It's what you give attention to. What you put your energy into. Just like a child having a temper tantrum; you can choose to ignore it - and have it go away - or you can choose to fight against, have it drain you - and have it not go away. Because getting into the fight means participating in it, allowing for it to happen and to continue. Bottom line is, that the result will be what you choose to put your energy into. And most often, when it comes to adult life, to relationships, we tend to put all of our energy and focus onto what is wrong.
I did that. I fought and I fought against men who refused (or could not) see that me being a woman did not automatically mean certain things. That me being a girlfriend did not automatically mean that wanting to be heard was me nagging, that me having needs was me being difficult or demanding. I fought so hard to be seen and respected as nothing more (nor less) than an equal human being. To not be pre-labelled, judged and characterised as something - simply because I was a woman. As "all women are the same". For so many years I felt so unbelievably frustrated, misunderstood and mistreated in these sorts of relationships. For no one wants to be judged! No one wants to be told by someone else what you "are like" - based on their prejudice! It's incredibly frustrating and immensely suffocating. One's words and feelings mean nothing, have no power whatsoever. And the desperation to be heard and seen for who you really are becomes devastating. But I lived with this suffocation and desperation. And spent my time putting all of my energy into trying to change another person's prejudice. I was trying to change people who obviously did not know or want to know better - or to change. And here's where the change-the-world-one-woman-at-a-time part starts. There finally came a day that I got so fed up of fighting against this temper tantrum Goliath, that I simply gave up. I had given this fight all of my energy - and had no more. I did not surrender, but chose to walk away. And in walking away I got the distance I needed to see the most important of all revelations: that I had not been the victim of these relationships, but an equal participant in them. By merely being there, taking it, giving it all of my energy, trying to fight against it - by staying - I was agreeing to and approving this view of women. I was the one allowing for it to go on. No one else, only me. And so, fed up and worn out from trying the impossible for so long (to change another), I decided to focus on changing myself. To change the things about me that allowed for all of this to happen. To change myself into a woman who did not find that sort of man attractive or interesting anymore. To see nothing charismatic in the sort of man who needs to step on his woman in order to feel tall. To not see a man needing for a woman to feel uncertain of herself, her place in his life, her value, her credibility, as a man of mystery and intrigue. (Why are so many women attracted to what makes them feel bad and/or uncertain about themselves!?!) This is what I needed to change. Not the man, but myself.
To change the type of man and relationship one has always been drawn to takes some work. Every woman who has done this, knows that. And every woman who feels attracted to the "bad boy" knows the frustration of being with one. And knows the frustration of not feeling attracted to the good one... But the work is worth it. The walking away is sooo worth it. The ignoring of what does not feel good, fair or right - is so worth it! So do the work. Stop making it all about him, and look at yourself: Why are you accepting this? Why does this feel "good"/good enough? And then change. It's a cliche, but in this case you need to be the change you wish to see. 'Cause your bad boy won't. We aaall know that. Even you.
So with Goliath left to have his temper tantrums by himself, I walked away and changed myself. I changed my whole perception of myself. I drew lines for myself. I stopped accepting crappy and unfair treatment. I stopped feeling bad and/or apologising for having wants and needs. And the old behaviours and patterns I used to accept, well, that sort of behaviour does not interest or intrigue me at all anymore. And there's definitely nothing mysterious and intriguing about it; about a man that treats a woman like crap. And for finally being good to myself, for respecting myself, for looking and walking the other way, I was sent the greatest of gifts in reward: A man, a partner, who does respect all humans equally. A man who is tall enough in himself to support, to be proud, to unconditionally love and respect, to lift up the woman by his side. I cannot tell you how good it feels to have such a man by my side. For the first time in my life I feel equal. For the first time in my life I feel truly heard. For the first time in my life I feel I have value. And I now can breathe in my relationship. This person by my side genuinely wants the best for me, as my best is of no threat to him. That's how it feels to be someone's equal. He is the greatest gift I got, and will be the greatest example of a what a man is for our daughter. This is the sort of man she will know to be a man. And as a woman, as her mother, it fills my heart with tremendous happiness for her. It gives me hope and faith and trust in that our daughter's surroundings as a woman will be better.
But as I said, I needed to do the work to see this man. To see myself as good and valuable as he sees me. Before, I was only looking the other way. Concentrating and giving all of my energy and focus to people who could or would not want to see me as an equal. So women, this is where we can start. On the journey that might seem and feel quite impossible at the time, we can choose what we allow at home and in our relationships. After all, home is where it all begins and our relationships what reflect on the future generations.
And thank you Sam.