While out walking the dogs this morning, I had that Beyonce song pop into my head.  The one about “if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it.”  I have no idea why, really, as R&B music is not my jam.  I couldn’t help but think of how twisted it was that there is a woman singing about how if a man wanted to have her exclusively then he needed to claim her with a wedding ring, while she then proceeds to dance about evocatively.  I honestly felt a bit saddened for the game this song, and so much of the feminine culture, encourage women to play.  And, just to be clear, I’m not just talking about the twerking generation, because mature women also play this game of need.  The curious part is why, as women, we are still willing to perpetuate this disempowering story. 

This game, which unfortunately disempowers women, also disempowers men. As women, through images of pop culture, we are encouraged to test men through sexual luring, attempting to see if the man will them see us as valuable in ways beyond that sexualization.  In pretending to be empowered by ‘womanly-ness’, we are merely victimizing ourselves with questions of self-worth.  Men are the target of this ‘love me’ campaign, though they are not actually made aware of it.

I was watching a conversation on London Real, with guest Bruce Lipton, regarding how our beliefs affect our biology.  In talking about love, he was sharing that essentially love is a mindset.  When we see things through the view of love, we promote the biological chemicals that encourage love to be released into our systems.  These chemicals encourage our conscious mind, and thus, the person you are and the person you meet in a courtship, are the genuine beings.  However, as the thinking mind, with all of its subconscious programming, begins to reawaken amidst the love-fest, then we begin to display our habitual patterns.  This is when we hear our partner asking, “Who are you?”  as we show ourselves in ways they never witnessed during the courtship.

In my counseling study, I read study after study about young women who, in self-comparison to others, do not believe they are enough, either through intelligence, or social skills, or worthiness of deserving love.  This cultural mindset that American’s are both promoting or dismissing as trivial is a large part of the disempowering message young women, and dare I say, even mature women, receive through the media.  But, let’s be fair here, the media is only selling you what you will buy, and if we all stopped buying this disempowering and victimizing cycle of how to be or how to love, then the narrative on our blue screens would likely change. 

So how does this mindset begin to shift?  It shifts in our homes and in our schools before it will shift anywhere else.  It’s about what we, as the adults, display, but it’s also about what we encourage.  Helping both young men and young women recognize the difference between victimizing themselves and empowering themselves.  Building into them a strong stance of self-worth that cannot be corroded by external messaging about comparisons of one’s self to another person, or how one ‘has to’ go about life.  It requires all of us encouraging and praising that which is unique beyond that which is confirmative. It’s also about us, as the adults, not allowing our personal egos, or questions of worth, to cloud the choices we encourage in our children or in the youth we engage with.

We, as a culture, are creating this mindset of requirement and expectation; which means we have the ability to shift it to one that values both men and women, showing them in their strongest light.  I believe it is when we trust in ourselves, to be vulnerable in the world, that we begin to rewrite the narrative.  It’s when we are open to being genuine with another, not feeling obligated to misrepresent how we are truly feeling or thinking with empty social niceties or behaviors that feel uncomfortable to us.  It’s when we live from a place of health for the sake of our enjoyment of life beyond that of our appearance.  It’s when we recognize that loving another is not about need, but rather an opportunity to give.  It’s also about recognizing that it is human nature to struggle at times with these beliefs and to remove the stigma that still exists regarding reaching out for help.  We have the power to rewrite our narrative but we need to start now before the beauty of eye contact is fully replaced by a text message.

Live love.  Your genuine love.  And watch your life flourish.

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