10 Things Women Taught Me.
While reflecting on my last podcast, I realized that the truth of my dating history was poorly presented. I spoke a lot of the “drama” in some relationships, but left out the overwhelming goodness that was consistent in all of them.
It’s safe to say that most relationships have drama. It would probably be more complete of my history to say that I was dramatic, and as I grew, my relationships with women grew less dramatic, and more fruitful.
I began to think more deeply about what I’d learned along the way, and it occurred to me that if I was the student learning, then the women I dated had been the teachers...every one at the right place, at the right time.
So, here are some of the lessons I learned. Each lesson was either told to me directly, or demonstrated to me in their actions. Certain ideas I can attribute to one woman, others to many. This is beginning to sound like I dated a lot of women, but I’m 41, so do the math :)
- Insist on Value: Surround yourself with people that add value to your life; That can be anyone, from any place (even exes). If there are relationships sucking the life out of you, end them. Invest that energy in being a better you, and valuable relationships will follow.
- Sometimes it’s easier to be Mad, than Sad: Life is confusing. When emotions are stirred and disappointment follows, sometimes anger shows up first, and mightily. Often, it’s not anger, it’s sorrow. If someone is coming at you hot, be open to not fighting back.
- Age means nothing: I have dated older women and younger. The biggest age difference was 17 years, she the younger. After several months, I had a moment of clarity, “You better get used to learning from a women years your junior. She’s smart, she’s unwavering, and you might need this information later.”
- Sometimes pain is the only path to what’s right: The relationship I have with my ex-wife is by any standard, excellent. The quality, honesty, patience, and forgiveness in that relationship is the product of doing a lot of things wrong, saying things we regretted, and walking through the pain and fear that comes with divorce. But, it was all necessary to grow and become truly connected. Walking in the face of fear with uncertainty of what may come next has become required action these days.
- Learn how to be loved: The closest people in your life have a better view of you, than you do. Very often their opinions about you are well informed. Trust that people love you and want to do good things for you, because they care, not because they have something at stake.
- Let others be right: Allow the possibility that you’re wrong: “Be right or be happy.”, they say. Unless there’s a life on the line. You don’t need to prove yourself to others. This has been a great policy, because more than once, I have found out later that I WAS wrong. Imagine that:)
- Being Strong is different than being Righteous: Fear has people be all kinds of things, one specifically is Weak; Weak in heart, in principles, in truth, and in love. There is a peace that comes with taking a stand for what you believe, and being honest. If life gets easier because of it, you’ll know you’re on the right path. If it goes badly, maybe consider that you were invested more in being right, than adding value.
- Being Vulnerable doesn’t mean being Weak: Very often, letting your guard down, reveals things you didn’t know you were hiding. Dropping your defenses will allow you to drop fears keeping you from what’s next.
- Make your dreams happen: Be clear about what you want. Right it down. Feel it. Repeat it. Take action towards it. Post pictures of it. Let go of how it might specifically happen, watch for the signs, and be grateful. These lessons were the foundation for everything that would come next in my life.
- Grow: Take suggestions, read new things, drop old ideas that don’t work, take inventory, forgive yourself, find love in all things, and learn how to show others love.
- Listen: Listen like a pro. If someone needs to be heard, let them talk until they’re done. I have been the recipient of this gift from my girlfriend, often. Sometimes, I get real clarity by talking it out. Other times, I just get heard. Either way, I am filled with a tremendous sense of having been loved well.
That’s 11. There are more, but I was told long ago, “Enough is enough!”. Okay, that’s 12 :)