I'm sort of giggling at myself too. My interest in understanding men has even usurped my magazine reading! As we stood browsing in the drug store before heading out to fish on Saturday, I chose Men's Health magazine to read rather than Women's Health.
Hey. I'm a girl. Don't talk to me about dieting and beauty routines and how to do girly stuff. I wanna know what you're putting into our men's heads!
(It also didn't hurt that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was on the cover. Hello?)
I told Gentleman Jack that I understood the need to "make myself happy". I also said I thought a man probably doesn't even care if his woman looks like a rockstar goddess if she's treating him and herself right.
He added, "But women want to feel like their man THINKS they're a rockstar goddess, right?"
Ok, yeah. That's true. If we do all of that to take care of ourselves and our own happiness, we do want to be noticed for it. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to look better than the next girl that our man could be fantasizing about.
And men will fantasize. It's what they do. Trying to stop it because we think it's cheating won't work. I don't think they can even help it!
Also, I told him, just because we do all of that for ourselves, it doesn't mean that our men should sit back and not put forth an effort to try or to recognize all that we do... for ourselves, for our men, for others.
"But if you're making yourself happy, why does a man NEED to do anything? Aren't you doing it already? For yourself?"
"Absolutely!" I agreed, "But it's just like masturbating. It's fun and it works to do it alone but when someone comes along that can help you with it, it's SO much more enjoyable!"
Women do want recognition for our abilities to hold ourselves, our lives and our men together. Maybe it's not expected of us to do those things for the men in our lives but we WILL do it. Nurturers. That's what we do.
We also, as women, have to work on the balance of those things. I've realized too many times that when I begin to feel resentment, it means that I've given too much, overstepped my boundary, and now expect something in return.
"That's the really tricky part," he said, "Because some women WILL set up expectations. I want to show love the way I show love! I want it to be something I do because I want to... not because it is expected or demanded of me."
I get this. But yes, that fear is there, I think, when it comes to relationships.
Am I enough for this person? Will they recognize and appreciate all that I have to give?
Maybe it comes down to speaking the same Love Language?
Maybe it comes down to accepting and feeling worthy of the love that is offered?
Maybe it comes down to the very art of choosing to allow every moment to unfold anew.
Whew. That's a tough one.
But I'm trying. We both are. That is a good thing about a long distance relationship. Every time I see him, it feels as if I've not seen him before. Every little thing he does, from greeting me with a smile, to awakening me with a freshly made smoothie, to building a deck chair and umbrella so that I won't get sunburned... all of those little things make me feel loved.
I hope he always tries. And I hope I always notice.
"To let ourselves be cherished for who we really are would be to violate our [past] edict that we are flawed, and to arouse our fear that if we do, feel, or think certain things, we'll be neglected and abandoned—in the most primal sense, left to die. So to receive love is to risk death. This drama plays out because the part of our mind that holds the [past] injunction is timeless—today is the same as yesterday. None of this is conscious, but the bottom line is that we reject love in order to stay alive.
You can't consciously achieve self-love by loving yourself. To end self-rejection, you have to learn to love in another what you hate in yourself. If you don't know what that is, you can find out by noticing what you project onto others, what you criticize repetitively and with emotion. If, for example, you accuse your partner of being an angry person, you may have submerged your own anger. When you learn to accept the hated trait in your partner, you will simultaneously accept it in yourself. Self-love is born out of love of another."
~ Harville Hendrix, Receiving Love, Transform Your Relationship by Letting Yourself Be Loved