Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Stand For Something

You gotta stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

~Fall for Anything by The Script / (Lyrics)

The most recent episode of Grey's Anatomy, entitled "Hook, Line and Sinner" explored power within relationships and specifically the way in which men treat women. Bailey tore into Alex and explained to Lexie that she needs to start treating herself with self-respect and not handing her power and autonomy over to Alex simply because she is sleeping with him. (Up till then, she had been looking to him for approval, running every decision or call by him.) At the end of the episode, Lexie asserts herself. Everything should be grand, right? Wrong. Because one forceful address telling the man to give her the damn beer doesn't fix a lifetime of learned behavior. Fixing one's behavior takes work. Learning to find approval and validation in yourself as opposed to seeking for it in others takes work. At the very least, learning who you can trust to be a healthy person whose respect you should try for and whose approval you should actually value takes work.

The person who loves you best will never force you to do anything. He won't order you, rule you, or try to take your power or autonomy away from you. He will want you to make your own choices. This may even include situations where you make bad choices. He might respectfully disagree with you or offer his opinion should you ask for it, but he will also respect your right to make a decision and to learn something the hard way. Any person who forces you, rules you, treats you disrespectfully, orders you around or ensures that you always know his opinion so that you live in fear of it- is not a person you want in your life. Such behavior is unhealthy and tears you down. It eats away at your self-esteem, self-respect, courage, ability and strength. The person who loves you best wants you to be an independent entity. He doesn't want you to melt into him or otherwise become him. He doesn't see you as an extension of himself. You are a unique, special, gifted and talented person and you are loved and respected for all of your gifts and qualities. He too has his gifts. And together you can use them productively. But any person who sees you in terms of the creature he can possess, control, order around, rule, force or whose opinion he can mold, shift or cause you to live in fear of is not a healthy person. And you can spend all your life trying to shape-shift to please him and you will never succeed. Because the more he claims to love you when you change for him, the worse you secretly feel, in an unacknowledged place deep inside your heart. That unacknowledged place doesn't stay hidden forever.

Mutual respect. Mutual respect and understanding of the flaws and the strengths, the weaknesses and the shining aspects, the desire to help your partner grow and allow them to learn, sometimes through trial and error- these are the things to look for in people.

So stand for something. Stand for you. Stand for that person who deserves to be loved, cherished and desired, not bullied, lied to or controlled. Stand up for that lady, replete with flaws as she may be, because it's up to you to grow and to change- and not up to anyone else to make you do it. Work at it. Work hard. It's not easy. We are raised in a society that advocates our giving up our power to those who are religious enough, handsome enough, rich enough or influential enough to threaten to impact our lives. We are raised to believe that we must give up our selves in the name of love. What society fails to mention is that if we give up our self, there is nothing left to love. We've melted into wisps scattered by the wind.

So, pretty lady, think twice before you try to earn his approval, love, desire or recognition by changing who you really are. The loss is greater than the gain. Your soul is at stake and it is more important than all the many handsome boys who whisper sweet murder in your ear. Hold out for the friends who respect you and the men who admire you. You don't need to live your life in a cage. I don't think this is an easy thing to do. In fact, I think you can wage a life's battle struggling to be enough for yourself, to stand alone rather than fitting yourself to his cage. It seems easier to be behind bars. At least you're protected and you're not alone, plus he validates you sometimes- doesn't he? Yes, he does. And what about all the other times that he poisons you so that you don't trust your own judgement? So that you base your life around his words and edicts? Where he locks the door of the cage and seals it with such a sweet, sweet kiss? Pretty lady, be wary of escape from freedom- you will lose your life in the process. Slowly and steadily and quietly, over many years, and you will deny it is happening because you are frightened to admit that you chose wrongly. But is it worth the price? I don't believe it is. There is a way to extricate you, somehow, some way, because God never wanted you to be a prisoner of any human, and especially not of the man who should love you. And because I know God sometimes saves people. I have witnessed it personally.


Adi said...

Phenomenal post, friend. (Though: does anyone still watch Grey's?)

Anonymous said...

Amazing post! Well said!

SisterBear said...

Some women want a strong man to be in charge, make their life run on self-automation.
It's oftentimes human nature to have the need to be led.
שִׂימָה-לָּנוּ מֶלֶךְ Samuel 1 8:4
Lots of my friends prefer the life of Riley.

Chana said...


Of course- that's a premise in Erich Fromm's Escape from Freedom. But even if you want to be led, that doesn't mean it needs to be in a Ste-e-e-ella! Streetcar Named Desire kind of way. Strong and abusive aren't synonymous.

SisterBear said...

Real equilibrium is precious and rare.
And in partnership, requires constant work.

fudge said...

oh, chana. i love you, even when you make me cry at work. :)

Anonymous said...

i never thought that this would be my trap i fell in
after regaining conciousness

i groveleed on the floor licking dust and hating myself inside out


I am a woman

and if " I am not for myself who will be for me?"

thank you for this post, but is it not also a bit too forceful considering the premise...?

Dana said...


Dana said...


Anonymous said...

this post made me cry,

but not for the obvious reasons. the best dating advice i ever got was, "anyone can change, expect for someone who's both strong-minded, and insecure." considering your recent engagement, this post, (and of course the fact that i don't know you,) i'd highly recommend a relationship counselor.

Anonymous said...

Anon May 05, 2010 9:11 PM,

you got to be kidding! People change to a cetain extent only.

Anonymous said...


This is an awesome, awesome post.

Thanks! ;-)

P.S. Best quote ever: "if we give up our self, there is nothing left to love. We've melted into wisps scattered by the wind."

Anon May 05, 2010 9:11 PM,

If I may: the only reason Chana can speak about this so candidly and objectively is *because* she is not, Thank God, in such a relationship.


Anonymous said...

i am anon 1:19 and I actually would like to apologize for my criticism

Jack Steiner said...

I really like the quote you opened with.

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