My husband has often recounted to me the travails he experienced during teenage dating, long before he met me. One of his favorite stories is the one where he went on a date with a young lovely. He felt so awkward and tongue-tied. As someone who attended an all-boy school, he didn’t have a clue about how to talk to a young woman in whom he was interested. (However as someone who attended a mixed school, I can attest that it’s never easy as a teen to talk to anyone in whom you might have a romantic interest…)
So he talked with her about things he was interested in, which revolved around cars and how they worked.
“Can you believe it?” he would say to me incredulously on more than one occasion. “I even drew a rendering of a crank shaft engine to show her how it worked!” Then he would throw up his hands and cover his face in shame.
Flash forward 50 years to his joint reunion with the nearby all-girls school.
He sat next to a woman and noticed her nametag. Slow realization. “I think I know you,” he said. Dawning remembrance passed across the woman’s face. “I think we went on a date.”
He recounted his experience of the date and embarrassment over having bored her. She looked puzzled.
“But I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I thought it was so cool that you knew so much about it!”
We often make ourselves the focus of so much self-judgment. During my coach training, I remember giving a complimentary consultation to a younger woman. It felt to me that it went way off track, and that it was my least successful consultation to that date.
I told my academic supervisor who ran the coaching program.
“Did you know that she decided to join the coach training because of what you did with her?” she asked. To my stunned silence she said, “Don’t judge.”
May we pursue our paths, remembering to refrain from unfounded judgments, particularly about ourselves,