The Urban Philly Professional Network (UPPN) hosted an awesome mixer and panel at the African American Museum on Wednesday, June 10th and I was honored to be invited to take part. And yes the topic was LOVE!
It was great to see so many men and (mostly) women, come out to talk about relationships and love. I was immediately engaged by attendees when I sat down at my table before the actual conversation even started. Many women came over to talk about my book and express their excitement about the impending discussion. They were looking for answers and I was a little nervous but excited all at the same time to advise the best way I know how, straight from the heart!
The panel definitely spanned a wide variety of relational statuses, from single, to engaged, to married. I was accompanied by an array of talented writers including Kevin Carr, Dr. David Pulley, Trevor Scott, and Baje Fletcher. The crowd was so engaged from the moment things kicked off with the question “What do you find many women and men complain about in the quest to find a suitable partner?”
I’m sure we could list the gripes we hear for days, but ultimately, through things both said and unsaid, I find that many people just have unrealistic expectations. Bottom line. And honestly social media and television in my opinion make it worse than it has ever been. I touched on it in a recent post, but many of us just have such an unrealistic view of what love is really supposed to be. It’s work, point blank, period–without any way around it and the sooner we accept that the better off we’ll all be.
The other thing that stood out to me was the fact that many people say they want a relationship, say that they want to work towards marriage, but many of their actions don’t affirm those wants. Relationships sound good to people, but again the “fairytale” of love does not exist and so they get into things that don’t look or feel how they thought and it’s so easy to quit. Or they give themselves to people that never really deserved them in the beginning and find themselves mid-way through a 5 year relationship and finally realizing they never should have gotten into that relationship in the first place.
Relationships are complex and ultimately finding another person that is on your same page can be a challenge for sure. But as always it’s possible. We spend so much time focusing on the dysfunction of relationships that we begin to panic that “real” love is something that we’ll never find. But it does indeed exist, it’s just wrapped in the hard work that many of us don’t want to do.
What were some other great points that came out of the panel discussion from the array of great minds?
- Singles should enjoy the dating process. Everyone that you meet is not necessarily “the one” but the process of finding them should be fun! Don’t take everything so serious and realize that for each one that doesn’t work, you are making room for the right one to come.
- Self-love is essential and self-hate is lurking dangerously in many people. Know how to identify insecurity and how it plays into the manner in which someone is treating you. As whack as it may sound, you do indeed have to be able to love you before loving others.
- Vulnerability manifests as submission before the marriage process. When we can build the trust with someone enough to be vulnerable, we are setting the stage to then be able to submit in a marriage. If you cannot be vulnerable with the person you are with, you are not experiencing the real intimacy needed for a lasting relationship.
- Find your core values. What are the things that matter to you the most? If you find those things in a person most often things like social status, finances, etc. can fall into place.
- A linguist from the crowd defined love as literally extending your hand to meet the needs of another. Many of us are still in a selfish season and have no idea how to put another person’s needs before our own. I always think of my pastor who says, “What if we just try to “out-love” one another?” A key to successful relationships.
As always, I learned just as much from sharing in my own experience as listening to the other wonderful panelists! If you didn’t make it out, I’ll keep you posted on my next speaking engagement!
What do you find is the most challenging part of either finding a relationship or maintaining a healthy one?