On Learning To Love And Being Loved

When I was a little kid, I quickly learned to figure things out myself since I didn’t have a lot of role models or friends. I became very independent. To the point where part of the reason why I worked out was that I could carry my suitcase(s) better when I was traveling.
Now, let’s deconstruct this a bit more for situations particularly involving the other gender.
…when I was asked if I wanted something to drink somewhere, I usually said ‘No, thank you, I’m fine’.
…when somebody asked me if I needed help with my suitcase, I politely answered that I was ok.
…when somebody gave me a compliment, I used to answer in a way that diminished the compliment – you know, when somebody tells you that your dress is beautiful and you answer – Yeah, I’ve bought it 7 years ago for $10. Instead of a simple ‘Thank You’.
…when somebody offered me a seat, I acted as if I was more comfortable standing as I didn’t want to inconvenience them.
In every single situation where a man offered – yes, literally, offered – an opportunity for him to serve me, I turned him down. Why? To show my independence. To show that I’m ok, that he doesn’t need to worry about me.
Well, guess what, that doesn’t help neither him nor me. Men love to serve women as they create testosterone and some other good hormones which make them happy and feel needed and useful (basic human sense of belonging).
In our strive, to be that super-independent, all-achieving woman, we’ve lost touch with our own feminity. With our own ability to lean back and simply let somebody serve us. Somebody who really cares about us and would love to see us even happier.
And, hey…nothing bad with being independent and able to do everything on our own – but, is it healthy? Does it really serve our greater good? Is taking care of everything ourselves really the way to absolute independence?
Now, don’t get me wrong here – a lot of men appreciate it when women go their own way, are supportive, and it makes them incredibly proud to have a badass next to them. But, when we rob them of the best moments of showing masculinity, subconsciously it makes them feel like they are not needed. Often, this leads to situations when you hear women complain that their significant other ‘doesn’t do anything’.
Esther Perel did this beautiful exercise where a woman and a man, usually strangers, sit opposite each other and share their frustrations about the other sex. It can be heart-breaking to listen to these stories. We expect the other person to be everything at once and if they fuck it up once, it’ll be a lasting impression and ruin everything we’ve worked for so far.
Let’s take a step back here and understand how our brain is wired. It reacts 10x stronger to anything negative than positive since our primal instinct was made to protect us. However, rumors are, that we won’t find sabretooth tigers anymore around every corner. Therefore, a lot of times when the alarm rings in our head and makes us react in a way that we regret later needs to be recognized and dealt with in a different way.
The ‘Why’ is easy…to be happier, healthier, and be able to do more of what we want.
The ‘How’ is a bit more complicated, but the long-term effects will change your life and those that are yet to enter it drastically.
Each time you catch yourself having a certain story in your head…e.g. ‘Why are men always so unreliable?’, recognize yourself first noticing that thought. Secondly, think about what the opposite would be. For example, ‘Why are men always so reliable?’. Now, if this feels strange to you, it’s absolutely normal, because you’re telling your brain something different than what you currently believe to be true.
However, thanks to various research, we know that the brain can hardly distinguish between imagination and reality. Therefore, any behavior change can be most easily started by changing our language, and with that the stories that we tell ourselves. This way, the brain becomes a different focus, which it strongly tries to show you in reality.
So, by asking yourself silently ‘Why are men always so reliable?’ (whenever you catch yourself when thinking the negative opposite or just when you got a moment), your brain will automatically start focusing on reliable actions of men.
Or, when you figure you always catch yourself with the same type of guy, but actually don’t want that, take a closer look at the story you tell yourself and how you can change that.
If you have difficulties with certain behavior traits, which are no big issue, but tend to trigger certain emotions in you because of your past, ask yourself how you can love the other person better. A lot of things (not all!) get easier in a relationship when we shift our attention from ourselves to our partner and what is actually good for them. And, by making them happy, we become happy. And that’s really all that counts, or is it?

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