Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

– Eleanor Roosevelt.

More and more those close to me are being made to feel inferior. These are intelligent, witty, funny, sarcastic, giving, helpful, loving, lively, beautiful- inside and out- people. Too often this quote is used to brush off an offense when someone hurts us. And it’s easy to walk away when the offender is a stranger or someone we deem inconsequential. Sometimes. It’s much less easy to embrace this thought when the person who demeans us is a person we love, or loved, opened our hearts to, embraced, and for whom we’ve become vulnerable. Eleanor was right, a person can only make us feel inferior if we’ve given them permission to do so. But the problem is, by default, those whose opinions of ourselves we value most are the ones with the permission to devalue us.

I fear I’m getting too cerebral or abstract to effectively make my point. When two people meet they have several options on how to proceed or not proceed with a relationship- friendship or romantic. If they choose to create a bond, the closer two people become, the more of themselves they share- the more of themselves they give as a gift to the other person. And the more one person gives of who they are, the more ammunition the other person has to destroy them, but the vulnerability is done with the understanding of trust and reciprocation. Many times this works out: marriage, family, life-long friends. Unfortunately, the majority of the people I love the most have been betrayed after giving, in faith, who they are- dreams, fears, passions, goals, weaknesses- to someone.

The betrayal hurts. It hurts them and it hurts me. It hurts those who are left to pick up the shattered remains of a vibrant life now dulled. And so often it seems the one who did the damage walks away unscathed. The imbalance leaves the injured party with more questions than they can fully express. It leaves a hole where they used to be whole. It leaves an ache sharp and deep that steals their breath and makes their emotions bleed out. The destruction left in the wake is physically unseen, fully felt, but barely expressible beyond paltry offerings of metaphors and similes.

So yes, a person can only make you feel inferior if you give them permission, but that permission is usually granted as a ‘Terms Of Service’ type of unspoken agreement when a person opens up and trusts another with the understanding that each person won’t breach the agreement. It is not permission in the sense of encouraging or condoning someone to tear you down and leave you in shambles; it’s a part of the trust you build with another to keep your weak parts protected, your vulnerable parts covered, your insecure parts shielded, and your precious parts loved. Those who have the means with which to make you feel inferior are the exact people you shouldn’t have to fear as the ones who would. In a perfect world.

Advertisements

My parents have been married 17 years today.

I’m 31. The math isn’t hard. The dad I’ve been exponentially blessed with isn’t biological and that is the most insignificant drop of fact in the world. Dad is the definitive example of a man. He’s shown me how to be a lady, how a man should treat a woman, how not to settle for less. I have his personality- his stubbornness, his tenacity, his sense of humor, his nerdiness, his awkwardness, his type of passion for things that strike my fancy, his argumentativeness. Dad taught me to cook, sans recipe. The level of frustration we send my mom to when he and I get in the kitchen together knows no limit- she always asks what we added/did. We shrug our shoulders; we don’t know. We just create. I am his daughter to my core.

My Marmie and I tend to butt heads. We don’t see eye-to-eye. But she lets me be me. She cheers me on when I doubt my path. She holds me on the couch when I need a hug. She lets me cry and rant when I don’t know why I’m crying or ranting. Mom taught me how to love music, not in lessons and books, but with melodies and singing. My beautiful mother has experienced the shackles of oppression and hardship and poverty to, in the end, stand. She may be battle-scarred by the fight, but she still stands. Marmie has taught me to endure. She’s taught me faith. She’s taught me to seek God, to praise Him no matter how low things get. I’m a better woman because of her.

We live in a society that throws in our faces romance is dead, yet I still see grand gestures by a quiet man. The world has become tone-deaf and children grow up not knowing good music, but my ears are filled with beautiful melodies. Our pop-culture once celebrated marriage, now fights against it, but my parents are an humble beacon and example.

Happy Anniversary, mom and dad.