We recommended that peak because we thought the runs would be a little easier for him. It would better match his skill level. He said, “I don’t know if I would like that or not,” before saying “No, I don’t think so.”
We gently encouraged him, sharing the reasons that we thought that he’d really love the experience of a new peak.
After a time, he reluctantly said, “Okay, I’ll try it.”
We could tell he was scared, and he seemed convinced he wasn’t going to like it even before trying it. However, once he and his grandma came back to our house, he just went on and on about how much he loved it! He liked it more than anywhere else he had skied before.
The problem is, we don’t know what we would or would not like until we experience it ourselves. We sometimes base our opinions and decisions off fear—such as the fear of failure or a belief that’s been created from a past unpleasant experience. When we make decisions this way, we are not deciding based on trustworthy information. We may have developed biases without realizing it or without questioning why we have a bias.
The problem with prejudices and biases is that they are often not based on trustworthy facts.
We are bombarded with information constantly, everywhere. We may read something in a magazine, or hear someone say something, or we may have an experience that makes us think our experiences will be negative. So, we make blanket judgments about who or what is “out there” and I’m telling you. . .we can’t trust these biases.
I once coached a woman who said she didn’t want to date long distance because she didn’t want to move. She wanted to stay right where she was, and I totally get it. She liked where she lived, and there is nothing wrong with that. But, just like the boy who came to ski, she didn’t have enough information to know exactly what she would or would not like—because she had no idea what moving would involve.
She was only looking at the negative. She didn’t consider that her story could turn out really well and that she could be happy by saying “yes.”
She wasn’t thinking that she could meet a man who’d love, care, and adore her the way that no one had ever loved, cared, or adored for her before.
She hadn’t considered that moving could mean fun and fulfilling relationships with a new community.
She hadn’t considered that she could grow through moving, that she could find a new house that feels like home, or that it could be the best decision of her adult life.
She had only been looking at the risks and what she would have had to let go of—so she wasn’t being open to what could be.
She may have been thinking about her past and measuring the future off one or two isolated experiences. She decided that she was not open and that she was not going to take the risk. In her mind, staying put was going to be far better than where she would
go, even though she had no basis for that decision. I noticed that she didn't have enough information for that decision because she hadn't experienced it yet, nor did she open herself up to the thought of investigating it.
One of my favorite childhood buddies, Mr. Rogers, often said, “When you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”
You are always at the start of something else, and that something else could be amazing. And, even if it is not perfect, it can be a growing experience. Your outlook determines your reality.
Before my husband and I married, he received a job offer that meant moving to Chicago. One evening before he accepted the position, we went to dinner together and he lamented. “I don’t want to move to Chicago.” I said, “Listen, this could be the best decision we have ever made. It could turn out to be a huge blessing.” He said, “Yeah, but it's in Chicago.”
His only prior experience with Chicagoland had been when he had to travel there on business. And he just knew he didn’t want to live there. So again, I encouraged him and said, “Listen, this could be a great thing. We just never know.”
At the time, it was our only real job opportunity, and he needed to take a new position. So, we moved to Chicago, and for 18 months we lived in an adorable community on the west side of city. We absolutely loved it. We often say that it was kind of like living in Mayberry.
It was beautiful to see kids walk their dogs and women push their baby strollers along the sidewalks. There were big, gorgeous trees and neat, old houses lining narrow streets. We felt at home. Even now when we go back there it feels familiar and comfortable.
Not only did all those great things happen, but shortly after we moved, we got an added bonus—one of our girls and her new husband moved just a mile and a half down the road! So, we got to know them as a new couple—and since we were also a new couple—and it was such a joy.
This allowed us to be nearby when our first grandson was born, and as we look back on this time, both of us are so grateful that we moved. We were so glad we took the risk. It was good for our marriage that followed, and it was good for our family. We would have missed out on all that had we not been open to what could be.
My husband’s prior experience with Chicago had nearly pushed him not to move to the idyllic community we later called home. Fears of the unknown, biases, or prejudices against certain experiences can really hold the best woman back from being open to love, too.
Fear, having “a type,” being set in where you want to live, having rules about how you will meet can all hold you back from love.
But, being open can improve your opportunities for love.
Of course, you should not overlook red flags. Abuse, addiction, selfishness, narcissism, or lack of interest in are all legitimate red flags. I'm talking about being open so that your story can be written in a way that you hadn't anticipated.
If you're not open, I encourage you to ask yourself, “How much do I really want to marry?”
And then I’d encourage you to ask yourself: “If I am open, and I meet someone who really loves and adores me, what could this mean for my life? How could my life change? What will my life look like 10, 15, 20 years from now if I am not open? And if I’m not open, what could that mean for my love life too?”
I can tell you from my experience what being open has done for me. I'm not just talking about moving to Chicago. I'm talking about marrying a man who has five grown children. I had been closed to an arrangement like this. I wasn’t going to marry a man with kids because I imagined it would be horrible.
It would mean getting rejected and always feeling like a third wheel and having my dream to belong in a family crushed. I knew I wasn’t up for that because I didn’t want to feel left out. I just knew that being in a blended family would be awful. I pictured what it could be like, and I only envisioned bad, unhappy outcomes.
I almost closed off to the opportunity his love provided me because of assumptions I had made based on what I had read or imagined. But making the choice to marry my husband has been the biggest blessing of my adult life. Being open in a way that I hadn't been in the past has led to awesome things—and I haven’t felt cheated. I married my best friend!
We get to travel together, and I love having him as my travel companion. I'm no longer lonely. I have my best friend to ride bikes with and eat lunch with. I have a guy who makes me laugh, who tells me that he loves me every morning, and who cuddles with me before we get out of bed. I feel loved, appreciated, and adored. The cherry on top is that one of my adopted daughters has made me a grandma twice! That is another blessing that I couldn’t have possibly seen coming.
But because I was looking at all the negative things—instead of all the positive things that could happen—I was closed. What I would have missed had I not chosen my husband!
Stay open and say “Yes.” Rule men in before you rule them out.
A couple recently met in a singles community I started on
Facebook. She was originally from the Philippines, but she was living in Australia when she met a man in this FB group. He was from a small town in South Texas, and when they started communicating with one another, he was hesitant because of the distance. And at one point he began to pull away. After all, she wasn't in the next state over.
She was thousands of miles away.
And he thought this could be a big issue. She was hesitant for other reasons. When I spoke with her recently, she told me he wasn’t her type and that there was no way she could become interested.
“He’s a history professor and I hate history!” There was just no way. But they started talking, they met at Disneyland for the first time, and over the months that followed they developed a great friendship and relationship.
He then visited her in the Philippines, where he proposed to her—all after they had gotten to know each other. By this time, she had gotten past the whole thing about him teaching history and him not being her type. He had obviously gotten past the distance. She told me that the happiness she experiences in marriage with him now has nothing to do with the things that she thought were going to be big issues.
Again, this is what I'm talking about: challenging yourself to weigh the pros and cons of a situation and avoid focusing on the negative points without having enough information to base an informed decision.
In this scenario, the deal breakers they felt they had fell away and became non-issues as they got to know each other because love won. He was willing to do whatever he could to make her his wife and she was willing to be open to marrying a history professor. She even moved from Australia to South Texas. How's that for being open!?
So, what if they had been closed and remained unbending? What if she had held onto this idea that she wasn't going to marry a man who was a professor? What if he held on to this idea that he wasn't going to date a woman who was so far away?
They wouldn't be together now.
They wouldn't be happy together now, but because they were both willing to stay open, do some investigation, and get to know each other, they are now happily married and thankful they challenged themselves to stay open.
That’s just one story. There are a whole lot of singles who are happily married and who would not be happily married had they not been open to their story being written in a different way than they imagined. My encouragement for you that will improve your opportunities to experience love in your life is to stay away from being closed. Stay away from biases, stay away from imagining what something will be like. Stay open until you have enough information about a particular man or situation.
Again, rule men in before you roll them out. Don't make assumptions about what you would or wouldn't like. Don't make assumptions about the type of man that you would or wouldn't like, and don't make assumptions about whether you would be happy here and not there.
Every situation is a little different, and every man is different. You never know how being open might lead to the biggest blessing of your life. Be like the boy who opened himself up to a new world of skiing. He was willing to say yes.
Now, you might be thinking, “Yeah, but I'm not going to settle.” If you talk to Tanner, or the young couple I mentioned, or me, or my husband, none of us would say we settled. We would say we have been blessed and surprised in unexpected ways.
So, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to learn to say “yes” more than you say “no,” (unless there are red flags and obvious reasons to say “no”). You never know how your heart might change, how a situation might unfold, or how things may work out in a way that you never thought possible.
I want to encourage you and to remind you that the dream that you have to love and be loved is possible!
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