When I got the idea to write about being a discerning woman, I actually didn’t realize and was surprised by the fact that everything I researched came up with religion as its basis. Hmm; I wondered why I couldn’t find anything about discernment or being discerning that wasn’t “from God”. Well, I dug a little deeper, as is the premise of my blog, and discovered that discernment is in fact based in Christianity, based in faith, of God, etc. BUT, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be discerning if you are not a Christian, or not religious. So then what does it actually mean to be discerning?
Maybe you’ve heard someone say something like “he/she has very discerning taste.” How does that relate to the religious and faith based origin of “discerning”? What does that mean exactly? To be discerning means that you are able to recognize, to detect and distinguish between good and bad. If you have “discerning taste”, it means that you notice important things. You are able to judge whether a situation or a decision or a person’s behaviour is right or wrong. You are sometimes said to be sophisticated or that you have good taste.
Being discerning is much more than making good or right decisions. Discernment is about having some forethought, wisdom and the ability to act or not act, depending on your assessment of a situation. Being a discerning person may mean that you’re choosy or particular. Whichever adjective you use to describe it, being discerning means that you don’t just go with the flow. You think carefully about the decision you are about to make. It means that you think for yourself. You are discriminating; not condescending, but rather as the Oxford English Dictionary describes it, “having or showing good taste or judgement”.
You are judging situations and yes, people, but not to be critical of them, but rather in observance. You are deciding, judging if you will…whether a person, a situation, a job, a friendship or romantic relationship is right for you. Right for you. You’re not “judging” them personally for cruel reasons, you’re judging the suitability of the relationship for your sake. You’re not judging him or her as a person. That’s not your job and you have no right to do that. Do you see the difference?
Is this what you think of when the word discerning is mentioned?
How To Become A Discerning Woman
For the purpose of this blog, we’ll focus mainly on discernment in relationships. Discernment, like any other skill, takes practise. Here’s what you do if you want to become a discerning woman.
Patience Is A Virtue
It takes time to make good decisions. It’s important to observe, to analyze, and to think about the situation at hand. I would think you want to use both your head and your heart in your decision-making process, especially if the decision you are making involves a relationship, friendship, romantic or otherwise.
Understanding yourself, what you value and why, plays a large part in being a discerning woman. Two of my blogs touch on such values; Do You Value Yourself? and Trust In Yourself. If you don’t know what you value in life then you can’t really decide what or who is correct for you. You have to do the work, figure out who you are; that’s step one.
Make Good Decisions
Sometimes you can get bogged down by all the bad things that happen in the world. Our world is broken, but in its broken-ness you tend to find the lessons, the beautiful things and really lovely people, IF you take the time to observe and to make decisions based on your values, and what you discern to be right and good for you.
When you don’t take time, you run the risk of making decisions out of fear of lonliness, financial struggles, or feeling unloved. You don’t want to do that. Trust me, I’ve done it. You don’t want to get stuck in a bad or overly stressful and toxic work environment, or a negative and demeaning relationship with someone. If you get yourself in a toxic relationship you will lose hope. It’s hard to leave a bad relationship when you’re emotionally and/or physically beaten down.
And, you inadvertently affect those who love you, by the way. Watching someone try to live through, or trying to leave a bad relationship causes heartache for your parents, family and friends. But that’s not our focus here. YOU are my focus right now. You, getting out of, or better yet preventing a very chaotic, stressful, negative and damaging situation.
Assess- Don’t Give Up
When you give up on life because of how one person treated you, or you feel isolated and alone, how can you enjoy life? Your focus will be on just getting through the day at work, or hating the fact that you have to go home to a stressful and toxic partner. That’s not living. That’s not why you were put on this earth. You are here to enjoy and thrive in life! Don’t forget about the good people in your life who want to help you.
Assess your life, determine your values and step by step, start making decisions that allign with those values. To learn more about how to figure out those values, read my blog post titled Do You Value Yourself?
FOCUS ON THE FUTURE~
Being a discerning woman will not completely protect you from life’s struggles, but it may reduce the number of heartbreaks you experience. Maybe it will reduce the severity of your sadness as you analyze the realities of your relationship and realize that it ended (or has to end) for good reason.
Pay attention to people. When you meet people who say one thing but do another, that’s a red flag and you need to be alert to inconsistencies and how those people treat you, and others.
No Quick Fixes
Don’t be tempted to fall for people or things or substances that provide immediate relief or fun. It’s far better to take a step back, think about what you’re doing and why. In the long run, it’s better to be alone than with a jerk who looks good, but is a complete asshole. You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and love. Do not settle for anything less, ever! No pretty face, fancy car or lofty promises (usually empty promises) are worth giving up your life, or your happiness.
I read this interesting blog post by Rachel Gerk on why it’s so important to encourage girls to be independent. Wow, did it ever hit home! Part of being a discerning woman is having the ability and desire to be independent. Likewise, part of being an independent woman is having the ability and desire to be discerning.
Don’t Lose Yourself In Other People
Not everyone you meet will understand or accept your values. So what? They’re YOUR values. Stop constantly seeking approval, especially from people who really don’t care about you or who don’t support you. So you’re different, from them; so what? Be different. Don’t lose yourself and waste very precious time trying to live up to other people’s expectations.
Look for honest people, with good values (values that allign with yours) to spend your time with. Take time to really get to know them before jumping into a relationship that may become a serious disaster and a mess to try and get out of.
You are worth taking time for. You are worth having an honest, loving relationship. Value yourself and others will value you.
Thanks for reading. Check back, now on Fridays, for my next post. I appreciate your readership and your comments. I’m also on Instagram @partsofourselves, and on Facebook Parts Of Ourselves.