Teach Me How To Love

"Teach Me How to Love" by Musiq Soulchild is one of my favorite songs.  The first line is "I was always told the true definition of a man is to never cry". He goes on to say that he doesn't know how to surrender his heart to love. He knows his relationship is broken and misaligned but he really does not know what to do to love his woman the way she needs to be loved.

Kamryn Adams
This is a tricky situation for the ladies because we love harder and stronger in a more demonstrative way and often want this same demonstration in return. Do men love us hard and strong?  They most certainly do. But the demonstration of that love can be clouded by experiences from the past or even messages and circumstances from their upbringing. Believe it or not ladies, a man's ability to handle emotional pain and disappointment is nowhere close to ours.

You can give a man almost everything he asks of you, food, strength, shelter, sex, confidence, laughs, intellectual conversation but the one thing you cannot give him is the ability to love with courage.  Loving with courage means that we have faith in the power of the relationships, not necessarily in the person.  Though that line is thin and blurry.  We can often confuse our belief in our relationship destiny with the belief that the person will never hurt us.  That's not a promise in any relationship.  A good friend recently said, "We are not perfect people so there are no perfect relationships." True!

The truth is that our ability to love comes from God because God is love.  In the book of John, the bible says "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."  We sometimes fear in love because we know that we are not perfect. Women and men alike can have this fear. But, men have a harder time dealing with it by nature.

We also fear in love because we fear retribution from our past. "...fear has to do with punishment."  We are afraid that because our relationship started a certain way or because of the way we have treated relationships in the past that we are in for our "just due".  But if you truly love someone then you must have the courage to move into love...in faith.  Faith that God, who is love, will keep you and the relationship whole and full of joy.

Mix and Match...Friendship Choices

In close friendships the chemistry between women is much more important that the chemistry between men. For the most part, men can interact with one another with little bias.  They can drink a beer, high-five, watch the game and not really care much about the other guys views as long as he is cheering for the same team. On the other hand, women can get a "vibe" from other women that renders a girls night out into a disaster among divas.

Don't get me wrong. Men require a balance of chemistry, just at a different level than women do.  For instance, a man with a lot of swagger and confidence in the way he does things will choose not to spend time with a "sucker" or "hater".  Outdoorsy guys don't build close relationships with metrosexuals. Notice in these instances that the two personality traits are basically opposing.

In contrast, "there's just something about her" is enough for a woman not to build a close relationship with someone who could turn out to be a loyal friend.  I understand this well, because I have formed many relationships with girlfriends who later tell me that they "had me all wrong".  My personal knowledge of human behavior helps me to move past these initial biases without being turned-off by the person. After all, you guys know my motto. "If I wasn't me, I would probably hate me too."  Consequently, I have chosen some very close girlfriends who I might have never met if I let the first thirty seconds of stank determine our fate.

So we choose to be around people who are like us. Sure, we may have a few minor differences in our circle but for the most part, our crew is tightly linked.  But is that the best thing for our social and emotional development?  Maybe not.

If we insulate ourselves with people who think like us and act like us, then we run the risk of stunting our growth and awareness of the world around us.  Likewise, if we surround ourselves with people of our own race, we begin to lose the ability to interact with diverse cultures and perspectives. Ultimately, the world passes us by and we become rather educated idiots.

You get the most out of life when you mix and match your relationships. You should have friends of different races, religions, and ideals.  And I don't mean the one (white/black/gay/immigrant/single/) friend that comes to your Christmas party every year. I mean someone that you speak to on a regular basis.

The irony in building diverse social relationships is that you begin to realize that human beings have a fundamental similarity in love, health, and happiness. When you build diverse social relationships you broaden your perspective on life....and improve your chances of being POTUS. :-)