Monday, November 28, 2011

What you need to know.

Are you serious men?
Are you serious women?

So, I've been thinking.

An Internet argument and a youtube video have both been getting me thinking about the men vs. women mentality when it comes to relationships. Kinda lame, but I promise I've thought about it a lot before now.

I think it's about time I wrote a blog post explaining my thoughts on some of these men and women issues, instead of just trying to talk about it and getting interrupted by people who are rude when they're upset.

This is what is near and dear to my heart at the moment: interactions between men and women when at least one of them is romantically interested in the other. All that heartbreak, he-said-she-said, flirting stuff.

I'm not the expert, but here is what I've learned on this subject.

Men, here's what you need to know:
  • Yes, I'm going to talk about the friend zone. In my opinion, the friend zone is nothing to be feared. This is going to stink for some guys out there, but some women simply like having a male friend to enjoy and confide in without having to worry about the messiness of being in a relationship with them. It's comforting. That's the way some women are. If you're a nice person, there are going to be lots of women like this. And that's OK! They may not really be right for you, and if they are right for you, you need to trust that they'll see it, too. But worrying about it might end up ruining a friendship that would never be a relationship. I've made that mistake enough to know that some male-female friendships would not work as relationships even if it seems so much like it would.
  • If she's not into you, she's not into you. If you're asking yourself "Does she like me?" a lot, she probably doesn't. If girls like you, they will find a way into your life. You will notice them. Some of them even follow you around, a bit. Some of the more mature ones will be more subtle, but you'll still notice the change in behavior. Unless you're really dense. Chances are, if talking to them is definitely not a one-sided endeavor (they start conversation with you as much as you start conversation with them), and you're not in the friend zone (see above), they might, might like you.
  • In the name of King Elessar II, if a woman hurts your feelings, grow up and move on. Getting angry and blaming women for "making you a jerk" is a sorry excuse for throwing away your manhood. Yes, that's what you're doing if you retaliate in any way other than throwing up your hands and saying "Oh well!" and moving on. You're becoming a little boy. Grow up so the rest of us real men don't look so stupid.
  • May I reiterate - don't get mad and don't push anything. Most women who put men in the friend zone don't know it. And if they do know, they may like this friend so much that they don't know what to do and just want to save the friendship. If you push her, though, she will either break off the friendship, or she will give in and you will end up in a relationship that is doomed to fail.
Women, here's what you need to know:
  • Men aren't complicated. In fact, they're very simple. That's why they confuse you! Because you are such a complicated creature, you expect men to be complicated too...and they're not.
  • Every time you confide in a man emotionally, you are running the risk of sending him the wrong messages. Most men like this and see it as an intentional deepening of the relationship. You, on the other hand, may just really want a friend to talk to. If you are worried about sending a male friend the wrong message, suck it up and be quiet, and wait until you can talk to a girlfriend. Do the right thing for the both of you.
  • Most men aren't impressed with a woman who tries to be what she is not. I find that most often the women who attract lots of men are women who are radically themselves. In my experience men like a "multi-faceted" woman who doesn't have just one side to herself, and is also willing to share them.
  • If he doesn't like you, he'll probably avoid you if you're being aggressive/sending strong messages. Unless you're a friend. Even then, he might still avoid you. If he's brave, maybe he'll tell you...very plainly. Maybe. Hopefully he's not rude, but if he is, he won't be the first.
That's what I know, so far. Others may disagree, but this is the truth as far as I can tell. Hope it helps.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for peace in knowledge of one another.

Friday, November 25, 2011

On changing my mind.

Reflect on this: if you were perfect, you would never change your mind.

Past posts have been getting a lot of views these past few weeks, and because of the subject matter, I believe I know why.

I've expressed strong opinions about the stages of my life, but yet as I go on I find that although many of my ideas remain the same, some of them I change. I do this because I grow. I'm imperfect.

A year ago, I would have told you that I am often ruled by my emotions. These days, though, I find I've relaxed in that matter. I am in touch with my emotions...I feel them, I experience them, I know them intimately. But instead of acting on them, or letting them affect me, I can choose to let them flow through me. I've mellowed out.

In the same way, I look back on the things I've said about "where I am" and "what I'm doing" and think less seriously of my opinions at those times than I once did. I've learned since then. I am not quite so sure of myself.

Knowledge is how much you know. Wisdom, I believe, is knowing what you don't know. And I've gotten a little more wise.

I find now that I recognize more and more how little I really know and can know. Case in point: my last post about crushes. A year ago I would have never written such a post. I took crushes far too seriously to write such a thing. Now I know them for what they really are: the body's way of pointing out to you interesting women (and also, for those like me who are interested in being single for a while, at least, a damned nuisance).

People who never make assumptions and ask lots of questions are, in my opinion, the wisest people you will ever meet. If you ever make friends with such a person, don't ever take them for granted. I find they are rarer and rarer in our world these days. I hope to be one someday, and I think I'm headed in that direction.

Now, to take my own advice...

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for a wiser world.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On crushes.

I told someone the other day that I don't like having secrets and I have very few of them, and these sorts of blog posts are further evidence.

It seems despite my reasonable and genuine desire to remain single for a while, I can't avoid having the singular nuisance of "getting crushes." Before you waste time reading this post to find out who, keep in mind that I wish to ignore these feelings, rather than give them credit. Disclosing who they are will get me no further towards that goal. (Also, if you try to guess who they are, you will most likely be wrong. My true emotions are a lot more discrete these days.)

I like to remind myself that there is actually a hormone released by the brain when you "get crushes" that leads you to feel like someone is more similar to you than they actually are. Fascinating, isn't it?

I also like to remind myself of the amazingly frequent deception caused by my feelings/emotions. Responding to those now would be like buying something from the same conman who's tricked you into buying junk for the hundredth time!

I'm not often good at following my own advice, and I know what I would tell myself at this point. Still, sometimes it's hard to judge the line between doing what I would normally do and responding to a feeling. To simply avoid all women would be a bit drastic as most of my friends, because of the demographics around here, are women. That would be pretty lonely.

Another obstacle here is the fact that I can't control other people having crushes on me. Not only that, but if they're not aggressive like some women *cough cough*, I can't really tell if they do. The obvious ones are easy because I can just avoid them, but the others just appear to me as if they really like me as a friend. I'm oblivious!!

I think it would be unwise for me to not develop friendships with women at all for the next two-three+ months that I won't be dating anyone, since after that I'm quite sure if I did pursue someone it would be someone I've already been good friends with for a long time, to avoid past mistakes.

Pray for me that I may pursue my vocation as a single man until I'm ready to date again.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for good judgement of the heart.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The levels of self-awareness.

I have a theory about people. Well, I have lots of those, but here is one of them.

One thing I've noticed about college-aged folks is that there is a wide variety of maturity among them. I do not wish to speak of vices and poor habits, but particularly the part of maturity I call "self-awareness."

To be "self-aware" in the particular sense that I refer to it is not the same as sentience, the difference between humans and other animals, but the amount someone is aware of their true self.

I believe this manifests itself in a few levels: the amount someone is in touch with their own feelings. Feelings, in this sense, goes beyond just emotions, but also opinions and thoughts about the nature of who they are and what they do. If you're confused, just keep reading.

The first level of self-awareness is "I feel." At this level, the person is just self-aware enough to express something. You begin at this level as a baby.

The second level of self-awareness is "I am feeling." At this level, the person expresses feelings and is aware of them. Usually some time after a person starts talking they are able to reach this level.

The third level of self-awareness is "I am feeling because." At this level, the person is aware of their feelings and is aware of their source. Much like the second level, some time after a person starts talking they are able to work at this level, perhaps less frequently.

The fourth level of self-awareness is "I have felt." At this level, the person is able to reflect on past feelings and see how they have felt certain ways over time and see some level of a pattern.

 The fifth level of self-awareness is "I have felt because." At this level, the person is able to reflect on past feelings, see how they have felt over time, see a clear pattern and understand their feelings in a larger context.

The sixth level of self-awareness is "I feel because." This is the highest level of self-awareness in which the person is able to achieve all of the aspects of the fifth level but also integrate this awareness in every day life and relate it easily and clearly to him or herself and others.

If this idea is confusing, let's make an example. Let's say a person were asked about being bullied at a young age. Someone in "I feel" would simply cry. Someone in "I am feeling" would tell you they feel sad. Someone in "I am feeling because" would tell you they feel sad because you brought up that memory. Someone in "I have felt" would tell you that being bullied made them sad but they eventually got out of it and it only upsets them when people bring it up. Someone in "I have felt because" would tell you that being bullied made them sad, that they eventually got over it, that it upsets them when people bring it up, that they are sometimes insecure because of it, and this causes them to sometimes react very strongly to gossip. Someone in "I feel because" would tell you everything in the previous sentence without having to think about it for very long.

People with higher levels of self-awareness don't wear masks very much. They are more genuine, more real, more in touch with themselves. People on lower levels of self-awareness wear masks a lot...even lower, they may not even realize they're wearing one. People of higher levels of self-awareness are better able to understand others with lower levels. Ever watch a little kid do or say something and think "I know what he's thinking, and furthermore, I know he doesn't realize I know what he's thinking." That's what I mean.

Most people I meet that are a little younger than me are functioning somewhere between the third and fourth level of self-awareness. Sometimes I wonder if they realize how obvious it is to others functioning on a higher level of self-awareness how much about themselves they're hiding, and how unaware they are of how they are acting. They're pretty easy to manipulate, too.

I can always tell when I meet someone who's on the fifth or sixth level. They're very interesting people and fun to talk to about living life and talking about "deeper things." I feel like when I'm talking to someone on the sixth level, we just sort of "connect" in such a knowing way.

All of this is really hard to describe. I'm pretty sure this blog post doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Oh well.

There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream for greater self-awareness.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I know myself.

I think Aristotle was right on when he said that the happiest man is the virtuous man. To know what is right and good, and be in the habit of doing it.

There are so many things I don't know. I don't know what the right thing to do is, sometimes. Sometimes it seems like the only thing I can do is to just make a decision. And that's what I've had to do. If I am not satisfied with the same decision I make over and over, I must try the other, no matter how hard it is. I have to believe I can make a decision I can eventually accept.

But I don't know, and perhaps can't know, if it's really the right thing to do...There are so many things I don't know.

People sometimes tell me really nice things about myself. I never tell them they're right. If I'm feeling good I tell them thanks. But really, I don't ever agree...this is not me being humble. I know myself. I know who I am. It is perhaps one of the only things I do know, is who I really am. It is my greatest gift.

Out of all the things to know, I am blessed to know who I really am. I can't say I always like myself. Sometimes I really, really don't. I know that deep down, I really am a selfish jerk. The worst part of that is not knowing when I am acting on that quality. I have always tried to take a position of skepticism of "things that I want" to avoid it, at all costs. And that's what I've done...for so long now...

Well, I've made my choice. Now I have to live with it.

There was a dream that I dreamed...a dream of knowing the right thing to do.