How What We Accept Say a Lot About Us

Today I had a conversation on the train with a friend. We wait anxiously to see each other after a long weekend or snow day or whatever keeps either of us from the after-work 5:00 train commute to gush and swap stories about our latest love affairs, or lack-thereof.

Today I teased her about a guy she completely gave up on because of his overly-aggressive manner, but, more importantly, because he bought her flowers. Yes, I know what many of you are thinking: “What kind of girl gets rid of a guy because he buys her flowers?” I said the same thing initially. It wasn’t until I delved deeper into the story that I discovered the true meaning behind the petals.

Setting standards

I asked her if it was the flowers that annoyed her, or what they represented. I threw my head back and squinted my eyes as if her therapy session had just begun. She laughed and then took a minute to think about it.

Her initial response was that she wasn’t always a girly-girl and her facial expression showed that she loathed that characteristic. Suddenly, it became clear that it wasn’t the flowers that she loathed. I asked her if she would have accepted his gift if it had been something she could use, like headphones. She said yes, and then she suggested a book. “He could’ve gotten me a book! A book, I would have accepted!” she said.

This is where my long-lost-never-retrieved Sociology degree began to come in handy. “So,” I asked her, “did the flowers represent a standard? Did the flowers represent what you felt he perceived you to be, something beautiful to entertain for a spell, but then become useless and blow away in the wind?”

As melodramatic as that sounds, she agreed. She was as excited as I was that we had figured out the mystery behind “Flower-man”. She gave credit to the feminist within for getting us to this revelation. She wanted a man that would challenge her intellect, not simply admire her beauty.

“What we accept, what we praise or put on a pedestal, says a lot about how we feel about ourselves.”

I’m not advocating us all going out there rejecting flowers from Prince Charming, but it is an important thing to think about. What we accept, what we praise or put on a pedestal, says a lot about how we feel about ourselves. Not to mention, that taking a deeper look into the real reason we feel the way we do, may just save us a lot of time, energy, and misplaced affection.

What are you currently accepting in your life? Does it align with your values and how you want others to perceive you?
This article originally appeared in For Women to Women
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