I don’t want you to solve my problem….
Let me set the stage. I was feeling like my life kind of sucked at the moment. I have been dislodged from my home for 6 weeks due to a flood and there is another 2 weeks to go before I can move back in. Major changes are going on at my day job. I was feeling pretty lost a week or so ago and despite trying to be positive, I was having a down day.
I tried to share this with my partner later in the evening. What I got was, we should be grateful for what we have and a story about a woman that he met that day who was experiencing a far greater hardship than I. As I sat there listening I became more frustrated. He wasn’t getting it. Telling me to be grateful for what I have wasn’t making me feel any better; it was making me feel worse because I wasn’t grateful.
So I got up and left the room.
As a communications coach I should have known better, but emotions were clouding my vision. I should have clearly articulated what I needed. (To my credit I did articulate my feelings with true feeling words and not blaming ones. See Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication.)
A few moments later I went to lie on my bed, on the verge of tears. I needed a good cry.
He came in to speak to me and the next thing he said made me stop and take notice.
“I don’t know how to help you,” he said.
Vulnerability with a desire to show caring, it opened the flood gates.
With this statement it was almost like I was given permission to ask for what I needed. I didn’t want him to solve my problem, I wanted someone to listen, to empathize, to hold me and make me feel secure and loved. I wanted a safe place to have my melt down and let all the yucky crappy feelings out.
And so I shared that with him.
When I coach men and dialogue with single men looking to find a new partner I often hear that men don’t have a clue what the women of today want from them. They have no idea what they can provide in a relationship anymore. As women the female revolution has made us strong and we have taken on many masculine traits in our desire for equality. Alison Armstrong in her book, The Queen’s Code, tells us that men are naturally providers, but as women take on that role for themselves we appear to be taking that role away from men. When they cannot or we will not let them provide for us or help us, we have taken away their purpose.
Here’s the thing guys, we still need you!!! Only what we need now is different than what we needed say 40 years ago.
As strong as I can be, as tough and sassy as I can come across, deep inside of me there is still this little girl who sometimes gets tired and scared. (I’m still working on the vulnerability thing, sometimes I slip up.) And occasionally, when I have the courage to reach out and ask for support, that’s where you come in big guy. Make me feel safe, make me feel loved, make me feel needed. Ask any women, if she is true to herself she will tell you that there are times when these are the things she needs, and she would like them from you.
So men, when you feel women just don’t need you anymore, think again. And women when you think you’ve got it all figured out and don’t need a man, think again. There are still things they can provide for us, if we let them.
Being a hero doesn’t mean you have to do some big heroic deed. Often times for me it’s just the little things, doing something that helps me out or saves me from stress. I still want a hero in my life, and I know I have one, if I only let him be one once in a while.