Just yesterday, a client came up with the metaphor of surfing for what it is like to be on the journey of life. Though I’ve never surfed, it makes a lot of sense to me. We really aren’t in control of what waves life sends our way. We do have the choice of whether to fight them, sink, or do the best we can to ride them with as much grace as possible! To ride them, we must be aware and attuned both to the wave and to ourselves, and have the courage to jump into the flow.
AND, we will not always catch it just right. We may frequently get unceremoniously dumped and even beat up a bit – or a lot. Still, we can choose how we react to the experience. We can wallow in self-blame or self-pity, we can sink under the water and refuse to play again. Or, we can swim to shore, find our bearings and say, “Well, THAT didn’t work! What can I do different next time? “ We might need to nurse our bruises for a while, but hopefully, eventually we’ll find the courage and confidence to try to catch the next wave a little more gracefully.
Relating with men feels like a mixed bag to me. “Some of my best friends are men!” In fact, a lot of them are! I have two sons that I really enjoy relating to. Of my colleagues at RRC, I feel most comfortable with the men in many ways. On the other hand, I feel closer in some ways to my daughter-in-law than I do to my sons. I do more things socially with my women friends. And I experience a deeper level of intimacy in talking with my close women friends than I do with the men in my life. Our relationships just happen differently.
What is the difference? I think that, when I’m with women, we talk more about our personal lives – from clothes, to relationships with others, to our feelings about ourselves and our lives. It feels “juicy”. This certainly doesn’t happen with all women but, in relationships where this doesn’t seem to flow, I find myself moving away from the relationship. With the men that I choose to spend time with, I find that we talk much more about ideas – from philosophy, to politics, to movies or books. There’s something that feeds me about these conversations also. AND, especially in mixed groups, I begin to get bored and feel disconnected when this goes on too long.
So, what does this say about men and women relating in general? I’m not sure. Does it mean that we are just very different and have to accept this? When I say that I realize that, to me, this means that I have to be satisfied doing relationships with men their way! I seem to believe that I have no right to expect, even ask, that they come in my direction! I wonder if this position/belief is common in women. It worries me that, even with all my experience with men who value me and want to be relational with me, I still feel that I must adapt! Is this particular to me and my dynamic, or is it still part of the cultural norm and expectation?