What We Accept Says 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.

Article Originally Appeared in For Women to Women.

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