Posts Tagged ‘strength’

pinkett smith

My friend Molly put up a meme on Facebook that was taken from Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Facebook page that I thought was pretty powerful.  I’ve always liked Pinkett-Smith, she’s always struck me as a very strong and smart woman (in addition to being beautiful).  Even though she’s physically so small, especially compared to her hunky husband Will Smith, I’ve never gotten the impression that she takes the back seat in their relationship.  They seem like they have a partnership of equals.

Here’s what she wrote:

“How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.

I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.  There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status.  It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.

He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.

He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him 4 four children.

When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.

Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.

May we all find our way.”

~ Jada Pinkett-Smith

Now, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to strong women.  My mom is strong, my sister is strong, so I grew up admiring strength in women.  I’ve never quite understood the attraction to a woman who’s subservient to her man, but I just figured, at some level, I wasn’t really manly-man or macho enough to have that swagger and urge to dominate.  I didn’t really see it as a weakness within myself, rather just as being a bit different from the archetypical male.

But Pinkett-Smith’s words here make me think that perhaps it’s that swagger, that urge to dominate, that can be a real weakness, especially when it pushes men to put women “in their place,” to be quiet, submissive.  How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman?  These men tear women down to cover their own weakness, and end up diminishing themselves in the process.  And perhaps being drawn to strong women, that finding their strength attractive, is in fact a real strength within myself.

My muse Rachel touched on a similar theme in her recent blogpost “Head for business, bod for sin.”  She was reflecting on the struggles that women were going through in the countries of the Arab Spring, how there’s been a back-lash against women, pushing them to cover up and hush up.  She goes on to reflect on women’s struggles here in the States, and her own struggle as a smart woman in a body that’s stereotypically not taken as serious as she deserves.  It’s a good read, you should check it out.

Rachel concludes with:

“Well, I am upending this story.   I am about to conquer the world in my short, round, curvy, fat-assed, curly-headed body.   If no one lets me have a seat at the table cause I don’t seem to portray certain things-  well, watch me build my own table.”

Now, what kind of man doesn’t want a woman like Rachel, or Pinkett-Smith, by his side?  Who doesn’t want to tap into that strength and vitality to help you conquer whatever stands in your way, to build a life worth living, sharing, and celebrating?  Because a man worthy of the love of such women is a worthy man indeed.

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In this hurricane season I’ve seen a lot more unyielding hardwood trees littered broken on the ground than I have those softwood trees that can bend and give with the wind.  It had me thinking about the nature of strength when it comes to relationships.

Proud, stubborn, unyielding

I used to think that strength was all upside, and always found myself drawn to strong women.  My mom is a strong woman, and had to tap her reserves of strength and determination to deal with a husband — and later ex-husband — who made life difficult while trying to raise two kids.  I think me & my sis turned out pretty well, and I give nearly all the credit to her providing such a solid bedrock for us.  She showed me the plus side of what a strong woman could be.

My ex is a small woman, and when I first met her I found her petite frame cute and adorable… but once I got to know her better it was her strong personality that really hooked me.  She was no shrinking violet or wallflower– she’d walk into a room and not know a stranger, laughing and talking, flirtatious with a warm and inviting body language.  Outspoken, confident, stubborn and proud, I found her strength magnetic and irresistible.

Women in America were for so long forced by society to be demur, subservient, supportive and secondary that today they are encouraged to foster strength, independence, forcefulness.   I used to really find that attractive in a woman, but the intervening years have changed that to some degree.  I think there’s a point where that sort of strength can become a weakness of sorts when it comes to being a good partner with your spouse or significant other.  Independence transforms into being too proud; forcefulness morphs into stubbornness.  What works in solitary mode becomes detrimental to a relationship.

As an example… it’s my nature to want to help people, I get a lot of pleasure in it.  In most relationships, kindness and compassion would be a virtue.  So when I see my partner doing something in which I could make it easier to accomplish, or together we could knock it out faster, my instinct is to offer to help.  This is one sort of reply I would expect to that offer:

That’s alright, I’ve got it– but thanks for asking!

When pride and stubbornness gets in the way, the reply instead is:

No, I’m perfectly capable of handling it myself.

Basically transforming my offer to help into something insulting.  What should normally be a no-brainer, all-upside offer to help instead becomes a prickly minefield.  Do I not offer to help and end up looking like an inconsiderate asshole, or do I offer to help and end up looking like a patronizing asshole?

When one partner wins and the other partner loses, the “unit” gains nothing.  Rather, if each partner is willing to compromise and find a result which both are mostly happy with, the “unit” gains something– a strength found in durability.  Some things in life aren’t meant to be a zero-sum game, and with effort and flexibility there can be win-win.  In fact, I’m pretty sure a healthy relationship is impossible without flexibility and compromise.

Now, I realize that on a broad scale men are the ones much more likely to have issues of pride and stubbornness that complicate relationships, but there are women that succumb to that as well.  Here’s hoping the next woman in my life is strong in ways that are durable and flexible, so that we can survive the harsh winds of life and continue and grow together, rather than lay brittle and broken by the side of the road when things get rough.

Durable together

Have you found pride and stubbornness to be big problems in your past relationships?

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