Smoke N’ Mirrors
Like a true introvert, I’m still thinking about a conversation I had a week or so ago. It was a conversation I had with a single woman in her late 20’s. Let’s call her Lola. Lola and I have met less than a few times.
Lola didn’t take long to start a conversation on being single women, and how men can’t ‘handle’ successful, independent women ‘like us.’ I really wanted to tell her to shut it. She couldn’t be more far from the truth. But I didn’t. I kept quiet while she ranted.
This conversation still resonates because I felt like my values were being mis-judged. I don’t like being profiled based on definitions I disagree with. I’m quick to be defensive when I feel my values/character are attacked (there, now you know how to push my buttons).
Success Like a lot of people I meet, Lola, I think, determined I was successful and independent based on the materialistic things: having a stable career, owning my home and luxury car, being over-educated, vacationing too often, etc.
My problem with all this is that I don’t measure success based on the acquisition of materialistic things.
To me, success is defined by happiness and fulfillment. I lead a very fulfilled life. I am lucky enough to have a close-knit group of friends and family who support and join me in any and all adventures –work, fitness, fun, travel, you name it. I’m successful because I have drive, ambition, and passion for living life.
Independence I’m not as independent as I apparently convey. I’m self-sufficient. Here’s how I define the two.
To me, being independent means that you are unwilling/incapable of depending on someone else for financial, social, emotional, etc, support.
To me, being self-sufficient means you can get things done, and are not averse to asking for help.
Being self-sufficient is a lot harder than being independent. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable, and accept help.
Story: A few years ago, I dated this guy who I intimidated (he admitted this when we broke up) based on what he valued –similar to Lola’s values. I know I intimidated the fool, and so I consciously tried to ease his insecurities. For instance, I handed over my car keys to him for date night. His eyes lit up. It clearly meant something to him. I, on the other hand, didn’t care at all. I didn’t care that he was driving, that he was driving my car. I was actually thrilled to not have to be the responsible one. Another time, I had to re-caulk around my kitchen countertop. I knew I could do this, but I asked him to help –well, to do it all.
If I were Miss Independent, I would have been the driver and handywoman. But, I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I’m comfortable knowing that I can do it all, but am at peace with knowing that I don’t have to. Truth be told, life would be even better if I imposed on people more often!
And, so on that note, don’t mind if I share some relationship advice: I suggest all you Miss Independent women to tone it down a few notches with your egos. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m sure it will be worth it.
(1) I can’t control what others do and say about me. I can only continue to be confident with who I am and what I value.
(2) For the sake of sanity, do not engage in a defensive conversation with people who aren’t listening openly.
(3) There’s always more than what meets the eye. Take the time to learn who someone really is.
(4) Don’t miss out on opportunities for happiness because of your ego/pride.