A man’s integrity isn’t predicated on his ability to tell you what you want to hear, but in his uncanny knack to tell you what you need to hear.
While working as a part-time Program Specialist with Girls Scout of West Central Florida, part of the mandated programming on money-management required us to talk with the girls about the differences between wants and needs. Over the course of four weeks we introduced the girls to money (reviewed dollars and coins), talked about spending and saving, created budgets and established the differences between wants and needs. It was during the session on wants versus needs that many of these young girls struggled to articulate the differences between these two ideas. As an introductory activity we created a T-chart where the girls shared examples of “things we want” as opposed to “things we need”. I was often times humored by the examples that were provided. Take the following for example:
|Takis (junk food)||Water|
|Our hair and nails done||Fruits/Vegetables|
Nevertheless, what I always found interesting was the discussion that ensued when one or more of the girls had determined in her spirit that something could be considered a want and a need. It was at these moments when a huge smile would form on my face and I would get to play the Devil’s Advocate. In the end, we would walk away having learned something about ourselves and each other. It was in these moments that I found great joy in what I was doing. At any rate, this piece isn’t about my love of Girl Scouts, but about wants and needs. The previous example merely served to introduce the concept and to remind me of the good times I’ve had as a girl in green.
A little over three weeks ago I wrote the piece titled, “Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall, Who’s The ‘Ugliest’ of Them All?” This particular piece was birthed from a recent epiphany I had regarding a dysfunctional pattern of relating to men. At any rate, the epiphany touched me at my core, and has provided me with an opportunity to reach a new, and higher level of consciousness. Since coming to terms, and to some degree—appreciating my “ugly”, I have had subsequent opportunities to mull over how my words and actions contributed to the demise of my most recent fall with love.
In The Path To Love, Deepak Chopra uses mirrors as a symbol of love shared between two people in relationship/partnership with one another. He urges the reader to,
“…look at love as a mirror of the present instead of the past…When you fall in love, you fall for a mirror of your own most present needs.”
After reading those words it took me a while to truly understand what Chopra was saying. Recently, when I fell in love, I had fallen for a man who, in his spirit, reflected what I needed. This means that the man who had, and continues to, captivate my heart, is a man who:
- Helped me see my destructive desire to control
- Assisted me in realizing that I have double-standards when it comes to (extending empathy, budgeting my time, and expressing compassion and appreciation)
- Showed me that faith is more than a belief (it is active and not passive)
- Enlightened me on how selfish I have been; it was all about “Me, me, me” (I can here The Matrix’s Agent Smith’s voice as I penn these words)
- Communicated the Truth about my inability to effectively communicate (I am a poor listener and have a fledgling ability to express my needs, emotions, and frustrations)
That’s right, this man who has captured my heart has given me what I need. Don’t get me wrong though. He has also given me much of what I want. This man who ignited the once-dim spark in my heart has given me:
- A listening ear
- A patient countenance
- Reassurance in God and humanity
- Care and concern
It wasn’t until I had reflected on the following words that I truly did understand how big of an ASS I have been. Chopra notes, “If you examine a negative trait you insist is present in another person, you will find the same trait hiding in yourself”. Well damn! There it was…the Truth. For months I had been busy pointing an accusatory finger at the man I loved, not once being able to recognize my own reflection in the relational mirror.
Chopra continued to “whisper sweet somethings” in my ear while reading The Path To Love. The following quotes are what I have titled, “Mirror Talk”—those “sweet somethings” that have assisted in my enlightenment.
- “…controlling people deeply fear abandonment.”
This quote makes perfect sense given the fact that I have emotional scars from my parent’s divorce and the fledgling relationship I have with my father.
- “In the mind of a needy person, any loss of attachment equals loss of love.”
In this respect, I recognize I had become quite needy towards the end of the relationship and tried everything, but the right things, to hold on to my beloved.
- “There is no way to achieve real contentment, real fulfillment, other than through the Self.”
It is clear now that my discontentment could never have been rectified through another person. The love that I have sought after for all these years was a love of Self (the spirit that resides within me). True love comes from loving one’s self unconditionally—good, bad, and ugly.
- “The difference between a cosmic love affair and an earthly one is the difference between play and need.”
All I have to say about this is: He gave me what I needed!
- “…’by framing this as a negative situation…you’ve missed the beauty in change.’”
When we are given more of what we need, as apposed to more of what we want, change, the change that leads us to a higher consciousness, is ushered in.
- “The belief that you won’t ever get what you want implies enormous hatred and judgment against yourself.”
All I can say is that life isn’t always about getting what we want. More often than not, we got what we need, because in getting what we need; we get to be better people.
- “…all spiritual work is done by yourself, with yourself, and for yourself. No one ‘out there’ can take responsibility.”
As I reflect on this last statement I have to appreciate the fact that my beloved made the decision for us to split. He had the spiritual awareness to know that I had spiritual work to do—by myself, with myself, and for myself.
I have learned that when we look in the mirror, we are granted an opportunity to see the Truth about ourselves. It is our responsibility to stand there and take a deeper look. If we are ever going to grow and mature, we must be willing to stand there and gaze at our reflection. When we cannot do that, we are surely fearful of the person we have become. Today, and every day, I will look in the mirror and appreciate and love the woman who looks back at me. I will extend grace to her and love her unconditionally. I will recognize her faults, but not hold them against her. I will smile at her because she is perfectly imperfect.
This piece is dedicated to the man who captured and captivated my heart. Thank you for the mirror! You are forever in my heart. ELG, thank you!