This week I had the pleasure of seeing Iyanla Vanzant at the Tobin Center in San Antonio Texas. To say that I was moved by the content of her discussion is an understatement. She spoke about many things that resonated with me and many things that I am sure to write about in the near future. However, there was a series of questions from the audience that really stuck with me and although I am not able to quote verbatim there was a specific portion that prompted me to write today’s entry.
The question that was asked, is a question that I too have received on many occasions from friends and clients. It is a question that we ask ourselves, and the answer is one that we pretend not to care about because we don’t want to seem “pressed” about the issue or we don’t want to seem needy. Avoiding the answer to this question is what makes me use the phrase INDEPENDENT TO A FAULT
The question, although not in its entirety, was from an audience member who asked Iyanla about relationships. She asked, “What advice would she give a black woman who is looking for a relationship.” It wasn’t long before another question surfaced, ” How do I find a man?”
WHEW CHILE!!! so much in unpack in those questions.
Iyanla, with her grace and wisdom, addressed the audience. Her first piece of advice was to be more specific. She said, “How do you find a man? What kind of man? A broke man? A rude man? A homeless man? A one-eyed man? A cheating man? Someone else’s husband? They are ALL MEN, so BE SPECIFIC!”
NOTE: remember the universe does not understand sarcasm and doesn’t not know how to decipher vagueness
The next part of that question “What advice would she give a black woman…” and “why do WE have a hard time having long lasting relationships?” In true Iyanla fashion, she addressed the fact that this issue is not exclusive to BLACK women but also gave a very funny yet eloquent response. ( you’ll have to see her in person to get her response)
These questions led me to reflect on a recent conversation that I had with a client who is in a new relationship and having some minor issues. In the conversation with my client I said to her “sometimes we women, have an issue with being independent to a fault….we won’t let a MAN be a MAN”
Again, let me say
- Not ALL black women
- Not ALL women
- Not just BLACK women
- Not just WOMEN ( allows a person to play their role)
History has been cruel to us in many ways. We often talk about the impact it had on the family unit. History has taken our men from us, broken up families and left the woman to be the “head” of the household. Many women have been INDEPENDENT out of necessity. Often, our role models and the women who have raised us have “done it alone” or have been the strength in the household because they had to. Because Momma and Grandma (Aunties and Sista-friends) had to do it, we were shown that WE DONT NEED A MAN. Often times, we wear our independence like a badge of honor. (not that its not something to be proud of. In fact it is) We are quick to chant I DONT NEED A MAN to anyone who can hear us. Including our potential partners. Somehow, saying that you need a man (or anyone) somehow made us feel weak and we feared ridicule. After all, we are STRONG BLACK WOMEN, right?
Now, before I am bombarded with woman-power rants or a ton of emails , let me say again, this is just my opinion…
With that said, can you imagine being a man whose natural instinct is to be a provider and protector, you come into a new relationship and the consistent message is ‘I DONT NEED YOU.” Yes, its probably true to you don’t NEED him and it may be true that you would be perfectly fine if he were no longer around. How does that behavior nurture the relationship? Are you being honest with yourself? What do you need? What do you want? Are just you following the norm based on your surroundings? The norms of your inner circle? Are you making that statement because you believe you are “supposed” to in order to appear strong?
Women (for the most part) are nurtures and men need to feel needed. Like I said for you naysayers, we can go back and forth on this topic all day. In fact I would welcome a discussion on this topic…
We were NOT put in this Universe to be alone. We were made to have a “help mate” We are to find a mate that complements us, inspires us, someone dependable and trustworthy… the list goes on
What I know for sure is that no one wants to be in a place where they are not needed. That stance can be misunderstood as NOT WANTED.
“Woman want to feel WANTED. Men want to feel NEEDED”Ian K. Smith
Do you allow your mate to play their role? Have you identified your mates love language? Do you love them the way they need to be loved as opposed to the way you want to love them?
Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished”John Gray Author Men are from Mars, Women Are From Venus
Are you independent to a fault?