When a friend ‘shared’ Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook status, I knew I had to share it on again. The world is full of people (women, especially) who are desperate. From the moment we are born, we are hard-wired with the requirement to be loved, respected, valued, appreciated, wanted. You don’t need to be Freud to know that when a child grows up without feeling valued, it has a deep and lasting effect on their lives. We need our emotional bucket filled. Think of it as an empty bucket inside you. Every time someone gives you love (e.g. by giving you a hug, making you dinner, telling you what a great job you did, giving you a birthday present, helping you with a task, going shopping with you, etc), they are putting water – sometimes a lot, sometimes a few drops or a cup or two – in your bucket. And we can only fill the bucket of another out of our own bucket, so if someone if feeling ‘dry’, they will find it difficult to pour into others. (BTW, If you’ve never heard of “The Five Languages”, look them up NOW.)
It is one of the tragedies of the world that not everyone has a family who gives this to them, but others (I dare say ‘most’) do get all of this from family.
But we don’t just need these things from family. We need them from peers (including the opposite sex, without it being ‘romantic’), and is particularly important in the school years. Everyone knows the importance of friendship, which is a peer filling your bucket. We never grow out of the need for friendship.
And then the time comes when we desire more than ‘friendship’ from the opposite sex (or the same sex, if that is what you are attracted to). (Note that I use the word ‘desire’ here, rather than ‘need’. It is a want, not a requirement). We desire romantic love; a physical, emotion, mental and spiritual connection, and dating is the road we travel to see if we can have that with someone.
The catch is that no one (male or female) wants to date the desperate person. And this brings me to my (inspired by Jada) point.
(As an aside, I LOVE what she says about choosing wisely the people we decide to love. I am, by nature, fairly generous with love, having been fortunate enough to grow up in such a household. But as I get older and wiser and more experienced, I am certainly more cautious about who I invest in. Resources of time and love are precious, especially when you aren’t overflowing daily, and there are some people who will bleed your bucket dry, and give only enough back to entice you give them more).
We all know the sayings about being ‘enough’. We need to be ‘enough’ as we define it for ourselves. I need to be all I can be for me, not for others. I think Oprah (or someone) called it ‘being our best selves’. But isn’t the very fact that Jada’s got so many ‘likes’ a testament to how much we often DON’T feel enough alone, even though we know we should?
We need to have our bucket filled before we can be fulfilled with romantic love. Using this imagery, I like to think of ‘romance’ as happening in the overflow, which can only happen when our buckets are filled to the top by non-romantic love. (You ever read a magazine article about having more romance in your relationship? I’m pretty sure 99% of them give advice like ‘help each other with the dishes’ and ‘be understanding when your partner has had a stressful day at work’ . Of course, now I’m straying into tangents of my original topic – I could write a whole new post about how these things are part of a romantic relationship, since a romantic relationship is one where you pour yourselves into each other).
Being ‘filled’ and satisfied with life without a romantic relationship is something I’ve been working on for a long time. It’s hard, as many of you are well aware. Sometimes the desire to have a more-than-friendship-man is so strong it’s like walking through the desert without water. It can begin to feel like a need rather than a desire.
And here I’m reminded of a quote from the brilliant movie Cool Runnings. Irv, the coach, says to Derice, “A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.”
It is advice applicable to anything, just replace ‘gold medal’ – ‘boyfriend / girlfriend / partner / husband / wife’ ; ‘promotion at work’ ; ‘new car’ ; ‘new house’; you get the idea.
So, being ‘enough’ as a single woman is something I’m working on. I do this so that my bucket is filled enough to be able to top up my man’s (when he comes along). And I hope his bucket is filled enough with and without me, so that we can journey together, two buckets side by side, joyfully slopping over into each other.