Might sound funny but it’s true, I grew up with this idea instilled in me, that we women are to provide for ourselves, be independent, fix things and be happy being alone. Based on her own experience, my grandma did not want me or any of her female relatives to struggle the way she had. She had to figure it out and make do, being a single mom with four children, a teaching career and not a lot of support.
So I’d like to share how this message has helped me and how it has held me back in hopes that you will find a message in it for yourself or your daughter.
First, I pride myself on being independent, self-sufficient and strong. These are qualities I have learned from my grandma, my mom and others in the family. I know I can do anything I put my mind to, I am able to provide and care for my children, and I don’t need a man to be happy. Those are all very good feelings.
Having said that, here is where this message has impacted me in other ways. In my relationships, I had a hard time allowing men to do things for me. I took on a very masculine energy and it made it difficult for my man to feel needed and appreciated by me. Sometimes a man just wants to take care of his woman and I have learned that is a good thing. I was also very strong and protective in my relationships. I didn’t allow for vulnerability because I saw it as weakness. It created a barrier and interfered with true connection, which today is my #1 value. It took many relationships and lessons to learn that inter-dependency is a good thing. It’s perfectly ok to depend on a man, as long as it’s mutually beneficial.
I have to say that the feeling of freedom that comes from knowing I can provide for myself and my children, is truly liberating. I don’t ever have to be in a relationship I don’t want to be in. I don’t have to settle for less than because I’m not confident to take a stand for what I truly want. I know that alone I am strong and powerful and independent and capable. And I have learned that it’s more enjoyable to be in partnership, where there is mutual give and take and where both people want to do things for each other not because one can’t, but because the other wants to and is appreciated for doing so.
My grandma made a conscious choice to be single most of her adult life. She chose to put her family first, her career next and find joy in all her friendships, hobbies and activities she participated in. She had a full and happy life of her choosing. It’s not what I choose for myself because our values and beliefs are slightly different. I respect her choice though, and appreciate her intentions. The lesson she taught me was much more than words. I learned how to see both sides of the coin and to ultimately choose what felt good to me.
I am so grateful to have had such a strong and independent grandma for a role model. She definitely lives on in me.