Tag Archive | feminism

Guest Post: Boundaries

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This is a guest post from Miranda Kate Mixon, a beautiful young  millennial who blogs at First Class Act: Bringing Classy Back. Share it with all the young women in your circle.

man-on-hill

The most important commitment

you’ll ever make

Today we hear a lot about young adults and our fear of commitment. As a generation, millennials tend to switch jobs more often, wait longer to get married and to buy a home. Various sources list different reasons for this. Some say it’s because we value lifestyle over economic stability (i.e. we’d rather be able to have a job that allows us more flexibility than get paid more), others say that we simply can’t afford to get married, or buy a car or a home (potentially due to our emphasis on flexibility > pay). And then there’s those who say it all comes down to our fear of commitment itself.

As a millennial who knows a lot of other millennials, I would say that each of these reasons may factor in to an extent. And while the fact that we may have a fear of committing- especially to other people- is slightly concerning, there is another commitment I’ve come to learn is actually more important.

Commitment to ourselves.

Ooooohhh, what’s that?

I’ll tell you.

As an avid reader myself, one of my favorite online publications is called Verily Magazine. All about lifestyle, relationships & health. I love how the contributors offer refreshing perspectives on today’s various issues and challenges and how we can face them with grace and a good attitude.

A few months ago, I emailed one of the Verily contributors named Zach Brittle. For a while I read Zach’s column called “Intentional Marriage.” I love his style and the great advice he offers as a marriage counselor. Even though I am not married, I  have always found relationships fascinating and love learning about what makes for a healthy marriage (#goals, amiright).

I decided to email Zach because I had recently entered into my first relationship and had a question that  I felt required a more experienced perspective. My question was this:
How can I be more selfish?

I know that may seem like an odd question – it kind of is – but it is also one that I feel is highly relevant and valid. When we start dating someone, I think a lot of us have a tendency to make the other person a priority over pretty much everything else…including ourselves. Family, friends, extra-curricular activities and self-care take the backseat as we focus on this new person who we want to learn more about – which requires a fair amount of time and energy.

The thing is, you can’t expect to enter into a relationship with someone and not expect your life to change. So where do you draw the line? How do you ensure you’re being fair to the other person and your relationship while also staying true to who you are and what you need. We can’t expect to be fulfilled by the other person; to do so would be a) not possible and b) unfair to the other person – so essentially incredibly unhealthy and a recipe for disaster.

Zach’s response was both very wise and very generous- not to mention super helpful. His main point was this:
Before you can commit to someone else, you have to be committed to yourself.

What does this mean?

In his words: ‘Crafting a plan for how to take care of your mind, your body, your heart, your soul.’

Genius, right?

How are you committing to yourself? What is your plan to challenge yourself intellectually, your plan to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually? A plan that you make and stick to. A commitment you make to and for yourself- not for anyone else.

Zach emphasized that really my question was about self-care, which is NOT selfish because it allows us to love the other person without any strings attached. 

You’re no longer looking to the other person to feel confident or to make you happy (again, not possible), but rather appreciating them simply for who they are. After all, isn’t that what we want, too?

We don’t want to be needed, we want to be wanted.

This topic is supremely important to me and a challenge I’ve decided to accept whole-heartedly. I hope you’ll consider doing the same, as your future (or current) s/o will thank you. I may even post this plan at a later date- please feel free to share any commitments you make for yourself! I’d love to hear about it.

Yes, our generation may face a fear of commitment, but that won’t end until we learn to commit to ourselves first.

Thanks, Zach.

Feminists

She never considered herself a feminist. In fact, she often spoke ill of them and their crazy ideas. She considered herself a solid Evangelical Christian who had no time for new social movements. She attended church regularly, tithed, joined various Bible study groups, prayed often, and watched Christian television.

Still, the influence of militant Feminists clouded her thinking, causing her to make choices that belied many of the virtues she claimed to revere. Like most Americans, she easily accepted the mores of the people around her without really examining the logical implications of ideas.

In the early seventies television, magazines, newspapers, and movies spoke earnestly and authoritatively on the need for people, especially women, to find themselves, to follow their dreams, and to seek their own happiness. These ideas were always presented as settled science. Finally, after all those centuries, women were beginning to learn how oppressed they had always been and now they were escaping to full self-development. Everyone who was anyone agreed.

Thus, after the death of her second husband, she made a feminist choice based on what seemed to offer self-fulfillment, not a Christian one based on earnestly seeking ways she could help others.

So she chose to stay in a small city where she was Mrs. Somebody instead of moving near either one of her children, to reinforce family ties and, most importantly, to influence her grandchildren while they were still influence-able. Never mind that her own mother had had a powerful effect on her children who had been one and seven when she was first widowed. Never mind that this son and daughter revered their grandmother and appreciated her contribution to their lives. They fondly spoke of her foibles and métiers many times. But the grandmother’s most notable appearance in the local paper was her own obituary.

No, this woman wanted to be important, to be Mrs. Wonderful. And so she was for a while: President of the Antique Glass Club, President of Women’s Federation, President of the Book Club, speaker and book reviewer at various meetings, hostess to many parties for the town’s Prominent People. She was frequently featured in the local newspapers and occasionally received nice plaques for her service. She made trips abroad every year with local groups. However, as macular degeneration set in, her fan club slowly faded away. In everyone’s mind, she was a very nice person; someone to hug at large parties, but never someone who profoundly affected their lives. Never would she be someone they would share stories about fifty years after her death.

Almost every year, her children had asked her to move near them – first into a house nearby, later into some type of duplex arrangement, and finally into a bedroom. She angrily refused each offer.

Finally in the last few years of her life, her former fans began calling the children. “You must do “X” with your mother.” “You must come take care of your mother, she’s doing “X” all the time.” “Her house is so filthy, it stinks. I see insect carcasses on the floor.” “Your mother is wearing dirty clothes.” “Your mother belongs in a nursing home.”

Oh, my dear, dear woman, why couldn’t you see that social fads/clubs/status come and go, but the family is forever? Why did you refuse to understand the truth in the old adage: that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Did you never realize that no one has more power than when they are bringing up children? Didn’t you understand that happiness never comes from seeking it? It is always a by-product of serving others, just like they taught you back in the one room schoolhouse you first attended. If something has worked for millennia, then it has a lot going for it. It can be improved, no doubt, but throwing it out completely is usually a mistake. This generation may well have the most formal education, but it surely is the most foolish in our nation’s history.

And how many are there just like you who grow increasingly angry, but remain mystified about the cause?