“Rachel, I don’t need a man.”
This may very well be true for you. Believe me, men know it. They are feeling less useful and more disposable to women in general.
Women don’t intend to have men feel disposable, they just want to feel secure in being able to take care of themselves. But the message that gets sent is so much bigger than that. Here’s how to have both independence and the love you want.
The energy exchange.
Successful partnerships are built on an exchange of energy. That energy comes in the form of love, time, money, material goods, acts of service, and any other way you can conceive of energy.
That exchange doesn’t always have to be equal, but the conditions do have to be present for the energy to be flowing. If the exchange is too far out of balance, it doesn’t work.
One of the consequences of women becoming increasingly independent over the last few decades is that the energy exchange often ends up out of whack. And when that happens, people bail. No one wants to be in a partnership (or even on a date) where they feel like they aren’t contributing much, or where they are doing all the work.
Find a place to let the energy flow.
So, instead of thinking of it in the context of not needing a man, think of how you can let your partner offer you their energy. This can be in the form of letting a partner do things that you’re perfectly capable of, but appreciate them doing for you anyway. Or, it really can be allowing them to add something to your life that you just can’t do for yourself.
This isn’t always easy, because it calls into question whether you are deserving of having someone give to you. And for those of us that struggle to love ourselves, it can be challenging to see where someone might love us in these ways.
Letting love in is a vulnerable act.
But, like most other things that are vulnerable on our part, once we’ve done it once, it feels less vulnerable. So what follows are the starter instructions for letting love in, allowing someone to give you their energy, in the various forms it arises.
The great thing about this is that you can do it whether you’re currently dating or not. Energy (aka love) is available in so many places if we open our eyes to see it. Try it for seven days and your world will open up, I promise.
I’m going to lay out the steps, and then I’ll add a few pointers to get you on your way with it.
1. Every day, make a list of 5 things you want. At first, the more specific and tangible they are, the better.
My list for today:
- to have a massage
- to go for a walk in nature with a companion
- to eat a healthy dinner
- to finish my weekly newsletter
- to call my parents to say hello
(It’s totally fine if your list has a mixture of things that only you can do and things others can do for you – but you need to have at least one thing that doesn’t require you to be the one doing it.)
2. Choose one of those things to turn into a request.
From my list from above, I’ll take one thing I’d like to focus on having today, and I’ll ask for it. Let’s take the example of eating a healthy dinner. It’s a good one to choose because normally this is something I would handle myself, either by cooking for myself, or going to a restaurant and ordering a healthy dinner.
There are two ways to turn this into a request.
One is indirect, by simply declaring that you want it: tell a friend, mention it on social media, hold a sign up outside of the grocery store. 🙂 And then leave it up to fate to see what happens.
If I were going to ask for this indirectly, I might announce on Facebook that I’d love to have someone cook me a healthy dinner tonight (and then wait patiently to see what happens).
The other way is to ask directly. Again, this can be to one person specifically (maybe you know a professional chef or have a friend who would love to bring you dinner), or to a group of people, like a book club or co-workers or at a happy hour with girlfriends. If you do it this way, you have more real-time feedback, like a yes or no from those you’ve asked.
If I were doing this directly, I might say something to my neighbor who has the most beautiful veggie garden on the block, “Hey, I’m really craving a nutritious meal that I don’t have to cook for myself tonight. Do you have any interest in sharing what you’re making with me?”
3. Be open to what shows up – believe in the possibility of it being available.
As you start the exercise, it’s ok to not be sure if the things you want will show up. But it’s important that you act as if they could happen. If you say things to yourself like, “That’s never gonna happen,” then that will be true. So even if you’re skeptical, allow space to be surprised.
The things you want may show up in a lot of different forms, so don’t get too hung up on the how.
In my example of a healthy dinner, someone might drop off takeout. I may get an unexpected dinner invitation. I may say yes to a wine-tasting date only to find out it includes a 4-course farm-to-table dinner. You truly never know.
4. When it shows up – accept it graciously.
This is often the hardest part! We get so caught up in thinking that it probably won’t happen, that when it does, we don’t recognize it, and overlook it.
Let. Yourself. Have. It.
If you find yourself saying you want chocolate, and hours later someone shows up with a chocolate bar, don’t pretend like you don’t want it. Accept it. Have it. Enjoy it.
5. Express appreciation
When we can express our appreciation for having the things we want, we create the opportunity for more. Be sure to say thank you.
Pro-Tips for Receiving
- Do. Not. Apologize. It is completely ok to want what you want. And to ask for it. (You may be surprised at how much people want to give it to you.)
- Practice asking people you know well and perfect strangers – and anyone in between. Do it with women and men, young and old. Not only will this blow your mind about what’s possible, but you’ll create really amazing moments of connection in the process.
- Asking directly is a little more challenging because we risk rejection. Start with indirect requests if direct feels like too much. When you experience some level of comfort with that kind of asking, graduate yourself to direct requests. It’s a great skill to be good at both.
- Where possible, be as specific as you can with your wants. You might think it makes you a high maintenance pain in the ass, but it actually sets up the giver and the receiver to experience the greatest satisfaction. For example, if you asked someone to take you for ice cream, imagine how differently you would feel if they brought you to the freezer aisle at a grocery store, versus how you would feel if they brought you to a quaint little ice cream shop near the beach on a sunny day (especially if you had a more specific idea of what you wanted beforehand). By being specific, you set up people to be successful in their granting of your wishes and they can feel confident they are doing it right.
- You will tend toward the practical, but your wants do not need to be. Sure, you can ask for help with something that would help you out, like with your business or some handiwork or something else that you can justify as being reasonable. But, you can also let yourself have the things that you want just because. Try mixing it up so you can compare how it feels to ask for one versus the other. Ask for something just because it would delight you and see what happens.
Yep, it’s going to push you out of your comfort zone. Do it anyway. Keep practicing and it will get easier and way more fun! And keep me posted on your progress – I’d love to know how it works out for you!