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So, after being single for a few years, I am finally in a relationship (let the church say "Amen"). Since I have been in a relationship, my eyes have been further opened up to the different conversations of what a Proverbs 31 woman should be like or what a Boaz-like man should be like. People who come up with every definition of who a man should be to his lady, who a woman should be to her man, and what people should be to this world. Like other single folk, I have gone through countless lectures of how I may be too much or not good enough, and that I need to change. Everyone has a say on how I should speak, eat, think, interact, feel, and live in order to be considered attractive or worthy for a man. It seems that everyone is an expert.
In the same sense, when it comes to my personal, social, and spiritual life, everyone seems to have a different take. I remember when I decided to go to business school. It seemed that everyone had an image of how I would turn out based on how their neighbor, friend, sibling, baby momma, co-worker, or pet turned out. It was as if they had my steps ordered. Once again, everyone appears to be an expert.
What makes matters worse is that social media, especially, has created platforms for amazing coaches, experts, educators, mentors, pastors, and counselors to share wisdom, best practices, and guidance. Some have shared their journeys and others just spit wisdom. In this race for us to be perfect, we hold ourselves up to those standards they hold for themselves. And again, everyone appears to be an expert.
If you ask for my take on it, I would say that everyone is right, and everyone is wrong at the same time. The big issue is that as human beings, we like to put everyone on the same pedestal and hold everyone up to the same expectations. We then create these rules of what defines a man and what defines a woman and expect people to adhere to the description. When people try to uphold these expectations, they might work for a couple of weeks, days, maybe hours, and probably fail. Why? Because they are not encouraged to be themselves.
The thing about humanity is that WE ALL are different.
We love, laugh, hurt, and process information differently. What may work for me, may not work for you, and that is perfectly okay. I read this study about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and someone suggested that the challenge with that Hierarchy of Needs is that Human Beings have different needs, different priorities, and are therefore motivated by different things.
In my relationship, I may need my boyfriend to provide more financial security than anything, while another female may need more emotional security. Some people help their partners grow up and others help make them better. My purpose in life will not be the same as your purpose in life, and how I achieve that purpose will not be defined by how you achieve your purpose.
Our different interests and needs require us to approach life differently. There is not one defined way to love, laugh, interact, network, or be great. Everyone is special in their own right.
So I would suggest that we start encouraging people to be a better version of themselves. No one can do a better job at being you than you! Advice and counsel is great, but not every piece of advice is meant for you to act upon. You must do what you think is best for you. Some decisions may not be the wisest, but there are some things that you cannot learn without experience.
When you pour into others, make sure you are learning to love them for who they are and encouraging for them to be a better version of themselves and not a version of someone else.
Be yourself! Everyone else is taken!