If I had to write a list of the questions that I am most frequently asked, ‘How does he feel about me?’ would be at the top.
As someone who understands the importance of self-worth and personal empowerment, this frequently asked question never fails to trouble me, because it suggests insecurity and disempowerment.
How someone feels about you and what they think of you is not your problem. Your focus must always be on what you are thinking and feeling about them. The danger of focusing on someone else’s perception of you, particularly a love interest, is that you may find yourself making subtle changes to yourself to be the person they want.
So What Does it Mean to be Empowered?
An empowered woman’s primary concern is how she feels about a person or situation. She knows what she wants and she knows how to get it. She will be looking for signs that this is attainable with the person of interest.
Is communication consistent?
Is he honest?
Is he polite and respectful?
Does he share your interests?
Do his actions match his words?
Red Flags and Calling Cards
Red flags and calling cards are often overlooked when a woman’s main concern is pleasing and keeping a man, along with worrying if she is ‘enough’.
Examples of Red Flags:
Examples of Calling Cards:
- Passive aggression, lies, indiscretions, rudeness, anger.
- Lying by omission, veiled insults, jealousy, failing to keep promises.
- Insincerity, never taking personal responsibility or admitting being wrong.
Statements such as:
- ‘I’m no angel’,
- ‘My ex was crazy’,
- ‘I can be a handful’,
- ‘I hope you know what you are taking on’.
Insecurity is More Than Just a Feeling
When a woman’s primary concern is how a man feels about her, it is very easy to respond to red flags and calling cards with unlimited forgiveness, love, and reassurance, whereas the empowered woman would challenge bad behavior and question these statements.
The consequences of failing to establish strong healthy boundaries can be catastrophic. When you accept how someone treats you, you are letting them know that their behavior is ok. Change is not needed. All is well. When you reach the point where you wish things were better and hope for change, you will be the one who is moving the goalposts, and your requests may be met with confusion, resistance, and a refusal to conform. With this in mind, it is vitally important to start as you mean to go on, and that means not allowing your insecurities to stop you from addressing issues as they arise.
An empowered woman sees a new relationship as two people taking a chance to get to know one another and explore the potential. She is not afraid to address issues, communicate concerns and even risk losing the relationship. She knows that being single is preferable to being in a toxic interaction, and her sense of self-worth is strong. Her strength and self-confidence are extremely attractive. She is available but not easy. She is interested but not desperate. She knows her value, and if a man wins her affection it will be because he can match what she brings to the relationship. He will earn his place in her life, and her heart, and avoid doing anything that may result in losing her. She is a catch. He knows her value because she knows her value and that wins his respect.
An insecure woman has a very different energy. Insecurity in a relationship is like kryptonite to Superman. It permeates every aspect of the interaction. It leads to suspicion, accusations, manipulation, and threats. There may be attempts to control, and this can lead to misery for all concerned. Insecurity can lead to being or staying with someone due to fear of being alone, or fear of them finding someone else. The insecure woman will often interpret need, fear, control, and deep insecurity, as ‘love’, but love as very little to do with it.
Love in its true form is unconditional. It does not demand compliance, it does not seek to coerce or control, it does not anger, rage or attack. Someone who really loves you wants you to have what you want for yourself. They want you to be happy.
Someone once told me that when she left her partner, he tracked her down and smashed the windscreen on her car. She interpreted this as the actions of someone who must really love and miss her when in fact it was evidence of someone jealous, insecure, and controlling who was acting out because he was losing that control. Someone who loves you will not find ways to sabotage you!
Consider Your Own Agenda
Too often I speak to callers who are more concerned with filling a vacancy than finding a good match. There are worse things in life than being single! Ask anyone who has suffered an abusive or unsatisfactory marriage. The old saying ‘marry in haste, repent at leisure’ is as relevant now as it ever was. The legacy of an unhappy union can live on long after the relationship has ended. It can cause emotional injuries and ‘baggage’ that can seriously impact and potentially limit the success of future relationships.
An empowered woman seeks to protect her heart and does not reveal her vulnerabilities until she feels it is safe to do so. She is emotionally mature and understands that she is responsible for her choices and will suffer the consequences if she makes a mistake.
An insecure woman will often rush in, become attached to a specific outcome and remain in a highly dysfunctional relationship. People often ask why someone would remain in an abusive situation. While there are many reasons for this, part of the problem is conditioning. Abuse in relationships tends to grow over time. When boundaries are absent and the relationship is driven by need and insecurity, things can gradually deteriorate. What would have been unacceptable 2 months into the relationship is normal 2 years into it.
People are usually attracted to what is familiar. They will generally find a partner who matches them in terms of education, interests, social status and outlook. This is also how dysfunctional people find one another. So failing to address your own insecurities can lead you to attract, and be attracted to, others with issues. This is often how toxic relationships begin.
Ways to Empower Yourself
Positive affirmations. You have many amazing qualities. Make a list!
Perspective. Life is a mixture of good, bad and indifferent for all of us. Do you see yourself as a victim or a survivor?
Slow down. When it comes to new relationships, take your time. Allow someone to show you who they are before you start worrying about what they want from you and where things are headed.
Build a life for yourself. When you get yourself to a good place alone, the way that you assess potential relationships will be based on what someone can do to enhance the amazing life that you have and, more importantly, not have a negative impact. This will help you to make better choices. Anyone can fill a vacancy, but is that really enough?
Know your own worth. Think of all the people in your life who love you. How do they treat you? What would they want for you? While you may not always welcome their opinions when it comes to some of your choices, consider that they are coming from a place to love and wanting the best for you.