II. On Relationships - For Younger Women
Common advice on the dating scene (at least for women) goes something like this:
You can't really love someone until you love yourself.
Occasionally, I've found myself echoing a similar platitude. And then as soon as I do, I find myself thinking, "why would I say that? Why couldn't I offer something more... I don't know... helpful?"
We are social creatures, there's no doubt about it. Even before the pandemic, some estimates indicated that as many as two out of every 3 adults in the United States often or always felt lonely.
Two-thirds. That's huge. Some experts raised concern that this had the potential to get worse during the pandemic. How could it not?
I would like to imagine that people have hit some sort of equilibrium. But my experience interacting with young professionals at work tells me that some are really longing for the additional interaction and connectivity. This is a time where it's difficult not to be lonely.
Here's what I wish for my young colleagues:
.... that they will consciously enter into relationships with supportive partners -- supportive to their careers, their entrepreneurship, their passions, their side hustles; partners who are committed to showing up for the entirety of parenting and domestic journey -- in short, the whole complex relationship.
I'd like to share something I heard from someone wiser than myself.
A while ago, I interviewed a woman for a podcast who was brilliant. This woman had done amazing things in her career, lived and worked globally (across multiple continents) in a male-dominated field. But on top of that she was simply a radiant person.
I had a follow up call with her a little while later, not recorded, and we exchanged some new personal happenings. Out of nowhere she tells me that she's getting married.
I was taken aback because I had no idea she was even in a relationship. Hearing my confusion she shared that she'd only known him a few months.
OK, now I was truly flummoxed. This woman is an educated professional who has her choice of mate, and she's marrying (MARRYING) someone she's known less than a year. What gives?
She explained simply:
I am marrying him because I believe he will help me grow in my spirituality.
She didn't mean that he would be teaching her directly, acting as a guru. She meant that she was choosing to enter a bonding relationship with this particular person because she believed the experience of the committed relationship itself would help her grow in her spiritual practice, and that he is aligned to a similar spiritual commitment.
Before you jump to a conclusion here, I ask you to simply sit with her mindset for several moments.
This is not about trying to convince you that her approach is the right way. There is no one right way.
The thing I believe she is getting so precisely right is knowing herself, knowing her values, knowing her priorities, and choosing to enter a relationship with honesty and candor on all those fronts, with another person who already aligns.
She chose a partner who's already on the journey, not someone she had to convince to get on board.
So instead of tired platitude, my advice might be - Know yourself. Know the journey you're on. And then find the others. And remember, "you can't push a river."