Mixed Messages Pt 3
Growing up as a young boy in my world, I received many mixed messages, and more mixed messages followed. There were some good messages. I saw men provide for their household by working hard, keeping food on the table, the lights on, and clothes on the backs of their children. I heard a lot about going to school and working hard to get a good education. I was told not to have sex before marriage, not to get a girl pregnant, to wear a condom to avoid STDs, and to take care of your responsibilities if you do get a girl pregnant. But sex and sexuality, pornography, and how to have a healthy loving relationship and marriage were not spoken about unfortunately. With the lack of that guidance and clarification, those mixed messages continued to bombard my adolescent brain. I unconsciously conformed to these backward messages and replayed them in my mind where they stayed with me until I reached a place of brokenness. The messages flowed through my mind…..
1. Porn isn't that big of deal, but keep it a secret.
2. Cheating is what it is. DON'T GET CAUGHT!
3. Sex is great.
4. The more a girl does sexually the more she cares for you.
5. Masturbation is fine, but keep it a secret.
6. The stronger the orgasm, the more she really cares for you.
7. If you have great sex with someone and it's often then it must be love.
8. Work hard, go to college, and get a good education.
9. I'm going to prove to God that I'm good enough.
10. Be responsible.
Messages shape who you are and your beliefs and those were my messages.
It is easy to see that these messages do not lead to long, loving, and meaningful relationships with the opposite sex. So let us talk about some other words and messages and see how they resonate:
Transparency, authenticity, intimacy, accountability, integrity, and vulnerability are core words we should all understand. I will share three different definitions for each one of these words in order to be crystal clear with the future man and avoid any chances of mixed messages.
Wikipedia – one of the world’s great examples of transparent collective behavior – states that “transparency” as it pertains to behavior implies openness, communication, and accountability. It is a metaphorical extension of the meaning a “transparent” object is one that can be seen through. Transparent procedures include open meetings, financial disclosure statements, freedom of information legislation, budgetary review, audits, etc.
Trust is the foundation of a relationship. Transparency is the currency of trust, the open sharing of information among parties involved.
Transparency is a way of relating to your partner in which you reveal your inner self, your true experience. That means exposing your vulnerabilities and fears, as well as your desires and points of view about whatever issues you're discussing. One is being open and revealing about yourself to your partner. It includes letting go of inhibitions or defensive feelings you might be harboring about what you haven't revealed, and also acknowledging your reluctance to do so. The flip side is being open and receptive to your partner's reality: his or her feelings, wishes, desires, fears and differences from yourself. It means openly encouraging your partner to express them to you.
To be authentic is to be real, transparent, truthful, or honest.
Authentic people are not afraid to be who they are and show who they are. There is no pretense. There is no building themselves up to look better; there is no tearing themselves down to look worse. They are secure with who they are. They know their strengths and use them in a loving, compassionate way. They know their weaknesses and catch themselves, without recrimination, when they fall into them. They are what we sometimes refer to as being “real.” Authentic people are approachable. It doesn’t matter what position they hold or what activity they are engaged in, if you are with them you will be treated with respect and attention.
Merriam-Webster defines authentic as a quality of being genuine and worthy of belief. Hence, a person who is completely trustworthy is deemed to be authentic. Yet to genuine requires a certain transparency, whereby others can witness the unfiltered personality, without any masking.
Intimacy is about being emotionally close to your partner, about being able to let your guard down, and let him or her know how you really feel. Intimacy is also about being able to accept and share in your partner's feelings, about being there when he/she wants to let their defenses down.
Intimacy (IN-TO-ME-YOUSEE) is all about the willingness to grant your partner total access to your inner world. Your inner world is the hidden world of your secrets, fantasies, motives, intentions, desires, and beliefs. It’s who you are without the masks and without the pretenses. Achieving this state of intimacy requires you to be mentally and emotionally transparent. This is why there’s no real intimacy without transparency.
Intimacy, makes us feel alive like we've been found, as if someone finally took the time to peer into the depths of our soul and really see us there. Naked and not ashamed. Respecting your partner’s boundaries, respecting each other’s privacy, not pressuring your partner, being faithful.
Accountable is defined in the Webster dictionary as “Responsible; Liable”. The quality or state of being accountable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions.
Clear commitments that-in the eyes of others-have been kept. Accepting responsibility for self, acknowledging past use of violence, admitting when you are wrong, communicating openly and honestly, keeping your word, not making excuses for your partner’s or for your own actions. Relationship is built on truth rather than game playing.
Accountability means that we have anywhere from 1 to 3 people that hold us responsible for our actions in areas of our lives in which we consistently struggle with sin, or fail to live up to God's standards. Accountability is meant to help us overcome these sinful strongholds in our lives.
Partners are able to maintain beliefs and sense of self as well as offer time & attention to the relationship. Partners have some independence & privacy and care about each other’s quality of life. Working on a relationship always begins with working on ourselves; take responsibility for our behavior (be accountable).
Integrity is not conditional and doesn’t change based on the situation. It is the way you view yourself and how you conduct yourself.
Integrity means living by your code. Integrity means being undivided-a man of integrity doesn’t waver between two opinions. He doesn’t fold under pressure. Other men under pressure may make mistakes, but pressure only makes him more determined to do the right thing. A man of integrity stands his ground. He is not double-minded, nor easily swayed. His loyalties are not split. He cannot be corrupted. He has decided in advance to hold his position, no matter what the cost. He takes personal responsibility for his inward character and outward conduct, while trusting Christ to empower him through the Holy Spirit. Incorruptible, sound, complete. Not flawless, but determined in Christ. –Integrity excerpt from The Young Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley
Dr. Brene Brown, a distinguished author and researcher, informs us that vulnerability is often viewed as a weakness, but it's actually a strength. In her landmark book Daring Greatly, she explains that vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. She writes, "To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe that vulnerability is a weakness is to believe that feeling is a weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.
Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable takes courage. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to be ourselves, to connect to others.
A willingness to be vulnerable is a significant feature of lasting relationships — ones in which partners are allies, not foes.