When Blessings Become Burdens

Recently, during a conversation, one of my good friends made a statement that I later posted on my Instagram: “Sometimes, a pedestal can also be a prison.” and here was my caption:

So, some transparency on a Friday morning: The truth of this statement lies in my day to day reality of being an ambitious, driven, purposeful woman who dreams big AND does big. The way my faith in God is set up, I was not placed here to play it small. And I have not experienced what I have in life to then not be a light to others. Yet, there are times when I feel imprisoned by my independence. People have told me, “you just have it all together” as if that implies that I don’t need or care about companionship & connection or as a way to dismiss my emotional responses to life. We should be careful not to take for granted the humanity of strong, independent people. We should hold them just as closely as we do those who are weak & in need. Because at the end of the day, we will always share a human, basic need for Love.
#goodmorning #HappyFriday #TheLoveLife

Margaret A. Brunson, Ph. D., MPA | Photo by Kumolu Studios

Since this post, I’ve engaged in many other conversations about this topic (because that’s usually how it happens in my life). Usually, these discussions are in the company of other women who share similar sentiments. And, generally, many times, we walk away feeling a sense of camaraderie and belonging because we represent a special group of women who have found purpose, decided to take action to walk and live in that purpose, but also find ourselves lacking the type of companionship and relationship that we desire.

Then, there are rare occasions when I hear from men about this topic. I sit with them (usually in groups) and listen to them discuss how women who are independent are often intimidating because those women make a man feel that he is not needed. They go on to express that most men are just built that way and they need to feel needed. Usually, the conversation results in them providing tips for the women (usually from the men) on how to be more open and show men that they are needed.

While I appreciate these conversations and the perspective they provide, I usually walk away feeling burdened. The burden is not necessarily because of what was said, but because it had to be said at all. I feel burdened to think that the same characteristics and conditions that many people seek to acquire throughout their lifetime: strength, resiliency, independence, spiritual fortitude, financial stability, etc. have become barriers (for Black women) to being in loving and healthy relationships. I feel burdened because many women who have decided to be entrepreneurs and leaders in their respective fields and communities are perceived as not needing a man when most desire and need companionship, relationship and love.

Black men, I think it’s time to rethink the current status quo and consider this reality.

And that reality is this:

It’s 2015 (almost 2016). Women will continue to search for purpose and success through their education and careers. We will become leaders, business owners, attorneys, CEOs, doctors, professors, writers, blogger celebrities, community leaders, public relations gurus, and powerful real estate brokers. We will make money and lots of it. We will travel, buy houses, cars and expensive pieces of art. And, we will do much of this without any assistance from you. And, no, many do not need your money. But, this doesn’t mean that they don’t need YOU.

The narrative of yesteryear associates your value as a man with how much money you bring to the table. And that narrative was largely based on men being sole or primary providers in their homes due to the culture of the time and the fact that women did not have the same access to careers with high paying wages (among other reasons like patriarchy, religion, etc…). And, while the ability to provide financially is an incredibly important aspect of taking care of a family, it is not the totality (and dare I say foundation) of your value and worth.

The foundation of your worth in a relationship is based on your ability to provide for the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of your family. And, I’ll just say it…the aforementioned women NEED that from you. Now, I know that one of you is saying right now “she doesn’t understand that men are just not built that way.” And, you’ve probably started formulating a long list of reasons why women should just accept this. However, I’d like to challenge you on that.

Every one of us is a spiritual and emotional being. The seat of your emotions lies in your ego. And the ego and Spirit within are constantly at war. But, when we learn to submit the ego to the Spirit, we begin to see things very differently. When we begin to see the interconnectedness of our being with the beings of others, we find a new sense of purpose and direction through a lens of humility.

And, I believe that as you seek to fight the systemic oppression that blocks your ability to access success and wealth, this new reality means seeing and accepting the value of partnership. I will not go into great detail, but you can hear and discover the stories, past and present, of many successful Black men who embraced this reality and discovered a new level of access to the life they desired through partnership.

I’m very aware of the women out there who have made it to a certain point in life and they become terrible to deal with. And we all walk into a room with a load of baggage behind us. Women certainly have our share of work to do to become more open, authentic, trusting, and loving. But, as you seek to connect with a woman on a deeper level, remember this reality. If she shows you who she is and you discern and believe that she is right for you, activate the Spirit within and fight your ego. Do not allow your insecurities to become her problem because her sense of purpose threatens your ego. You just might be the man of her dreams and she just might be an answer to your prayers.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to post comments, thoughts, complaints or questions on this topic. I’d love to hear what you think.

Until we meet again, cheers to #TheLoveLife.

#TheLoveLife is a campaign, movement, leadership development theory, self-help strategy/intervention, community engagement principle, cure for the ills of the world, catchy hashtag, personal mantra, and/or whatever you want or need it to be. Most importantly, it’s about embracing a different way to view your life’s journey; and I am so excited to share #TheLoveLife with you!


Dr. Margaret A. Brunson is a trained executive leadership professional with over fifteen years of experience in the public and non-profit sectors. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Master of Public Administration degree from North Carolina Central University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in leadership studies from North Carolina A&T State University.