Lets hear it for the boys!

So I wanted to write this little blog while I felt inspired to. The last few weeks I’ve been hanging out more with men. Friends old and new. More seem to be coming into my life recently. It wasn’t a conscious thing but as I look back its definitely been happening more frequently.

And yesterday, having just left coffee with one of my good male friends…bouncing down the escalator to my train, relaxed, rejuvinated and happy…I came to the realisation that my life is rich with some incredible men. Strong in spirit and mind. Emotionally connected. They know who they are and are not afraid or ashamed (this may be an assumption) to admit that they are not perfect nor do they have all the answers. They wan’t to be connected to the women in their lives. They want to love and support their partners, family and friends.

The strength and confidence I take from just being around my good male friends is huge and I think I have taken it for granted in the past.

This is not to play down the women in my life. My ladies are literally my heart….we understand each other like no other. We get how wonderfully complex we are…its beautiful. We don’t always help each other though. Our empathetic, advice giving ways can, I think, disempower us. We love to chat to our female friends about our problems(well I do!)….perhaps too much? I sometimes leave conversations with my girlfriends feeling worse than I did before hand. I sometimes take my friends advice and neglect my own inner navigation system. I think this can be unhelpful. Ladies in my life…I love you, don’t change…your perfect 🙂

Anyway…this is rarely the case when I sit down with one of my male friends. They rarely let me go too far into my ‘poor me’ routine..they simply don’t allow space for that. They focus on my strengths rather than my weaknesses. They often see sides of me I don’t even recognise in myself…yet. They focus on what they see in front of them. A strong, feisty, independent woman. It’s just awesome!

And so…while I totally acknowledge my strength and independence. I have zero desire to live in a world without penty strong men in my life.

So ‘Thankyou’ to all the amazing men I know and are yet to meet and may I keep attracting more of you in!

Anything to share? please comment below……

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The One Thing Women are actually most afraid of in Men…..A response…

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I recently read a blog by Bryan Reeves titled ‘The One Thing women are actually most afraid of in Men’.

He writes that it is not masculine aggression that is feminine womans greatest fear but abandonment.

We fear our men not stepping up. We fear their inability to hold us. Stand strong, support us and be there, even when we are crazy and irrational, unfathomable, and all they want to do is run for the hills!

I sat in a cafe and read Bryans blog and from nowhere the tears started rolling…..it touched me so deeply. I thought…this is me, this is my deepest fear in relationships.

A little backstory…

My Father left us when I was four years old. He left our family and joined another one. He raised someone elses children and barely saw his own. He was mostly absent for my entire childhood. I’m not wishing to give you a hardluck story here…I was very blessed in many other aspects of my childhood. However…the ‘absent father’ box was well and truly ticked!.

Now, I know as an adult that my Fathers absence was not my fault, it was not personal and I’ve done a lot of work on my relationship with my Dad and can hand on heart say, I hold no resentment towards him. Not only that but I take responsibility for my part in our adult relationship. I judged him, shut him off  and did not give him an inch for error.

Even so…venturing into the adult world of romantic relationships I had a well proven belief that ‘men I love leave’…Its just what they do. In my 20’s I pretty much held the cards, ending relationships first. Especially if the guy in question really liked me which I saw as a sign of weakness (theres a whole other blog there!). My heart got broken for the first time in my mid 20’s. I fell hard, now looking back not in a healthy way. But this guy I had to win..I had to make him to want me, I had to convince him almost. He was unavailable physically and emotionally. I’m still not entirely sure why we women persue this type of man…for me I think it was the challenge of ‘making’ him fall in love with me. And it worked for a short while…but as with all manipulated relationships the foundations were weak….he ended it and experienced my first heartbreak.

For the next 10 years I don’t really think I let myself go fully in any romantic relationship I had. This technique kept me safe. I got to be in control…and I saved my heart.

The next time I opened my heart I was 36..10 years later. This one was ready…I was sure of it. He wooed me, chased me…I felt safe with him. I began to relax and let go into the idea of a relationship with this guy. But the more I opened the more he closed. My desire to ‘name’ and ‘know’ where the relationship was going just triggered his fear of ‘being’ in a relationship at all.  The more I chased the further and faster he ran!. He could not and did not hold me. He couldn’t, he just didn’t have it in him…he shut down and closed off. I kept lowering my expectations…he would under deliver on them. Eventually the whole thing crumbled, it was a mess. My worst fears were realised and I got to be right again ‘men I love leave’. I felt like shit.

And so…….

Over the last year or so I’ve been on quite a journey.  I gave myself a healthy break from dating and men and sat in the space that was left by their absence for a while. I’ve been learning more about me, what I need and what I want to give in a relationship. I feel ready to trust myself and follow my heart. Embrace my strength and fragility. My passion and my fears. The thing is(and I know this sounds cliche)…as painful as these experiences are at the time..they are gifts.  I would have missed so many incredible opportiunities without these experiences. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to know myself better AND I wouldn’t be writing this.

I have met and recognised and formed friendships with more openhearted, emotionally evolved men over the past year than ever before. Is this because I’m attracting them? Or Im noticing them more? Or are there just more around these days? I’m hoping its a mixture of all three!. I also notice that many of my female friends are far more aware of what they want in a relationship, choosing to be single over ‘making do’. I know less women who are blindly dating and hoping dating and hoping(including me!). They are more selective about where they place their attention.

I believe men are protectors, it is their calling and desire to care for and be there for the women in their life. I am lucky enough to know men who show and prove this daily. I’m not saying that we need saving of course…we really do not. But it does raise question is can we, as strong, independant, feminine women be brave enough to let go and allow them to do so? The safety we so deeply want to feel can only be found by jumping into a potentially dangerous situation…are we brave enough to jump? And can our men step up without the fear of being responsible for ALL our future happiness?

I can only speak for myself….I’d love to think I could jump…and I’m working on it. I’d love to hear your thoughts please do get in touch.

Jumping into Vulnerability

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I regard myself as an independant woman. I look after myself physically, mentally and financially. (I wont go into the state of my finances!). Yet…I love the idea of being looked after. I love the thought of being held and protected by a man and I’m not sure how honest I’m about this? I wonder, as I reach the latter half of my 30’s without having trodden the conventional marriage, children route as of yet, how I may appear to others as a woman and prospective ‘partner’. Strong?..Brave?..Exciting?..Controlling?..or just plain Terrifying!

I like to portray myself as being totally together. I have my own business, I travel regularly, I’m prepared to and am excited by the idea of evolving as a woman and human being. Others may look at what I ‘present’ and believe Im there…I’m sorted…I know exactly how to navigate my life. But heres the thing…sometimes, I just don’t know what to do. I can’t hold myself up and keeping up the pretence of being ‘sorted’ is exhausting! I rarely raise my hand and ask for help and if I do I feel shame around it. Am I the only person who feels this way? I’ll take a wild guess at no.

Why is it we feel we cannot be seen as exactly who we are? That is being totally honest and vulnerable?

My belief is that we feel like…if people see us for who we are…exactly who we are…they will judge us and even reject us. So we build walls. Big ones!

If I was to write ‘Sophies Bio’ as I would like to be seen…I would probably only mention the amazing, inspiring parts of my life. In fact I wrote one recently…and honestly, I wish I was me! I only showed my best bits though..my ‘show reel’. Yes life is great, I am passionate about living fully, my work, inspiring others. But there was definately no mention of feeling lost at times, feeling so lonely it is painful, seeking validitation from others. I’m not saying we should confess this on our job applications and CV’s..however…what about in our daily life? What is the cost of editing ourselves this way? Showing only the presentable, neat parts of ourselves.

I believe by doing this we loose connection…not only with authentic selves but with the people around us. In my experience my most enriching conversations/connections with friends are the ones where one or both of us fess up. Admit we are scared, nervous, feeling unworthy. We can support each other in these times. We can learn about ourselves. We can maybe even help others.

Brene Brown carried out a study on ‘The Power of Vulnerability’. Her Ted talk went viral in 2010. If you have yet to see her talk I encourage you to do so. She challenges our belief that sharing vulnerability equals weakness. In fact daring to bare can feel truly liberating and powerful.

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So…how do we begin to explore and get friendly with this aspect of ourselves? Well first we have to notice we have these feelings at all. Hopefully if you are reading this blog you have already discovered this. When we notice these feelings come up what are our coping stratagies? How do we numb the pain? Drinking, eating, social media, retail therapy, sex.

“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.” – Eckhart Tolle

Can we..instead of rejecting the feeling or covering it up…sit with it…make friends with it. Even if its just a minute longer before we pick up our I Phone or get on Facebook?. I love how Louis C K talks about this subject.

Tibetan Nun, Author and Teacher Pema Chodron teaches Thong Lin Meditation where we breath in suffering either our own or others and breath out relief. We can use our own pain or the pain of others as a subject. So instead of fighting the feeling were actually breathing it in.

If any of this rings true to you (or not!). Id love to hear from you. Have you started to show up ‘as you are’ in your life? Please share your experiences/thoughts/questions. As I said this is something I’m working on and I definatley don’t have all the answers. But I do know that by becoming friends with all aspects of ourselves, loving all that we are (our dark and light) and showing up genuinely in the world we live. We stand a much better chance of connecting with others and sharing this crazy life journey…which is all that counts in my book!