Set Your Goals
In recent years, I’ve found goal setting to be one of the most productive activities you can do for yourself. In my experience, rather than rattle off thirty things you think you want, start with a single word. What would you like to embody in 2010? What’s your 2010 theme? In terms of myself, I chose the word ‘give’ because I want to make this year about giving as much possible to the people who come into my life. From there, apply it to every facet of your life especially in the places where you could use improvement. What are you financial goals for 2010? What are your health goals of 2010? What are your spiritual goals of 2010? What are your love life goals of 2010? Write them down, print them out and share them with everyone. As Robert Cialdini writes in Influence, we as people want to appear as committed and as consistent as possible. By sharing your goals with the world, you go the extra lengths to reach the finish line.
Love Your Body (by treating it right)
Learn a New Skill
Side Note: I highly recommend the book Masteryby George Leonard which breaks down the essentials for mastering anything you do in life.
Take Big Actions
Build Key Relationships
Hustle Hard, Play Hard
There are three kinds of love:
- Love as a feeling
- Love as a decision/choice
- Love as an action
The confusion of these three kinds of love is the cause of much needless pain and suffering. In an attempt to clear up this confusion, let’s take a closer look at each of these three kinds of love.
Love as a feeling
Oh, what a feeling. Let’s face it, falling in love feels great. So does being in love. Throughout the centuries, poets, writers and singers have all extolled the glories of being in love.
Only problem is that it doesn’t last. Sorry to bring you back to Earth with such a jolt, but let’s be honest. The emotional high that we feel just doesn’t last on a day-to-day basis.
Remember the phrase “and they lived happily ever after”? Even though this phrase can be found at the end of most fairy tales, our culture seems to have accepted it as fact. ”Well,” you might be saying at this point, “aren’t we sounding cynical today.” Maybe so, but if you’ll hang in there with me, reader, it’s going to get better really quick. It’s natural and normal for the feeling of love to ebb and flow in a relationship. That’s why it’s so important to understand that in addition to love as a feeling there are two other kinds of love.
Love as a decision/choice
Love is also a decision and a choice. There are times when we do not feel like loving in any way. In relationships, however, we are called to love even when we don’t feel like it (sometimes especially when we don’t feel like it).
Authors Gary Smalley and John Trent said:
“Every enduring marriage involves a commitment to an imperfect person.”
What this means on a day-to-day basis is this: We may sometimes say to ourselves when thinking about our partner, ”You know, I really don’t like you very much today”. Then this needs to be followed by, “and I’m going to love you anyway”. The choice and decision to love, even when we don’t feel like it provides the sense of security necessary in a relationship to make it through the inevitable rough waters.
Love as an action
In addition to being a feeling and a choice, love is also a verb. We can have the feeling of love, we can decide to love, we can understand all that there is to understand about our relationship, but we won’t get very far until we take action.
Some couples I have worked with are very good at describing what is wrong with the relationship and/or the other person. It reminds me of what actor and comedian Lily Tomlin once said:
“I personally believe we developed language because of our deep need to complain.”
One of the biggest myths about marriage goes something like this:
“If you really loved me, then you would (know what to do, know what to say, know what I like, etc.).”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of complaining about our partner’s behavior, we can simply ask for (request) what we would like. Sometimes that will be a request to do something. Other times it may be a request not to do something.
It goes something like this:
“I would like you to (fill in the blank)”. Then your partner gets to say either “Yes, I can do that” or “No, I won’t do that, because (fill in the blank). What else could I do that would meet that need?”. In this way, we can put hands and feet onto the feeling of love. The really curious thing is that when we decide to love and take action in this way, it can lead us back to that feeling of love.
Jeff Herring is a Relationship Coach, Speaker, and Syndicated Relationship Columnist. Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for more relationship tips and tools, a free internet newsletter and free e-programs to enrich your relationship.
If you haven’t read part 1 click here
MASON FACTO numero tres
Our world, from indigenous tribes in Africa, to the booming lights and corners of New York City and Japan, share a common belief about masculinity and femininity for children growing up. We share the belief that boys should do boy things like hunt, fish, play sports, play with toy trucks and trains, and that girls should do girl things, like playing with dolls, makeup, playing house, toiling over the relationship between Barbie and Ken, playing out scenarios of being a princess, or having prince charming come sweep them off of their feet. We dress our boys in blues and blacks, and our girls in pinks and yellows. And though this isn’t the case for every girl and boy, the psychological development for women is such that they are more emotionally adept when it comes to love and relationships. Simply put, women have been thinking about this ‘love’ game for a lot longer than the typical male and the world we live in reinforces this emotional development.
‘The Smotherer’ doesn’t recognize this, and shows his discomfort in becoming vulnerable. He demonstrates this by being overly possessive, worrying about every little thing that the woman does. If she goes out with her friends, he’s worried about who she’s with and who she talked to or danced with. If she doesn’t call him back at exactly the time that she said she would, he freaks out and calls her, asking in a crazed panic “Is everything OK? I thought maybe you were hurt. You didn’t call me ten minutes ago like you said and I got scared.” If she spoke spanish she would probably say to herself “senor es muy loco! Adios chico.” ‘The Smotherer’ checks her Facebook and gets worried when other men write on her wall or are tagged in pictures next to her. He makes the woman feel like she has to walk a tight rope, a rope that is one inch thick, stretched for miles across two high towers, and the more that she has to balance, the quicker she’s going to jump off, leave, or fall.
When you find yourself feeling jealous, or worried that the woman you like is doing things behind your back, take a deep breath, relax, and tell yourself “everything is going to be fine, these feelings are not helping me, I’m going to let them pass and not affect my mood, or my interactions with her or anyone else.” What she does is out of your control, and out of respect for her, have a little faith, even if it’s at first blind.
‘The Persistent Guy’ trusts that there is a reason for the woman he likes to do whatever it is that she does. If she wants to spontaneously elope to Cabo San Lucas for a week, then he doesn’t get worried or put too much thought into the motivation for doing so. He says, “take some pictures at El Squidroe for me doing the Cha Cha.” If she doesn’t call when she says she will, then he doesn’t get upset with her, but when they do hang out again, he makes a point to tell her that being flaky is not an attractive quality. He has standards, but these standards run parallel with his understanding of a woman’s need for independence. He doesn’t play games and flake out back to spite her.
‘The Persistent Guy’ realizes that becoming vulnerable will happen naturally, and his persistence is done in pursuing the moments and opportunities for vulnerability and connection to occur. He pursues a woman without overwhelming her, paying close attention to how much space she needs while recognizing that too much space will give her the opportunity to be with somebody else. Attractive women get hit on every day, and because of this, she will meet men who actually do know what they’re doing (even though a majority are clueless). This is where the persistence pays off, because it’s given him time to establish a connection beyond the bar; ‘The Persistent Guy’ separates himself by creating more opportunities to experience a natural connection, so when she does get approached by somebody who knows what he’s doing, it won’t matter.
Learn to Swim
We can relate this to learning how to swim. The best way to learn how to swim, is to dip your feet in the water, familiarize yourself with the new sensual feeling of being wet and weightless, and as you become more comfortable with the water, you can slowly move deeper and deeper, until finally you can lift up your feet and swim. Conversely, if you jump into the deep end of a pool and start to drown, something ‘The Smotherer’ might do, then chances are that it will take you much more time to learn how to swim afterward; scared that you may be in harms way the next time you get in the water. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable works the same way, so be careful with who you let your guard down with, but also be open to the idea and let it happen.
If you’re falling for somebody, and part of you feels like all odds are against you, try not to make any serious or long term decisions. Instead, be careful and patient. Take it slow when you decide to open up with somebody, and try your best to just let things take their natural course.
MASON FACTO numero cuatro
It is a natural phenomena for both men and women to come on STRONGER when the person they love begins to back off. Backing off is a way of saying, ‘Dude, I need some space,’ therefore the best course of action is to let your partner have her space and take this time for yourself, exploring your own space. Make plans, and keep yourself busy so that you don’t end up sitting in your bed holding a picture of the two of you together, watching the Titanic, balling your eyes out when Kate and Leo part ways in the sea. Yikes!
Think about this in terms of the boundaries you hold over your own physical space, sometimes called a personal bubble. If someone stands too close, you may feel closterphobic or uncomfortable, wishing that the person would take a step back, and conversely if somebody is standing too far away, you will find it difficult to hear them and may feel somewhat disconnected. Imagine being in an elevator with one other person, and they stand too close to you. As you converse with them, you take a step back but they don’t see your discomfort and step forward toward you again. Instead of listening to what they say, you glance up anxiously at the floor count, counting down the seconds you can get away from this person. It’s a very basic concept, when she needs some space, let her have it.
In conclusion, whether you see yourself as ‘The Persistent Guy’ or ‘The Smotherer,’ it’s important to recognize that attraction, courtship, and love all move along a track with no set speed limit. You may be driving a Black Lamborghini, with black rims, and a cream white interior, and your girl is driving a beat up Ford Pinto with an lighting bolt sticker etched on the rear bumper. If this is the case then you need to slow down to a speed that she can ride next to you comfortably. The speed on this track is dictated by both partners’ understanding of each other’s readiness to move forward combined with the natural flow. Like an elegant dance created by two people, whereby you take two step forwards, and she takes two backward, she then pulls you to the side, so you move to the side with her; the timing in each step is dictated by the other person. Learn to move with her and not against her and you won’t be hearing answering machines, you’ll be kicking back your feet in a foreign country sipping mojitos with the lady of your dreams.
A twenty four year old engineer named Jason orders himself a shot of Cuervo, and with a clumsy, backward head jerk, he manages to take the shot, while crashing into a freshly mixed mojito behind him. Jason, whose head hurts from the combination of José and the impact of a glass, turns and sees Sonja, a tall, beautiful brunette, wearing an Ed Hardy top, topped with the remnants of her mixed mojito. Jason apologizes, buys her another drink and in their brief interaction, the chemistry ignites, and for the rest of the night Jason and Sonja become lovestruck fools. They spend all night together sharing drinks, laughs, and kisses.
Suddenly all of the doubt that Jason had in his past relationships, all of the problems that had been dragging him down in his work, in his school, and in his social life, seemed to disappear when he would think about this amazing new woman. He wakes up in the morning, and can’t help but smile when he’s brushing his teeth, thinking about the great time that he had dancing the night away with Sonja in her mojito clad gown, and even though he had a million things going on that day, all that he wanted to do was see her again.
So he decides to listen to that little voice inside of his head, egging him to pick up his phone and call her. She answers and Jason says “I just want to tell you that I really like you Sonja, you’re amazing, I love you’re energy and attitude toward life, I’ve never met anybody like you, let’s hang out all day, every day, I promise I won’t spill on you again!” They begin hanging out, and each day, Jason sinks deeper and deeper into his infatuation with Sonja. Swept up by her beauty, Jason feels more alive than he ever has, so much so that he can hardly concentrate at work, sharing every juicy little detail of his feelings to his coworkers and to Sonja, but then something happens shortly afterward that catches him off guard.
A few weeks go by, and Sonja seems to be busy all of the time (much busier than before), and the busier that she gets, the more Jason wants to see her. Pretty soon an entire week passes and he hasn’t spoken with her, so he picks up the phone and calls her again, and again, until he finds himself listening to her answering machine more than her actual voice. It’s driving him crazy so he leaves her a message saying “I don’t know what I did wrong, but I miss you, and I’ll do anything to get you back. Please call me, I’ll do whatever you want!” Sadly, Jason never hears from her. What Jason didn’t know was that he fell victim to love like so many people do, but got swept up in its storm and he SMOTHERED his way right on out of it!
And this is possibly the most devastating, ego-shattering, destructive thing that a man will go through in his life; having somebody that they genuinely connect with and watch them slip away without even knowing what went wrong. It throws you into an array of emotions like anger, sadness, frustration, and confusion. Not only does it feel like a dagger to the heart, the more days that eclipse from your last conversation is as if Cupid is sitting high up on a cloud, snickering while he twists the blade ever so slightly every time you see something that reminds you of her. Jason goes to the bar where they met, orders a mojito, and grasps firmly onto the chest of his shirt, weak from heartache, he glances to the skies, “Cupid, you bastard!”
Well gents, cupids devilish cruelty can be put to rest for now. This article unravels the secrets between being the ‘PERSISTENT GUY,’ and the ‘SMOTHERER.’ Find out which guy you are, and learn how to keep the one you love!
MASON FACTO numero uno: The process of falling for somebody should NOT be rushed.
‘The Smotherer’ is so consumed by the emotional tornado going on in his own head that he isn’t able to see the big picture. Consumed with feelings of hope, doubt, floating between highs and lows, ‘the Smotherer’ is so overwhelmed by his emotions that he can’t wait to see if this woman is feeling the same way. He wants her to calm this tornado that she threw him in, as if she were Zeus, controlling the winds of his emotions. He asks her questions like “Do you like me? Would you ever get serious with somebody even if you just met them? What’s your view on marriage, and could you see yourself marrying somebody like me? Why didn’t you call/text me back? What did I do wrong, PLEASE PLEASE tell me!”
There is a certain attractive power that unpredictability holds over both men and women in the courtship process, and by showing her too quickly how you feel, you become exposed. You might as well as strip down into your birthday suit, lay down in the fetal position and ask her to put you out of your misery.
If you watch a Texas Hold em’ game on television, and somebody at the table is dealt pocket rockets (aces), often times a great poker player will play it as if he had a mediocre hand, luring the other players in. He doesn’t get eager, excited, or impulsive, instead he takes a deep breath and finds a natural calm, collected self. Sure enough, when his opponents bite, he places his large stack of blue, yellow and red chips to the center of the table and splashes them over the pot. When his opponents call him, there hearts skip a beat when he flips over the first ace, and when the second one shows, he stands up and says “Booyahh!” and they bow out shamelessly with their tails between their legs! Imagine if he got really excited when he first saw the cards, jumping up in the air screaming “Woohoo” and immediately went all in. The poker players’ ability to separate himself from his emotions, and see the big picture is the difference between winning a million dollars over a few blinds, and it is also the difference between keeping the one we love and scaring her away!
When it comes to timing; even though emotions may try to squeeze there way into our thought process, it’s important to take a step back and look at your position calm and collectively. There will be a time to share how we feel, and that time will come naturally and should not be rushed. Patience is one of the most important tools to develop when we’re beginning a relationship, and when we’re in one. The guy who does things right, and is patient enough to let things fall into place will get the girl!
The next time you find yourself falling for that little voice telling you NOW NOW NOW, take a deep breath, and ask yourself “Will there be a time later, maybe a few weeks or months from now, that what I have to say, can be said naturally in a conversation with her? Does she need to hear this right now?”
Now the Persistent Guy’ knows what he wants and how to get it. When it comes to women, when he starts to have feelings, he doesn’t expose them to her right away. He makes an effort to see her, paying close attention to her schedule, finding a gap that the two might be able to share together, and doesn’t get frustrated if plans change. He has a very different mentality than ‘The Smotherer.’ Instead of believing that if he doesn’t act NOW, then things will fall apart, the ‘The Persistent Guy’ has the belief that things will work out no matter what happens, and by keeping this mentality, it allows him to avoid becoming too emotionally involved in situations that are outside his control. Fully embracing this mentality will make a situation that could be frustrating, into something that isn’t at all.
The Persistent Guy’ sees an opportunity, and without hesitation, he puts his feet into motion and goes for it. Without expectation, and without resistance, he focuses on the target, aims, and fires. Be careful though, persistence is not always a good thing, and can actually be unattractive if it’s taken too far. For example, lets look at the case study of Sam. Sam is a confident, outgoing, and intelligent young college student. Sam goes out to the bars one night and after chatting with a fine young lady, they laugh, tell a few stories, and Sam’s convinced she’s interested, and maybe she is, but then the conversation lulls and she walks back over to her friends.
Instead of letting her go and picking up the conversation another night or at a later hour, Sam comes running after her, he reaches out and grabs her arm and says, “Where do you think you’re going? Come back and have a drink with me.” Immediately she sees Sam, not as persistent, but as DESPERATE, and is immediately turned off. Sorry Sam, you just $#!+ the bed and it doesn’t smell very good! So strap on your diapers, because if you can see opportunities and learn how to act on them, know when to back off, and when to move forward, then you will $#!+ no more, and be one step closer to keeping the one you love.
When you find yourself chasing after a woman, try and see what kind of body language she is giving you. If she is closed off, then chances are that your persistence has gone too far and the best course of action is to back off and go talk to her later. Ask yourself “Am I being desperate, or persistent?”
MASON FACTO numero dos: The beginning stages of a relationship are always a little scary for both people, becoming vulnerable is not always a comfortable process, especially for men, so it should happen slowly and delicately.
The Smotherer’ acts as if he’s never fallen in love before, as if he’s been thrown into a position that is completely foreign and unfamiliar to him (and perhaps it is). However, he embraces this unfamiliarity as something that is fun and exciting, and expresses these feelings to the woman right away. “I know this is crazy, but I think I love you.” Her response, “Uh, dude, I’ve only known you for a week…” ‘The Smotherer’ makes the false belief that the woman he’s after is in the same position, unable to control her emotions, and thus he feels obligated to release her mind from this same chaos he’s experiencing by seeing her as often as he can, for as long as he can so that they both can become comfortable enough to confess their love for each other. This is a recipe for disaster. By coming on so strong and so fast, he’s metaphorically just swaggered into a bar of skinheaded honkey tonks, and ordered Appletinis on the house saying “hey ya’ll, let’s sing a Taylor Swift song together in unison!” He might as well put a sign on his forehead saying, “I’m freaking clueless!”
Part II, coming soon!
I’m just finishing up Ayn Rand’s masterpiece Atlas Shrugged and though I don’t agree with all of her philosophy, it’s interesting nonetheless. Here is a little excerpt on how she describes sex and attraction.
A mans sexual choice is the result and sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds a sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life. Show me the women he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself. No matter what corruption he´s taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which he cannot perform for any motive but his own enjoyment-just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity!-an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self exaltation, only in confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces him to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and to accept his real ego as his standard of value. He will always be attracted to the women who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the women whose surrender permits him to experience-or to fake-a sense of self esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of women he can find, the women he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer-because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement.
He does not seek to gain his value, he seeks to express it. There is no conflict between the standards of his mind and the desires of his body. But the man who is convinced of his own worthlessness will be drawn to a women he despises-because she will reflect his own secret self, she will release him from that objective reality in which he is a fraud, she will give him a momentary illusion of his own value and a momentary escape from the moral code that damns him.
Love is our response to our highest values-and can be nothing else. Let a man corrupt his values and his view of existence, let him profess that love is not self-enjoyment but self-denial, that virtue consists, not of pride, but of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice, that the noblest love is born, not of admiration, but of charity, not in response to values, but in response to flaws-and he will have cut himself in two. His body will not obey him, it will not respond, it will make him impotent toward the women he professes to love and draw himself to the lowest type of whore he can find. His body will always follow the logic of his deepest convictions; if he believes that flaws are values, he has damned existence as evil and only the evil will attract him. He has damned himself and he will feel that depravity is all he is worth enjoying. He has equated virtue with pain and he will feel that vice is the only realm of pleasure. Then he will scream that his mind cannot conquer, that sex is sin, that true love is a pure emotion of the spirit. And then he will wonder why love brings him nothing but boredom, and sex-nothing but shame.
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged pg 453-454
Let’s hear your thoughts people! Do you agree or disagree with what Ayn is saying?