Thursday, June 21, 2012

This One's For the Girls

What happens to girls? It seems to me that in so many cases, no matter how happy our childhood, no matter how loving our parents, girls somehow arrive in their teen and young adult years with very poor self-esteem and low confidence in themselves. For no apparent reason, despite evidence in our lives to the contrary, we decide that we are unlovable or unworthy of love. Is it due to the pressures of society to live up to a false ideal of beauty and desirability, as created by Hollywood and magazines? I look back at photos of myself at 18, 22, 25 and think "Wow, I was a babe! I was beautiful! How could I not have known?" I remember being painfully convinced that I did not measure up to the idea of perfection in the world. Only now, with the wisdom and distance of years can I look back and see how beautiful I really was, in my own way. And even though I was asked to model, on runways and in photographs, and even though I had my share of male attention and boyfriends, but inside myself I had made the decision that I was not beautiful/worthy/lovable, and so nothing could convince me otherwise.

I think this lack of self-love and low self-esteem is the biggest issue women face in our pursuit of a happy romantic relationship. It causes us to self-sabotage and act in ways that convey the idea that we believe that we have little value, then we wonder why a man ends up not valuing us! We make ourselves way too available, giving the impression that we have nothing better to do than to wait for "him" to come around. We allow men into our hearts far too easily, without making them first prove that they can be trusted with it. We give away the most precious part of ourselves, before we know whether they are worthy of such a gift, or even appreciate it. We act grateful for the small scraps of love and attention they give us and then complain to our friends and wonder why we're not getting enough of their attention.

My therapist, a lovely man in his 70's, once said to me when I came to him heartbroken, and wanting to get to the root of why this kept happening; "Let me tell you something about men. You can never let us be too sure of you. Even after you are married, he cannot feel that you are a "sure thing." If we feel like you have built your whole life and happiness around us, we begin to take you for granted. The reason for this is that men are programmed by nature to be hunters. Once they acquire the thing they are after and they know there is no danger of it being lost, their attention automatically turns to the next challenge." This makes complete sense! What does the world consider to be valuable and precious? That which is scarce and difficult to obtain; gold, diamonds, etc. It stands to reason that if we give our heart too easily it will not be appreciated or valued.

The advice that wise, wonderful man shared with me was not about playing games, or pretending to be something I wasn't, in order to get a man's attention, like so many "advice" books about dating. He was telling me to quite literally "Get a Life!" I needed to stop waiting for a man to show up in order to be happy, to get busy living which would make me much less likely to give my heart to the first guy who showed up and was nice to me. He was advising me to learn to love myself first, to stop waiting for someone else to fill that hole, so I wouldn't be emotionally needy when a possible love-interest did enter the picture. By being an emotionally healthy person, I would be able to make much better judgements about who I should give my heart to. The great thing about following this advice is that it automatically makes you much more attractive. (We all know how unattractive a needy person is!)

It is true, "We teach people how to treat us." We demonstrate what we believe our worth to be by what we allow, or require in the way we are treated. We as women allow way too much bad behavior on the part of men towards us, and then we blame them for not valuing us. I think it's time to acknowledge our inner goddess-ness, and to realize that, in the words of Sarah Ban Breathnach "one of the worst things that can happen to a woman is to be with a man who doesn't deserve her, and doesn't realize it." I think it's time to stop blaming them, and start taking responsibility for how we are treated, and for our own happiness. We deserve the best. It's up to us to make sure we are treated that way!

To be continued...

Sending you much love and light, as your beautiful heart deserves!

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