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Can you be an independent woman and in love with a man?

Parinaz Shams|Spiritual Life Coach & Mentor

I'm a single woman and entrepreneur. I've always prided myself on my independence, focus, and career-driven mindset.

I grew up in a family culture that valued excellence and self-reliance, so I've fully embraced the idea of being an independent woman.

But life has a way of challenging even our most deeply ingrained beliefs.

Six months ago, I met someone who's changed my life.

He's a remarkable man, and I've experienced feelings I never thought possible (I know, vomit on the floor).

It's like the universe decided to play a cosmic joke on me – the fiercely independent woman is now enamored by a guy who represents everything she's tried to avoid.

You see, he's a doctor – a surgeon, to be precise. A profession that demands unwavering dedication and leaves little room for flexibility. And to complicate matters, he lives in a different time zone.

If we want to explore the depths of this connection, it would mean bridging the gap between us, and the burden seems to fall on my shoulders.

Suddenly, I find myself grappling with my deepest fears.

Fear of losing myself for a man, of giving up my independence and ambitions for the sake of love. The thought of people suggesting I should stop working if I marry him is enough to trigger my gag reflex.

Amidst this internal struggle, questions have emerged within myself:

Can I nurture my femininity, honor my goals, and still cherish this love I feel for him?

Is it possible to create a reality where both aspects coexist harmoniously?

Moving forward feels overwhelming and daunting. It's not as simple as a Nike slogan – "Just do it."

I'm sure to some people this seems like no big deal.

Like, you just do it and don't over think it. I'm sure there are people out there saying, "Of course you don't have to compromise, while others say relationships are all compromise."

It's easy to "just do it" when you're Nike printing the words on a T-shirt.

It's a lot harder to "just do it " when it's your life that you've carved out for yourself and it's your sense of self on the line.

And by the way, which part of this exactly am I supposed to "just do"?

Just do my career?

Just do the relationship?

How? Where is it all leading?

What do you do in the name of love? What is love, really?

As I ponder these questions, I'm realizing there's a lot of ego (I don't mean ego in a bad, arrogant, selfish way. I mean it as a way of describing my sense of self and fixed identities I've built for myself) that needs to be examined.

I'm realizing that my fears have the power to undermine my heart's desires if I let them.

I'm realizing how crucial my awareness is right now. How crucial my courage is right now.

Courage to be real. To be open. To be honest with myself about what I really want in this life, even if it doesn't fit the idea I've cultivated in my head for so long.

I don't buy that relationships are just about sacrificing one for the other.

I feel there's another way - where you can honor all parts of yourself and the love you have for the other if you're courageous enough to see the many different possibilities.

If you're willing to be courageous enough to go beyond the scripts you've inherited on how relationships should go, and instead embrace your unique path.

I feel love might be about navigating the intricacies of my life, my identity, and my sense of self and remaining open to let a man (and anyone else) in on that process. Let them share it with me rather than giving something over to them.

Can I be an independent woman (really?) and in love with a man?

I don't have clear answers at this point. Each day that passes is a wave of mixed emotions. At times, it seems the clarity will never come. Somedays I want to scream and start everything over, as if that would help.

But, on other days, and more and more, I can feel my courage growing inside me.

Slowly and gradually I can feel the sparks of clarity igniting in my consciousness.

It's on those days I take a deep breath and remember what a teacher said to me a long time ago: "there are no mistakes as long as you listen to your heart."

Although I feel the pressure of a lifetime as I face this inflection point in my existence, and it can feel so hard to quiet the noise enough to listen to that heart of mine, I am trying.

I am choosing to take one step in the courageous direction every single day. We'll see where it leads.


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