BY HARTLEY C. BISHOP
“A woman who is fortunate and beautiful chooses her husbandamong men.”
— The Vedas, 6,000 BC
Let’s face it, ladies: we are all fortunate and beautiful.We are Mother Nature’s most enduring and delicate guardians of love,peace, intelligence, sensibility, sensuality, creativity, dignity, and nobleintent. Men know this. Probably few would use these exact words to describeus. But, then again, few men attempt to live life without a woman. They aredrawn to the high level of life that women represent. They are drawn to ourunique mix of vulnerability and strength, of surrender and adherence to principal.Men know that with us resides fulfillment, balance, and the centering of lifein creativity and virtue.
Of course, we must be aware of our gifts as women. We must value ourgifts dearly and exercise them courageously. Life may twist and pull usthis way and that, inside and out, yet our essential core remains, deservinga high level of life, love, and happiness. We deserve to see the worldkindly and be seen kindly by it, to laugh, to hope, to be tender, to loveand be loved.
It might seem, given our glorious beginnings as lovely infants, thatthis happy state might occur automatically. Trees grow. Flowers bloom.Spring arrives, automatically. Yet, we also see serial monogamy, serialheartbreak, and well-intentioned big mistakes in life. So, it seems, wemust be awake and fully present, both emotionally and intellectually,to help our happy state arise.
Your personal love relationships are a way, perhaps the most powerfulway, in which you express your love in the world. You want to do thisfruitfully. And the world needs this from you. Previously, others haveset standards. Now, you will set the standards. Done fruitfully, yourefforts will benefit everyone—yes, everyone—in the world.
Take the First Step
Now we will begin the first steps of casting your attention on yourself,including your dreams and desires, and the practicalities of your day.An essential first step is to take a look at your “High Abstracts.” Iwill explain the theory of this later. Right now, let’s do somethingsimple. Please read the following list of words and concepts, and choosethree that say something about who you are, that speak to you and aboutyou, even perhaps from your earliest memories and sense of meaning inyour life.
Just pick three, fairly quickly. No need to analyze much here.
Your High Abstracts
Yes, all the concepts encapsulated in the words on the list are veryattractive. There are a few, though, that are livelier in your mind. Ifyou think back, they will be a recurring theme in your life.
For example, let’s say a woman chose Honesty, Justice, and Graceas the three essentials for her. This woman may be a lawyer, with a vintageNancy Drew library or every courtroom drama DVD. She may be a civil rightsactivist. Or she may have experienced the absence of these High Abstractsin her life and now values them greatly.
Enliven the High Abstracts
Choosing these words, these High Abstracts, reminds us of our core priorities.This awareness can be lost in the hustle and bustle of life. However,our hearts and souls feed on our High Abstracts. Understanding the essentialsthat drive our emotional lives helps us to focus on what is dear to us.
Abraham Maslow, the renowned mid-20th-century psychologist and professor,did much of his work on people he called “self-actualized.” Thesepeople were very successful in life, happy and productive. Through hisobservations, Maslow was able to identify qualities self-actualized peoplehave in common.
Maslow describes a “hierarchy of needs” through which onedevelops. Basic needs such as warmth and safety, once attained, move outof one’s focus, and a higher need—for example, self-esteem—takesthe person’s attention. This goes on and on throughout one’slife. “Meta needs” as Maslow describes them, are those needsand motivations at the higher end of human development. These needs, whenfrustrated, lead to illness and unhappiness.
After a lifelong study of human nature, Maslow likened the need, in highlydeveloped people, for beauty, justice, and fairness to the need for arms,legs, eyes, and a brain, and the need for water or calcium. These needsare essential, coming into play when more basic needs are satisfied, andrequiring fulfillment in a healthy, productive life.
This exercise is a fundamental step in seeing what makes you tick. Thethree High Abstracts that you selected are concepts, ideas, and motivationsthat can inspire you, bring you joy, motivate you, and, in their absence,alert you to take course corrections in your daily life. In reflectingupon what is essential to your highest self, these values become strengthened.
All of us are somewhere along the continuum of basic to “meta needs.” Identifyingthose High Abstracts that speak to us is a way to see where we, as uniquehuman beings, are centered.
Back to Dating
Why is this important when learning about successful dating? For tworeasons. One, self-referral is necessary for emotional fulfillment. Emotionalfulfillment, a certain degree of it, is a prerequisite to emotional sharing.Two, it is important, crucial, to successful dating to be clear that peoplehave differing values, and that these differing values play out in life,intentionally or unintentionally.
Most often one’s values are not something one decides or consciouslychooses. As we mentioned earlier, a person’s values are built, oftensilently, over time from the earliest years and throughout life by manyfactors, including physiological strengths and challenges, temperament,upbringing, and society at large. All these factors work together in producingan individual set of values.
This makes it clear that you have much to share with others. And thatthey have much to share with you. Please enjoy these three High Abstractsthat you’ve chosen and express them in your daily life. Notice whythey mean so much to you. Notice when activities compromise them and gentlycourse correct. Aligning yourself with them will lift your spirit, yourenergy, and your love of life. They will, again and again, give you cluesas to what your best activities may be and who your best companions maybe.
This excerpt is from the book Inspired Dating: What Every WomanNeeds to Know. Visit the website at inspireddating.com.