I was somewhat amused when I was randomly scrolling through Facebook and came across a video interview, featuring two flawlessly presented professional women on a video podcast. The following statement was an extract from a larger conversation, where a successful, career woman channelling her inner Beyoncé sought to offer advice to her audience of single ladies… 

“If he doesn’t understand that I am a Queen, if he doesn’t match my energy or if he is not on my frequency; I don’t need him in my life. This is non-negotiable and there is no room for compromise because I know my worth.” 

I sat back and let the intense temperature of her words simmer with me for a while because I could detect a residual bitterness in her tone. I remained stuck on the latter half of her statement “there is no room for compromise because I know my worth.” As if somehow knowing your self-worth and the ability to compromise are incompatible bedfellows?  It was interesting to note, that despite the self-affirming, relationship advice being offered, she had yet to find a worthy suitor herself. 

I have no issue with any individual wanting to maintain the highest possible relationship standards but I have to wonder if the fantastical bar has been set so high, it isn’t quite within the grasp of a tangible reality. I certainly understand the intention of her declaration and could only admire the articulate way her message was delivered, but I had to wonder how much was from lived experience and how much was showmanship? Once you walk toward the centre stage of the main event and feel that raw, unparalleled energy of an adoring crowd; you want to be seen as an undisputed champion, although, perhaps, you may not necessarily feel like one? 

Increasingly, I hear many self-empowered women refer to themselves as Queens, and I assume they’re not making reference to the largest borough in New York, but the Queens we know in the more traditional sense of the word; a constitutional majestic monarch with status, power, wealth, authority and ruler of a vast kingdom…but…when I think of a Queen, I tend to think of institutionalised traditions, inherited privilege and stoic behaviours. 

When I reminisce through my own back catalogue of relationships (which includes meeting my wife) I’m not sure I would have experienced them at all; if potential partners held their perception of self-worth so tightly the concept of compromise was a non-negotiable deal breaker. While a sense of self-worth is important, how exactly do you enter a relationship if you aren’t willing to relate? While I understand that for some, a regal status implies a sense of worthiness, there is a characteristic within relationships far more important than any superfluous title…  

The ability to show vulnerability without fear. 

I myself have tried very hard to develop this skill and truth be told I’m still a work in progress, but there was a time I believed vulnerability was the joker in the pack; a card that could never be played. Not just because I thought it would make a significant other perceive me as weak but I couldn’t trust myself to willingly place my fragile feelings into the hands of another. The trouble with the atomic devastation of heartbreak is that it hits sooo hard, it’ll decimate trust into the tiniest fragments. If you’re lucky, you might juuuuust be able to delicately glue the pieces of your broken heart back together again. But I didn’t understand the inherent value vulnerability could bring, furthermore once you begin to understand yourself vulnerability isn’t something you ever need hide away from but embrace. 

I simply don’t know of one successful long-term relationship that doesn’t involve an element of negotiation. Although I don’t think relationship status has a huge significance on any particular individual, there is no denying marriage has altered my perspective. I certainly wouldn’t have exchanged marital vows and overpriced rings, if I didn’t feel there was a tinge of excitement in discovering new ways to relate to another human being. This does mean I have to tune into subtle frequencies of nuance I’m not quite attuned to and understand it’s okay to be wrong and lose an argument or debate. 

Men aren’t just easily adaptable, disposable commodities designed to cater to fast-paced, digitally infused expectations, we are human which means we are flawed. The reality is many mistakes will be made in order for us to grow and find ourselves, so we’ll probably need the three things Michael Bolton advised us to take into account; time, love and tenderness. I fully accept, no woman (or man) should have to deal with sub-standard, abusive behaviours but instead of creating a fictitious “Bachelor” type character, it might be best to base interactions on real-world interactions. 

That’s not to say the woman who made the opening statement wasn’t basing her opinions on personal experience, however, my concern is there are a growing proportion of women who believe that life and relationships are a set of pre-determined, superficial, tick-box criteria but despite the challenges modern societies face, the eternal wisdom of humanity tends to find a way forward. Barbra Streisand once said it’s “people who need people, who are the luckiest people in the world.” I think it’s safe to say that knowing your worth need not be a possession to tightly hold onto but…

A gift willing to be shared. 

Until next time.