“You need a mentor!” “What do you mean you haven’t thought about it yet?” “You know your life won’t be the same if you have a mentor right?”
These are some of the many things I have heard in relation to having/needing a mentor. And every time it has been brought up, it always seemed to get my hackles up. I can’t explain it, it just did. I mean why do I need to tell someone my entire life story and wait for them to tell me their biased opinions on what would work best for me? It just didn’t make any sense to me you know.
For the past 8 years now, this idea of having a mentor has been a real issue for me. Now I’m sure you can guess from my first paragraph; but let me lay it out for you, I am not the most open person going. There! I’ve said it out loud so you basically know my secret… I mean, I wont willingly dish out information about the going ons in my life unless I’m specifically asked and I know I can’t get away with not saying something. But life happens, and I find myself having to trust people with the things I struggle with and I’ve even asked for help/advice… Shocker!
But really I have learnt a few things because of this that I’d like to share with you.
First of all, I realised that my main issue with the concept of mentoring was I thought I HAD to have only one mentor who would be my source of solution to ALL my issues. Not true. The popular saying “It takes a village…” comes to mind when I think about my reasoning here and I can’t help but laugh at myself a little. Maybe it was the way people presented the idea to me, but I really did believe that they all meant I needed to have just one person for everything. Now I know it’s more like a system; a group of people I trust and I know they have my best interest in mind.
The next issue I faced was that the relationship I have with my mentor will need to be long term, like forever and ever. Okay, I need to calm down, that was a bit of a stretch! But, I really thought there would be no out if this person really disappointed me. Or what if I only had one thing I needed their specific help with and it gets resolved? What happens then? But I understand now that it doesn’t have to be long term necessarily. People grow, people move on, situations change. When I realised that, I knew that expecting that I’d need to have the same kind of relationship with a particular person all my life didn’t really make sense any more. It’s even great for when I just want an outsiders view on things.
Then I thought mentoring was only meant for young people. It bugged me that the person/s who would be my mentor wasn’t getting mentored. I mean where will they be getting the advice they’d give me from? Will they just tell me what works or worked for them and lay it down like it’s the law?
Another thing that made me wary of the whole mentorship thing, is that there seems to be a gap in certain areas. Let me explain.
So in relationships, for instance, you hear of pre-marital counselling (mentorship for an engaged couple about to get married) and marriage counselling (mentorship for a married couple who are facing issues) quite a lot. And believe me, I understand the need for these areas…. But, where is the counselling for the guys and ladies who are still searching? Or for the couples who just got married?
I find that single people don’t really get acknowledged until they get in relationships or get engaged. And what’s the point then, if not just for damage control? They were not advised to pick correctly in the first place, but lets mentor them on how to live with it anyway. Why can’t newly-weds be counselled on the realities of married life and how to overcome obstacles BEFORE they happen? Why wait till there’s a problem before that help is available?
I really think the idea of having a network of people who can advise me on any and all aspects of my life is a massive plus. Of course, all these things I’ve raised today are from my experiences and observations alone. It’s not to say they all happen or are true for everyone.
I’d like to hear from the mentors, mentees and even those of us still thinking about it. What has your experience been like in line with being a mentor or in being mentored? Do you think we only need one mentor or several?
DISHUSBANDMATA……..passionate about relationships
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