Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. In this episode you will hear about Running Away From a Suitor and Two Faces of Ownership.Support the show
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Hello and welcome to episode #79 of Eye-Opening Moments where you’ll hear real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. They are moments that can lift your spirits, give you some food for thought, or move you. For the introspective mind that likes to reflect, discover, and find solutions or meaning in a complex life, this is for you. I’m your host Emily Kay Tan. In this episode, you will hear about Running Away From a Suitor and Two Faces of Ownership.
Running Away From A Suitor
He was a married man pursuing me. He was masculine, charismatic, and successful, but I did not want to be with a married man. I was attracted to Dexter, but it made me uneasy to think about being with him. Just thinking of him had me guilt-ridden. He was relentless in his pursuits, and I had to find a way to be rid of him. Finding an escape, I discovered a new & unexpected companion that would enlighten me.
Newly single, I found myself “eyed” by some men as I worked around more men than women working in the financial industry. The glances from the men were not flattering to me. Maybe they were only interested because I was single. After all, they didn’t show any interest when they knew I was married. Not ready for a new relationship but wanting to stop the peering eyes, I decided to participate in some activities to find a new beau.
Speed dating was a fast and efficient way to find new prospects. In only one hour, I could meet up to ten men, engage in conversation with them, and mark if I wanted to date them. Five-minute conversations with each one sounded short. When an intriguing man appeared before me in the structure of musical chairs, five minutes was not enough. When someone was uninteresting, five minutes seemed like a long time. Still, it was fun. Soon the event would come to an end, and I would need to submit my paper of interest. Check off the ones I was interested in and mark an X for the ones I didn’t want to meet again.
To learn who would be interested in me, I decided to make a check mark for all the men I had five-minute conversations with. The only way I could get their contact information was if they marked a check for me and I marked a check for them. In other words, we could contact each other if it was a match. I also thought it increased my odds of making a connection even if I was not particularly interested in them. Five minutes may be enough to determine if you would like to get to know someone. On the other hand, it might not be enough time. I wanted to increase my chances.
I soon had several prospects call me to arrange dates. The next time I saw Dexter at business meetings or events, I would tell him I was busy and had dates. I thought that would let him know I was not interested in being with him and would deter him from pursuing me. I was woefully wrong. Dexter called me while I was on two of my dates. My dates were displeased with the phone calls while we had candlelit dinners. I turned my phone off, but it seemed to have already ruined the mood. The guys weren’t happy, and I was not particularly interested in them.
You might say, why didn’t you change your phone number so Dexter couldn’t call you? My answer is that I had business cards with my number on them, and I wanted prospective clients to be able to reach me; I didn’t want to miss business opportunities. You may ask why you didn’t block him or stop answering his calls. I did that, and then he would come looking for me at some business events, and he could find me since we were in the same company.
One year, I took a trip out of the country. I thought it would give me relief from Dexter calling me, and it did for ten days. I enjoyed my vacation, and Dexter couldn’t reach me as my phone calling plan did not include places out of the country. Freedom from Dexter’s pursuits was in sight!
Back in the country, I received calls from Dexter. I answered and straightforwardly told him to leave me alone and that I was not interested. Dexter wouldn’t hear of it and continued to find opportunities to see and talk with me. I would ignore him and not look at him, but I could feel his alluring glances over me. When I sensed him coming near, I would walk away to find someone to talk with and be busy with something else. For the most part, Dexter’s pursuits were subtle and didn’t seem like a significant issue, but they continued for a few years.
One year, I decided to take a trip for some peace and quiet. I wanted to think about my future or what I wanted for my future. I escaped to a remote inn in the woods. Surrounding the inn was only the forest and nothing else. One could only go on daily hikes and enjoy natural views. There was little to do at the inn. There was no television, no internet, and no cell phone reception. All I had was a room with a bed, some drawers, two chairs, a small round table, and a large window with a view of the forest. I also had a bathroom with an oversized tub. A small shelf had fragrant bars of soap and dried flowers in a small glass vase. I escaped to this place by car and could leave anytime, but I chose to stay a while.
The new and unexpected companion I found was myself. I discovered that I had always kept myself reasonably busy in life. If I didn’t, I felt unproductive or useless, so I had to be doing something all the time. Without television, internet, cell reception, or other people, I found nothing to distract me from myself. I had but to be with myself.
Sitting on a cushiony chair in my room and putting my legs on an ottoman, I looked out the large window. The towering trees made me feel small; I was only a tiny part of the many living things in the world. I had made myself so significant in the universe; I was not. I am not saying I am not an important human being, but sometimes, I did make a mountain out of a molehill. The majestic trees gave me a broader perspective on the larger schemes of things in life. A view of the lush greenery brought calmness and peace to a mind that was always busy with what I needed to do next. The longer I sat, the lighter my head felt, and the more I felt pressures lifting off of me.
Clearing my head, I decided to take a bath and use the fragrant soaps on the shelf. I was used to taking showers and hurrying to do the many things on my daily list of things to do. I had no to-do lists at the inn. I had time and sat and sat in the bathtub. I had nothing to do but be with myself. I examined my skin, legs, arms, and so forth. I realized I never took the time to examine my body. I could say I didn’t have the time, but I think it was more that I didn’t want to look at myself. After all, I am no beauty. Though I have had a number of suitors, I don’t know what beauty they ever saw in me.
And then I thought of Dexter. He was an attractive man with qualities I could enjoy. He told me I was beautiful, but I didn’t take it as a compliment from a married man. Despite the many positive aspects of his character that I could see, I reminded myself he had a grave flaw in his character. I would be wise not to overlook it and succumb to his magnetism. I did not want to be with a cheater.
As I bathed to wash my physical body, I also needed to cleanse myself of the trash in my head that hindered me from moving forward or enticing me to want to do bad things. How could I do it? Soaking in the tub, I saw my skin wrinkle before my eyes, so I got out. My entire body would shrivel up if I stayed in the tub until all the grime in my head disappeared! Cleaning the body was faster than attempting to remove the dirt in my head.
Returning to the comfy chair by the window, I sat down feeling refreshed with a clean body, but my mind did not feel so clean. After a divorce, I was still adjusting to unmarried life. I did not enjoy the looks businessmen gave me. I especially didn’t enjoy Dexter’s pursuits. With so much time alone and no technology to distract me, I had no excuse but to solve this problem.
Spending more days at the inn, I hiked in the forest. The fresh air seemed to help bring fresh oxygen into my lungs and remind me that new beginnings awaited me around the corner. Though I could always go somewhere to be close to nature, which brought calm and peace, there was something else tugging at me. I had distracted myself with many things to do, putting a lot of pressure on myself and not facing all my problems or even looking at myself.
Sitting on the chair in my room and staring blankly out the window, I had only me to keep me company. I had time to give my physical body a thorough cleaning. I had time to lay on the bed and run out of things to think about or do. I spent much time cleaning and relaxing, taking care of myself. I laid on the bed some more. Feeling empty, a strange feeling came over me. It occurred to me that I worked hard to care for myself to be an independent woman for many years, but something vitally important went unattended.
Why did I allow or how did I allow others to demean me, bully me, hurt me, or torment me? How did I get myself into those situations? How did I let it all happen? Suddenly, I had an epiphany!
Not only did I have the answer to those questions, but I also had the answer to the Dexter problem. I didn’t need to run away from him or any other issue. What I needed to do on the road to the beginning of reducing some problems was to respect myself.
Spending time alone at the inn with no distractions, my companion was me. My companion forced me to look deeper and further into the core of my being. I created three simple steps. Step one: Appreciate me. Step two: Respect myself. Step three: Let others know.
After designing my three steps, I rejoiced and got in my car to drive home. It was only two hours of driving, but it gave me ample time to enjoy my newfound freedom and think of what I would do to resolve some issues.
I got home and was soon back at work. I saw Dexter. I firmly told him to stop the pursuit. I said I deserved an unmarried man; I did not want a married man who would cheat on his wife, and I hoped he would respect that. Self-assured, I said I would call management or the authorities if he did not stop his pursuits. After that, Dexter left me alone. By respecting and appreciating myself, I can stand up for myself and let others know it. By respecting myself, I strengthened my confidence and courage, and I exuded the worthiness of respect.
Two Faces of Ownership
When we cry about some things that are no longer ours to own, we can also rejoice for the things that no one can take away from us.
I owned a Toyota Prius; it was a valued possession of mine. I bought it when it was brand new, and I was proud that I was able to pay for it in full. I loved its built-in navigator and mileage, which was most helpful for my business as I traveled to different places daily. I enjoyed the small exterior for parking and the roomy interior for storing a load full of things. Driving was quiet, light, and smooth; it made driving enjoyable. I had never loved a car before, but I loved this car. Unfortunately, when I moved abroad, I had to sell the fifteen-year-old. I was sad that it was no longer mine.
I was part owner of a five-bedroom home with a three-car garage. My husband and I bought it before it was even built. We got to choose the floor tiles and carpeting. Of course, we chose the floor plan we liked, too. The master bedroom’s bathroom was so big I danced in it to music. Since we had three bathrooms, Hubby said he’d take one of the other bathrooms, and I could have the big bathroom all to myself. I was ecstatic. The bathroom had an oval bathtub and a separate shower with a bench. Between the two sinks was a sizeable make-up area. The closet was big enough to be a small bedroom; my clothes and coats could all fit in it, and I had a lot of them. My bathroom was my paradise. Hubby had his office, and I had my office room with a couch, desk, shelves, and filing cabinets. I enjoyed having my own space. Every room was larger than I ever had before living in this house. I didn’t expect to leave all these comforts, but I gave it all up when I got a divorce and gave away ownership of the house for my freedom.
I have owned many other things, too. Some were sold, donated, broken, taken away, tossed, or stolen, and then they were no longer mine. Whether I bought them or whether someone gifted them to me, they felt like a part of me. When they were no longer mine, it felt like a part of me was taken away. But of course, those things can be replaced or forgotten. Maybe I claimed them to be part of my identity or status in society, but it is only a façade.
When parting with what was once ours to own, we need not be too sad about it. Tangible possessions do not represent or define us as a society might like to tell us. Belongings can come and go; you can buy them, lose them, and buy again. Are they that valuable?
When I moved abroad and had to let go of many possessions, I discovered I owned more valuable things than the ones I let go of. With fewer physical possessions, I realized the wealth of things I owned that money could not buy. No one could take them away from me unless I allowed it. That made it more invaluable.
You can take away my diplomas, degrees, licenses, or credentials, but you cannot eliminate the knowledge and skills I have acquired. You can strip me of having a car, but I can still get from place to place with other modes of transportation. Take away the many other things I used to have, and I can live without them. We have more wants than needs, and I possess creativity. My creativity belongs to me; you can’t take it away. It will always be there to help me solve problems and overcome challenges. Try as you might, you cannot take away my tenacity and resilience, too; it is a part of me.
I possess the character to explore without fear and enjoy the many things and places I discover or find. I hold the strength to face adversity with courage. I carry the curiosity to learn and see new things. I always have a choice; I am never stuck. My perception to always find the possible, even in the face of impossibility, keeps me moving. My ability to see the positive in the negative lunges me forward to a better day. Fearlessness, strength, courage, curiosity, choice, creativity, tenacity, resilience, and perspectives are all qualities I own. They are all a part of my character. They cannot be bought, sold, or auctioned off.
One face of ownership is the things you buy; they have an expiration date. Another face of ownership is the things you possess in your character. Know what you own, know its value, and treasure it.
When you feel a loss, remember you don’t lose the qualities that make your character. Be proud that you own them and use them to live life fully. The belongings you have that money can buy are like the cherries on top of a cake; they are not the foundations of who you are, nor are they your most valuable possessions.
Key Takeaways: While running away from a suitor, I discovered a unique companion who would help me realize I needed to appreciate and respect myself to move forward in solving some problems.
Though I may value my belongings and hate to part with them, I must remember I have priceless possessions that are a part of my character, and no one can take them away from me.
Next week, you will hear two new real-life stories called It’s Never Too Late and Layover Nightmare in Japan. If you enjoyed this episode of Eye-Opening Moments, please share it with others, subscribe, support the show by clicking on the link in the description, or go to www.inspiremereads.com and leave a message. Thank you for listening!