I spend almost every Sunday morning watching the latest episode of Super Soul Sunday. To some of you that may seem corny or a little too ‘whoo whoo’ for you, but for me, every time I watch it, there is a message there that I needed to hear. It’s my version of church and a way to understand life’s deeper meaning that helps me be a better person.
I tend to spend a lot of time being self-reflective and analyze why people behave the way they do. It’s both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I can beat myself up by dissecting something I may have said to offend someone and on the other hand, it allows me to reflect on why my “judgy-snarky self” came out, in order to learn how to temper that part of my persona.
We all say things we shouldn’t at times and we all pass judgment about certain behaviors that we may not agree with, but I think it’s also important to figure out how to respect other viewpoints that aren’t in alignment with our own. This is how we fight against our prejudice not just with our societal views but also in our personal relationships.
Ever since my world got turned upside down with my marriage falling apart and then losing my job, I find myself asking “why” instead of having a victim mentality of “why me”. I realize now that those things had to happen in order for me to break open and search for a deeper meaning to my life.
Today, on Super Soul Sunday, Oprah interviewed David Brooks who is known as a journalist for the New York Times. He was discussing his new book, “The Second Mountain” that I can’t wait to read! In the interview, he talks about when you’re young the proverbial mountain you climb has to deal with creating a career and success but once you reach the top of that mountain, you don’t find your happiness because those surface things are not at the core of what gives you joy. Family and close meaningful friendships may be that for you but when those aspects of your life fall apart, you are left with a deep desire to search within.
Divorce can be the best thing for you or the worst thing for you based on one simple fact. Your mindset. Personally, I see my divorce as the best thing that happened to me despite the pain and anguish it caused. It broke me open and made me reflect on what real love should truly look like and especially what it should feel like.
Real love is mutual, unselfish, trusting, vulnerable, patient, and most of all respectful. If you don’t feel respected in your relationship and the other person makes you feel unimportant or less about yourself then it isn’t love. It’s control and possession. Those two things are very different.
In developing a romantic relationship in my life now, I’m looking for someone that has emotional intelligence. Someone who isn’t afraid to show their true emotions and is willing to put in the effort to make me feel valued and respected. Emotional intelligence is someone that can put the other person’s needs above their own. Someone that is willing to take the time it takes to nurture a strong relationship. Not only am I looking for someone to do that for me, but I am willing to let down my guard and do that for them. Not just with anyone that shows me attention, but with the one who is worthy of my love.
All of the love you give is a part of your highest value. You can’t just give that precious gift away to someone who doesn’t show that they see your value. Love is earned through the willingness in their actions not the empty promises of their words. It’s consistent. I’m going to say that again. True love is consistent and unwavering. It isn’t the person that only makes an effort when they want to keep you around for their own selfish reasons. It isn’t the husband that brings flowers or plans a romantic getaway to in order to silence you when you feel alone in the marriage. That is manipulation, not love.
I climbed the first mountain and I fell off the cliff—tumbling down the hard way getting pretty banged up on my decent. Each cut and every bruise that happened along the way down only helped me get up stronger and wiser. In the valley, I spent a lot of time being lost and scared. Using alcohol to numb the pain. Now I’m climbing the next mountain. The climb up the second mountain is very different than the first. I’m carrying a lot more baggage. With every vista, I unpack one more thing I have to let go of in order to make the trek a little easier. The higher I get the better viewpoint I have on how lost I really was in the valley. With every step and every slip, I learn more about who I am and what I want in my life.
The second mountain is the climb to find my true self and how I can help others along the way. I can’t see the top yet, it’s covered in the clouds that hide the peak, but I’m getting closer and closer every day. I know that I am deserving of all that life has to offer and the gifts that I have already received. I am on a quest to deepen my emotional intelligence and someone that meets me on the mountain to walk next to me on the climb. That person will lift me up not tear me down making me doubt that I can make it.
That person won’t be a crutch, they will be a partner—a helping hand. They will be on the same journey up the second mountain, not the shallow person stuck on the first one buying shiny new things to impress others. They won’t be broken wondering in the valley between the two mountains. They will be self-aware, empathetic, giving and kind.
If you’re in a new relationship or one that seems to be stagnant, reflect on your relationship and whether that person shares the same emotional intelligence as you. Do they have the capacity to grow and do they express their love in a way that you feel it with every fiber of your being? If you have that—hold on tight and never take it for granted. If you don’t—you might need to change course and take a different path. You must choose “you” first while still loving the other person, but you can’t love them if you’ve lost yourself along the way. Don’t waste this opportunity to become a better version of yourself. Keep climbing.