- Gender and Relationships
An Appreciation of Women
I am an observer of human nature. In truth I think I have always been and I hope I always will be. I find humans fascinating and the more I observe the more I come to the realization that we are all alike in so many ways. Despite the masks we wear from time to time we all have some very basic similarities. We laugh….we cry….we hope….we have dreams….we love….we hurt….we experience pain and joy and we all have the capacity for compassion and empathy as well as cruelty and selfishness.
Watching others struggle between their higher calling and their need for self-gratification, not in an attempt to judge but rather in hopes that I might learn more about myself, makes me realize that finger-pointing is a rather enormous waste of my energy. I cannot in good faith judge others until I judge myself and oftentimes I will come away from the experience realizing that it is I who has work to do rather than others.
I have only reached this realization by understanding the importance of humility and how it is the polar opposite of ego. With humility comes peace of mind. With humility comes a quietness of heart. With humility comes a willingness….no, a need….to help others rather than the self-serving nature of the ego.
It has taken me decades to reach the point in my life where humility outweighs ego and for the most part I now have that long-sought peace of mind. I am now free to appreciate the finer things in life, things that cost nothing other than the time and effort to discover them. One of my discoveries along this journey is the appreciation I now have for women. They really are extraordinary creatures and I shudder at the thought of not having some very courageous and loving women in my life. If you don’t mind I’m going to take you along with me as we take a look at my observations over time regarding women.
Let’s Go Back in Time
Without a doubt the first woman of any significance in my life that I can remember was my mother. To say that she loved me would be a disservice to her; she in fact adored me and remained my number one fan until the day she died in 2003.
When I think about my mother there is one word that comes to mind more than any other and that word is unconditional. Her love for me had no requirements and came with no price tag. She loved me despite my transgressions and selfish acts and she loved me long before I learned to love myself. For decades she was the quiet anchor that gave me refuge from the stormy life I had created. No matter the crisis, usually self-inflicted, no matter the mistakes and self-destructive behavior, the one safe harbor for me was my mother.
My mother was the first glimpse I had into the unselfish nature of good women. She gave of herself, often at great sacrifice, and then would give again and again, always there for me, always providing support, always providing love. Mind you I didn’t really see this when I was young; one grows up taking this kind of love for granted. It’s what we expect from parents and especially from mothers. They are always in our background loving us, going quietly about their lives providing comfort for their children. The real abnormality would be to have a mother who didn’t do these things; I know people who are close to me who did not have that type of relationship with their mothers and I feel bad for them because I, in fact, had a gold medal type of mother.
I began to see glimpses of a woman’s nature when I was young. I had many friends who were girls and I greatly enjoyed their company. They were sweet and kind and did not judge this nerd and his nerdy ways as I stumbled through adolescence. My oldest and dearest friend, Judy, who I have known since I was three, is as kind a person as you would ever want to meet. There have been countless others from my early years who showed me the true nature of a woman, that selfless state of being that offers love freely without expectations. My sister instantly comes to mind when I think of the loving being that is woman. I was always her little brother and she always treated me with love even though there were times I questioned her sanity for doing so.
I learned early on that the girls in my life were kindred spirits. I was a quiet, sensitive and emotional youngster and in girls I found others like me. I was allowed to be me around girls instead of the constant male posturing that was so exhausting. I was being given free schooling in the ways of being a better person and although I did not realize it at the time the lessons were deposited in my psyche for later years when I would be more receptive.
Oh how slow we men are to learn. Hormones and testosterone seem to block our good sense as we move into our adulthood. The games we play to attract a woman; the lies we tell to hold onto them. All for naught because the greatest lesson I learned after surviving those adulthood years is that women are much more attracted to a man if he is sensitive and honest and willing to show his true self. I sense that women need to reach this growth stage themselves just as men do, but ingrained in each of them is the desire to be with a man who will be supportive, truthful and appreciative of them for who they are and not some manufactured image of them. It took me seemingly forever to learn this lesson. If you strip away the bull and toss away all the pretense a woman simply wants to know that she is respected and will be loved years after the beauty of youth has left her.
Are women insecure? I believe that many are but honestly no more so than men. We of the male persuasion are very adept at masking our insecurities and we may appear to have our act together but deep down inside each of us is a need to be accepted for who we are. Throw away the male bark and bite and you will find a frightened little boy who is afraid to show who he really is, a human cauldron of emotions with no way to express those pent-up feelings.
Who is the most influential woman in your life?
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So now I have reached this point in my life where I understand what I need to do to have a meaningful relationship with a woman. I need to simply be me. I do not need to impress nor do I need to fabricate or enhance..I simply need to be me and allow others to see me for all of my warts and blemishes. I need to open myself up for inspection and risk being honest. I need to offer my true feelings freely if I am to expect a woman to do the same. I need to be not only a lover but a supportive friend for a lasting relationship will be built upon a foundation that includes both love and friendship.
Once I realized these things and put them into action I found the love of my life. Bev personifies all that is good about women and in her I have finally re-discovered that which I have always known about the finer half of creation, namely that women are inherently selfless, trusting and loving. I cannot imagine my life without Bev for she brings out the best in me and when I am with her I want to be a better human being. That is her finest gift to me, the unspoken urging for me to be all that I can possibly be.
A FINAL THANK YOU!
And so I say thank you to all the women who have been such an important part of my life. I say thank you to those I have just met and those who have been with me for decades. I say thank you to all of you for your support, your kindness, your humanness and your gentleness. My father taught me to be a man but I needed some fine-tuning before I could be a complete person and for that I needed a woman’s guidance.
2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)