’s really just that simple. I call it “Know Your Personnel”. The expectations of each individual I know are and always will be personally supplied by them. With this knowledge and clarity, I can look at and accept people…..flaws and all.
I get down to the bare bones of the person until there are no more layers to unpeel. When someone asks me why I am friends with this person or that person, my answer is “Know Your Personnel”. Understanding everyone’s weaknesses helps me realize their strengths when it comes to my interaction with them. Expectations you place on someone is about what you think they should or should not do and not at all about what their intentions and actual reaction may be. Once I know a person, they can never disappoint or surprise me. When you “Know Your Personnel”, your expectations are completely based on their behavioral pattern. It’s empowering. You no longer have to ask if or why. You already know why someone would do this or that and you can decide if the person has any place in your life.
My “halftime show” friends provide me with entertainment because they always have something to say that will make me laugh. But I would not call them to discuss my hopes, dreams and fears. I have “attention seeking” friends that I can call at the spur of the moment to go out to a party but dare not call if I’m stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire. I have other friends for that. Then there are those, just one or two, which I can tell my most intimate secrets and they will be the confidant I need. Just remember all family is not friends and all friends are not sincere. I believe each person in your life serves a purpose. So, pay attention and “Know Your Personnel”. It’s still up to you to surmise their purpose and determine if it’s essential.
Approximately, three years ago I was having severe stomach issues. I went to several physicians and they could not pinpoint a diagnosis. Finally it was suggested to me to go to a gastroenterologist. Two months later I awoke from an anesthesia coma greeted by my doctor with the not so pleasing results of my endoscopy. I had five ulcers, a nodule on my esophagus and a severe case of acid reflux. I thought I was going to faint. You can’t be serious. As my girlfriend so movingly put it, my stomach was a ticking time bomb that could explode at any second.
It got me to thinking. How does this happen to a basically healthy thirty-something year old woman? The answer was simple….anxiety and stress. To say that I’m just neurotic is an understatement. I am paroxysmal. It’s something that I’ve been fighting for the past couple years. I know that I inherited it from my parents but I am certainly not blaming them for holding on to the trait so long. A wise person once told me that if you find yourself doing something that your family or friends do that you don’t like, then stop it. Good advice!
I have a problem with anxiety. It’s almost uncontrollable at times. I can feel it rumbling in my belly like a tea kettle boiling but not quite to the point of belting out a whistle. The pressure of my emotions surmount as I fixate on something or numerous things that are of significant worry to me. The keyword here is significant. That’s my struggle. What is significant enough to create such a powder keg in my body? Nothing I reply. But that’s easier said than done when you are person that basically overreacts to most things and in turn worry about everything. I admire those that can shrug off the things that are not significant enough to make an “I don’t give a fuck” list.
What’s stopping me from doing the same? The list in my head is shorter than the list in my heart. I need the two to come to a happy compromise. Fortunately, my ulcers, nodule and acid reflux were healed by ingesting just one capsule daily for about six weeks. I refuse to find myself hospitalized with a stomach full of nasty sores and a throat full of lumps. So I now make a conscious effort, when I feel my blood pressure boil and my palms begin to sweat, to ask myself if it’s really worth the agony. Most times it isn’t. Everyone’s problems are great to them and I now realize that significance is relative.
I’ve learned to go with the flow and be more flexible to external disturbances that may alter my initial plan. If I make a mistake, I don’t let it consume me with emotions of regret or remorse. I do, however, recognize that it was a mistake and not the end of the world. Now my list in my heart is slowly decreasing to match the list in my head. When I think about how much lack of ease can cause disease, the more I can differentiate the significant from the insignificant. I know it’s cliché but “Don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff.”