I know it's been quite some time since I have pontificated my egocentric views on dating. This last year has been a challenging one for me personally as I feel I have regressed into some of the negative and ineffective patterns of which I have so adamantly protested in my previous blogs. In an attempt to adjust some of those patterns I figured I'd blog some more of my thoughts for the purpose of creating additional motivation for me to practice what I will preach. As always my primary intention is to help others who may find anything I share helpful in anyway.
Over the years I realized a strong tendency in myself to blame my "woes" on the female gender as a whole, and I have also witnessed this same pattern in many other guy friends of mine. Of course I have also seen the same blame game on the other side as well as I have heard countless women criticize and condemn men as a whole for their problems. You know what kind of statements I'm talking about,
"Women only date jerks!"
"Women don't appreciate a nice guy!"
"Women make it too hard to ask them on dates!"
"Women only want men who look like Brad Pitt!"
"Men are Jerks!"
"Men don't ask women out on dates!"
"Men aren't gentlemen and chivalrous anymore!"
"Men only want women with a perfect body and who look like super models!"
It took me a while to finally realize the folly in such blatant critical expressions toward an entire gender, and now I have really tried to avoid making such harsh and absolute accusations for several reasons.
First, they simply are not true. In reference to the "man rants," There are plenty of women who despise jerks, and find nice men extremely attractive. There are plenty of women who have fallen in love with and married men who are fat, bald, ugly, short, and non athletic or in other words come no where close to resembling Brad Pritt, Chris Hansen, or Ryan Reynolds. The same could be said in response to the criticisms expressed toward men by women.
As I have reflected on why it is that in my life I have been so quick to pass such blanket judgments towards women from time to time, it occurred to me that what I was really doing was avoiding the necessity to confront my own weaknesses and insecurities. If I blame women for my problems, then it alleviates me having to do anything, and necessitates that women must, as a gender, change for ME to be happy. What a powerless position to take!
Upon recognizing this error I determined that my happiness was in my own hands. If women were turning me down or passing up an opportunity to date me, then there must be something I AM doing that is causing the result. If my results are recurring then it is clearly my incorrect actions that are causing the result. It has been said that to do same thing and expect a different result is insanity....Well I would summarize that doing the same thing in hopes that other people will do something differently is no less insane.
However, this is where it gets tough, and in my case it was very painful. I had to be honest with myself. I had to take responsibility for my actions, my demeanor, my character, my approach, my behavior, my appearance and my tactics. If my struggle in dating was indeed a result of my own actions, demeanor, appearance and the like, that would mean that there is something about me that I could work on changing... Humble pie is never delicious.
But my desire to experience different results outweighed my desire to remain in my box of bitterness and cast stones at half the earth's population for my having to stay in that box. I made a list of everything that I felt was unattractive about me, to me. I feel there is an important distinction between what you find attractive about yourself and what you THINK other's find attractive or unattractive about yourself. And that is because I strongly believe that being your best self, or in other words being a person that you yourself like being around is so very crucial. However, if you try to change yourself based on what you think others opinions are of you, you will only be losing yourself in the process.
I wanted to become and I am becoming what I really feel is the best version of myself, and that came by me labeling what it was that bothered me about me. I understand that this takes a lot of emotional mettle, and in this world ripe with depression and self-defamation I would encourage you to be very careful that this does not turn into "beating yourself up." Rather this is an opportunity for you to take control and responsibility of your own actions and recognize that you have the power to change within you whatever you want!
Some questions to consider,
Am I kind
Am I friendly towards people
Am I fun to be around
Am I approachable
Am I easy to talk to
Do I laugh too loud
Do I dominate conversations
Am I cocky
Am I boring
Am I too overbearing
Am I too emotional
Am I too dramatic
Could I use a more fashionable wardrobe
Could I lose a few pounds
Could I gain a little muscle
Could I exercise more
Could I be more involved socially
Could I be more educated
Could I take on an interesting hobby
Could I be clean, physically, emotionally or spiritually
Could I be more organized
Could I work harder
Could I be more driven
Do I get out enough to meet new people
Do I shy away from opportunities
Am critical of others
Am I bitter
Am I angry
Am I too weird or socially awkward (this is a big one for me!)
Do I push people away
Am I too clingy
These are just a few examples of questions to ask yourself that might be lead to some powerful self-discovery. I would recommend taking one aspect of your personality, or character that you would like to work on that you feel would make you more happy with yourself and set up a plan and a goal on how you can work on that aspect. I am a big believer of one thing at a time, as it can get overbearing if you are trying to improve upon too many weaknesses at one. You don't build Rome overnight, be patient, and be encouraging.
The next step is to make a list of EVERYTHING you like about yourself, what are your talents, what are your gifts, and what are you good at. EVERYONE is good at something. I feel this is so crucial because of what I mentioned before, if you only focus on the negative it can turn into "beating yourself up." You have something that is amazing about you and that you're really good at, label them and write them down. Then, pick one of those things that you are going to find a way to use to help others. Everyone feels good when they do something they are good at, so make sure you add this step to the process.
As I went through this process I realized that not only was I excited at the notion that I was able to start working on improving myself but I also noticed that a lot of my bitterness toward women was fading away and I no longer regarding them as "the enemy." This also turned to more favorable experiences with ladies.
Over the last few months I have recognized a slip back into my bitterness box but I have recommitted myself to taking control of my behavior, attitude, actions and demeanor. I offer my sincerest apologies to any ladies who may have caught a whiff of my bitterness and hope you can forgive me for doing so.
To anyone out there right now who is sitting in your bitter box and blaming the opposite gender for your woes, trust me I've been there, it's hard. I feel for you and the negative experiences you've had that must have occurred on a consistent basis to bring you to such depths. My best advice I can offer in love and hope is that, you have the power and control over your own happiness. Not a single person or an entire gender can bring you down unless you allow them to render you powerless and a victim to your own bitterness. Don't let them, you got this!