It’s interesting, I never thought I would be writing about this topic, but if anything, I’m late in addressing it. Be forewarned what I’m about to discuss with you will either leave you pissed off, feeling acknowledged or at the very least, uncomfortable, and that’s a good thing.
If you’ve been paying any attention to the news or spending time on social media, you are more than aware of the #metoo and #timesup movement. Women are speaking up and out about their experiences of sexual harassment and sadly more common than not, experiences of sexual assault. It’s created an avalanche of #metoo responses. Actually, I would challenge you to find one woman that can’t relate. Sadly this treatment has been the societally accepted norm for, well – forever.
In the wake of this rising tide of women sharing their stories, emotions have been riding high. Fear, shame, guilt, anger… and it’s not just the women feeling this way. Most recently a male friend of mine shared an article he had written titled, I’m Angry Because I’m Terrified, as a reaction to the divide he was experiencing between men and women. Another friend shared his frustration with dating women, not knowing what was expected of him, how to engage for fear of his actions being misunderstood and confusion over what anyone’s role was anymore when it came to dating. Both shares elicited a tidal wave of responses.
Every week I go out to sit in cafes around Vancouver inviting people to join me in having a conversation about dating and love. I’ve been doing this for over a year now, and the pattern is palpable, men and women are not only wildly disconnected but have a great deal of fear of each other.
Times are a changing (hallelujah) and no one is providing a compass to navigate these new waters.
Even though this can all seem scary for some and liberating for others, there is a positive thread for all on this new horizon. We’re talking about it. The desire to discuss this divide and the feelings resulting from it are our conduit to understanding and closing the divide between us, but we have to talk about it. We need to hold the space for each other to safely share our feelings, experiences, and yes, even anger, so that we can work our way through – together.
Defensiveness, bypassing, passing the buck, downplaying or avoidance are not going to improve things. Those tactics are exactly what has got us where we are today. Addressing what is going on, head-on, is what will begin to create the shift to something better and the best place to start that conversation is with you, with your circle of influence and community.
It will often times be uncomfortable, and not remotely easy, but is so very necessary.
The good news is, that there is another palpable pattern that exists. In my own experience, from the people I speak to every week in cafes, to the people that take my programs, and those that are members of my dating service… they all desire connection, to love and be loved.
This desire is innately human. It’s why we’re here.
I believe if we use this understanding as our foundation, knowing that the fear, shame, guilt, anger… all derive from our perceived disconnection, that we can better empower ourselves to listen with compassion instead of judgement, hold space instead of stealing it, be ok with being wrong so that we can all be alright; the closer we will be to receiving what our hearts really desire – to belong.
Start the conversation now. Weigh in with your thoughts, experiences, and feelings in the comments below. Editing is not required, but being honest, open, and kind, is. Be responsible for the energy you bring to this space, and to be perfectly direct, to your life as well.
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