There’s an impactful story that’s been circulating in social media recently. I read it last year and loved what it teaches us about our own value and worth, but now that I’m engaged, I have a different perspective on it.
First, here’s the story:
A father said to his daughter “You have graduated with honors, here is a Jeep I bought many years ago. It is pretty old now. But before I give it to you, take it to the used car lot downtown and tell them I want to sell it and see how much they offer you for it.”
The daughter went to the used car lot, returned to her father and said, “They offered me $1,000 because they said it looks pretty worn out.”
The father said, “Now take it to the pawn shop.” The daughter went to the pawn shop, returned to her father and said, “The pawn shop offered only $100 because it’s an old Jeep.”
The father asked his daughter to go to a Jeep club and show them the Jeep. The daughter then took the Jeep to the club, returned and told her father, “Some people in the club offered $100,000 for it because it’s an iconic Jeep and sought by many collectors.”
Now the father said to his daughter, “The right place values you the right way. If you are not valued, do not be angry, it means you are in the wrong place. Those who know your value are those who appreciate you. Never stay in a place where no one sees your value.”
As you may know from my recent Facebook post, my soulmate asked me to marry him. We’ve been living as husband and wife in our hearts and souls but something about the proposal made manifest in physical form has had me thinking deeply about relationships and what makes them work (or not).
I’ve had quite a few heartbreaks and broken relationships in the past that have left me feeling much like this Jeep as my exes traded me in for a newer, shinier model.
If you’ve had similar experiences with love relationships or even with families, friendships and jobs, the Jeep story probably makes you feel empowered, valued and hopeful.
That’s wonderful, we should all go where we’re celebrated and not tolerated.
And now, allow me to offer an alternative perspective to this story.
Scroll up and read this story again, only now, imagine your partner, husband, wife, lover, soulmate – whatever you call your significant other – reading it.
If you’re single, imagine your ex reading it. If this story resonates with you about a different kind of relationship, imagine that person reading it.
To this other person, are you the used car dealer, the pawn shop or the Jeep club?
In our selfie society, hardly anyone ever turns the camera around to see the other person. It’s about how I feel and how I’ve been mistreated and what you’ve done to me. Much like the filters we use in our selfies to edit out our own blemishes and flaws, we do the same in life. We edit out our own contributions to the downfall of our relationships and make it all about them and what they did to us. We feel emboldened and tell ourselves we deserve to be treated better.
And while that may be true, could we have treated them better too?
Did we celebrate them or tolerate them?
When we do turn the camera around to see the other person, it’s often to blame and shame them. Our cancel culture has taught us to become intolerant of opposing views and quick to judge. Our I-deserve-more culture has taught us to demand respect without giving it.
If you’re currently in a relationship, does your partner do things that make you grit your teeth and say snarky comments in your head (or out loud)? Do you wish they’d stop being a certain way so that you won’t get so annoyed? Do they have different values and you wish they’d “wake up” or “see the light” or become more conscious and spiritually aware?
Do you celebrate them when they do what you want them to do, when they behave in a way you want them to behave… or do you celebrate them exactly as they are, even when it disagrees with you?
A used car dealer and pawn shop looks for a car that they can make money from with little investment.
It’s about what the car can do for them.
A car collector is looking for a car they can invest in, spend time with, bring out its brilliance, something they can cherish and love.
It’s about what they can do for the car.
How do you see your partner?
The best relationship book I’ve ever read is by author Dr. Kelly Flanagan called The Marriage Manifesto. I read it after my last failed relationship years ago because I was desperate to understand how relationships worked and determined not to repeat the same cycle over again in my next relationship. It changed my entire perspective.
It turned me into a Jeep club. I let go of the “what can you do for me” mentality in relationships and learned how to lay my ego aside and be better in relationships, business and life.
If you want to have a mutually loving, powerful and positive relationship, become like a car collector and see your partner’s true value underneath the scrapes, dings and all.
(pssst… this applies to your own relationship with your self too)