At the moment, I am reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. A book I bought quite some time ago, but until now didn’t manage to complete. She is a shame researcher and has at least two TED talks. SO, if you are curious who she is, take a look for yourself.
Today I read a passage which was quite intense. Brené Brown told about a group interview with both men and women present. The conversation about shame went into the direction of appearance and sex. A woman told that her boyfriend always criticized her for not being skinny enough. And she sat that it is difficult to enjoy sex when you think about your back fat. The response of one of the men was, for me, to the point and I will quote it from the book:
“It’s not about the back fat! You’re worried about it. We’re not. We don’t give a shit! Stop making up all of this stuff about what we’re thinking! What we are really thinking is ‘Do you love me? Do you care about me? Do you want me? Am I important to you? Am I good enough?’ That’s what we’re thinking. When it comes to sex, it feels like our life is on the line, and you you’re worried about that crap?”
With regards to the boyfriend who criticized the woman’s appearance he said:
“That’s because he is an asshole It’s not because he is a guy. Some of us are just guys. Give us a break. Please.”
We always think we need to be perfect. Especially in front of your partners. Both men and women have that feeling for different reasons. But it is not helpful. And for me it opens up a bigger issue.
I don’t need you to be perfect to be my partner. Sure, I don’t find all women attractive, but not all women find me attractive. I try to take care of my body and be in good shape, but I also don’t have the perfect body. If I have fallen in love with you, you can be sure that I love your body the way it is. And we grow older and our bodies change, so what? Yes, there are limits, but those apply for both men and women. If I get overweight, I don’t know, if you still find me attractive.
But how we look is just a part of the bigger picture. I don’t want you to be perfect. I know you can’t be. I know that I can’t be. I want you to be able to talk to me about your problems, dreams, and hopes. I want you to grow together with me. Yes, intelligent is sexy, but you don’t need to be the smartest person in the world. Neither am I. I don’t need you to be the best cook in the world. I can cook, and we can cook together. I don’t need you to be a “perfect” mom. There is no perfection. We make mistakes and we learn. I won’t expect something no human is possible to do or be.
The only think I need you to do is applying those same demands I have on you towards me. I want you to be okay that I might not be rich. That I might have flaws. That I don’t have so much hair on my head. As I will show you that I love you the way you are, I want you to do the same. The question is: can you do that?
Can you let go of the notion that men always need to be strong? If I can let go of the notion that a woman needs to be a great cook, a great mother, a great friend, and a great wife constantly and all the time, I want you to rethink what is really important when being with someone for the rest of your life.
We put us under so much pressure. We could alleviate some of that pain we feel when we finally start talking to each other and move away from the illusion of being perfect.
Take care, Stephan