I’ve had the privilege of knowing some awesome women, who over the years have given me an earful of priceless information from the female perspective. Some of them are in great relationships, while others are still searching for one. Still others are enduring a bad relationship simply for the sake of being able to say they’re in one.
One thing that I find interesting is that in all of these cases, to be loved was of the highest priority. I don’t mean sexually (it’s sad, but without that disclaimer some people would assume as much). It seems that from childhood women will often seek affirmation through “expressions” of love. Whether it be gifts, or letters, or time spent together…
…the underlying desire is to be loved.
What seeds were planted in your childhood?
Material things aside, many of the women I know have said that they would be very happy knowing that someone thinks they are the most wonderful, most beautiful woman in the world. However, this love needs to be demonstrative, without any ulterior motives. They want to feel needed and special. They want to be a priority in someone’s life.
Some of the women I know have even said that any rebellion exhibited as teenagers had more to do with their feelings of being unwanted, unaccepted, and made to feel unattractive, more so than just wanting to get into trouble. I was told that if someone had loved them, the way they needed to be loved… they would have most likely become very different people.
I recognize the effects on women who grew up without a father, or whose mothers were inattentive. Some of them have dealt with it. Others are still struggling to come to terms with their childhood. Unfortunately, this can deeply affect their current relationships with both men and women. Some of my female friends have confided in me that it seems hard to find a good man, mostly because they tend to run at the first indication that any man possesses characteristics similar to their absentee fathers or estranged mothers. Friends who exhibit these traits are unceremoniously dismissed as well.
Honestly, I think both men and women truly want to be loved, though we may act otherwise. Men are just more prone to hide this fact than women.
WOMEN:What has been your experience, if any, with your childhood affecting your desire to be loved, and the way you receive love?
MEN: What things have made you reluctant, if at all, to communicate your desire to be loved?
This weekend I scrolled past a video of a woman being violently ejected from her car during a freeway accident. To say it was disturbing was an understatement.
I paused because I was so taken aback by the footage. Questions on top of questions flooded my thoughts…
Did she die?
Is she alive?
Were there other people in the car?
Was she married?
Did she have children?
How did her family react?
Was she on her way to work?
But the final question, and one that probably troubled me the most was…
Why would someone post this video to social media?
The answer that seemed to make the most sense was this one:
Tragedy has become a spectator sport. We have become so desensitized and accustomed to the idea and reality of tragedy, that in a general sense, we’ve lost all respect for privacy, impetus for prevention, and in some cases, being spurred to action in an effort to assist when tragedy strikes.
Content to simply stand back and watch, tragedy has become entertainment fodder, while compassion withers away.
We have policies in place to protect the interests of copyright holders and corporations, but misfortune is paraded about like some morbid trophy.
I’d like to believe we are better than that. Perhaps one day it will become the new normal.
I was talking to a friend about this topic (if you’ve read me for any length of time, you’ll discover that I often start posts with this phrase… what can I say, I talk to friends a lot ;-)), which comes up every so often, and decided to share this post about it….
DISCLAIMER: I am an insanely happily married man. So let me state up front that I do NOT advocate the abuse of flirting, such that it results in crushing someone’s feelings, leading people on, or infidelity.
Is it an art form? Yes, I believe that it can be… when done correctly. But like any potential work of art, if the tools are in the wrong hands, it can result in chaos… and just because you possess the tools, doesn’t necessarily mean than you can effectively use them. Flirting, as art, is usually referred to as Seduction, but for the sake of this post, I’ll stick with Flirting. With that said, you’re probably wondering, “What is he gettin’ at??”
It’s simple… I was a shameless flirt for years. I say shameless because its something that I thoroughly enjoyed and had no qualms about. Some women have called me a tease… some have even said that I’m trouble (while smiling, mind you)… others just found it to be a mildly entertaining distraction… but whatever your opinion may be, when executed correctly, the results can be amazing.
The reality is that flirting is a game that we all play everyday… with our friends… with our family… with our coworkers and even complete strangers. We do it for different reasons… but to be good at flirting you have to first determine your goal, whether it be to win someone’s affection… to influence a person’s
Photo courtesy of Carlo Alberto Pascolini
decision… to gain an advantage… or simply for the challenge itself.
I must admit that I’ve done it for many , if not all of these reasons at one time or another. But one of my main reasons is simply because to me… there was nothing more wonderful than the smile of a beautiful woman. I sought it… and that, in itself, was reward enough for me. But I digress…
Now how does one go about becoming a successful flirt, or what one would call a “Flirt Artiste”? There are some basic requirements:
Confidence: Confidence is key in maintaining a persons’ interest. It is not the opposite of shy, as some would think. You can be confident and shy at the same time, but we’ll discuss that later. Now there’s a fine line between confidence and vain cockiness. It’s up to you to find the balance. Plus, there is no one formula that works on every person… which brings me to the next requirement…
Ability To Read People: You must be able to tell what actions would be most affective with different personality types (and believe me, there are many). If you think all people are the same… you’re dead in the water (dare I say “clueless”) and you probably can’t relate to anything I’m saying. Knowing where a person’s interest lies will help you determine the best approach. Now you might think that it’s hard to assess someone with a momentary glance. But the more you try it, the better and more accurate you become.
Sense Of Humor: This is a MUST HAVE. If you have no sense of humor, you basically have no chance. It is a proven fact that humor creates a level of comfort, which is why professional orators often open with a joke. A sense of humor can open the heart of the most emotionally guarded of people. It is what gets you in the door, over the wall, or access to the inner circle. Even if your sense of humor is a bit morbid, it can still be used effectively.
Those are just 3, but the list could go on and on. The bottom line is that you have to be self-assured of your ability before you even attempt to flirt. You have to know who YOU are before you venture out into the world of Flirting. There are several different flirt types. And although all of them can achieve the same level of success, you have to know which type you are.
Some people have an innate ability to flirt well, and I call those “Naturalists“. I don’t know many Naturalists, but when two of them get together?!? Buy tickets… ’cause it’ll be one heck of a show! For a Naturalist, it just happens. They exude sensuality, but not in an explicit manner. Yet, you’ll find yourself drawn to them without really knowing why…
Another flirt type is the “Revealer“. These are people who will tell you up front that they flirt, and in doing so, will seduce you with subtlety. Some people find a Revealer’s honesty to be intriguing and are influenced by their up-front nature. The victim perceives a challenge in being able to resist a Revealer, thinking it easy because of the Revealer’s blatant attitude. But they don’t realize that when they take an “I won’t be fooled” posture, this actually opens them up to the very thing they are trying to avoid, and they wind up seeking the Revealer’s exclusive attention. Back in the day, I was one of these Revealers. I flirted because I was rather good at it, and I enjoyed it, but I never mislead. But even when people were told directly, they perceived whatever they wanted, no matter what I said. Such is the excitement, and the risk, of Flirting.
I was talking to a female friend a while ago and we were discussing the difference between intimacy for men and women. I listened as she expressed her opinion that most men only consider sex as intimacy… and that if a woman mentions intimacy to a man, he automatically assumes she wants sex. She went on to say that she believes that some men do realize that sex and intimacy are two different things, but they wrongly assume that sex is the ultimate expression of intimacy.
I listened a while longer as she reprimanded the male gender for our lasciviousness and carnal preoccupations. I smiled, and asked her, “So how do WOMEN define intimacy?”
“Intimacy to a woman can take many shapes… “
I bridled my thoughts at her choice of words…
“… it’s having your undivided attention when we talk about sensitive or emotional issues…”
“Which is usually at length, in detail and with great depth, right?”, I chaffed.
She smirked, “… or it could be an evening at home alone, just the two of us reading a book together.”
“I guess it depends on what you read. I’m sure TV Guide or PEOPLE Magazine wouldn’t count, right?”
She still wasn’t amused, “See, you men are all the same… you’d rather watch TV than spend some quality time with us.”
I sighed and said, “Okay, not all men are like that… we understand intimacy, but it looks different for us… and the fallacy with women is in thinking that our views on intimacy should be exactly the same as yours… “
I’d gotten her attention, so I proceeded.
“No, we don’t typically grab a book and say ‘Hey, honey lets read’, and our conversations typically serve one of two purposes… to relay/confirm information, ‘Hey Jim, tonight’s poker game is gonna be at Kieth’s house.’ or for business, ‘My wife paid that cable bill a week ago, why is one of your service techs cutting cords behind my house!!’ Other than that, when we’re together it’s small talk.”
“Are you afraid of sharing your feelings?” she asked, thinking she’d cornered me.
“Not exactly. But intimacy to us includes having a woman who will allow us to vent about work and world injustice… letting us teach you how to fish, change oil or program the VCR… it’s about letting us be a man TO and FOR you. That’s intimacy. But the key is learning that both forms of intimacy are important for the success of the relationship.”
She smiled, and said, “So basically, if I let him show me how change oil, he’ll read with me?”
I chuckled, “Sorta… ideally it would be given freely without expecting something in return, but that’s a start.”
It was an interesting exchange, but it just supported my theory that men and women often see the world very differently… especially when it comes to intimacy. So the next time you get a moment, bring up intimacy with your partner and expand your definition of the word to your mutual benefit.
While talking to my wife one evening, I was explaining to her just how deeply the issue of self-worth can affect a man, and how it will eventually penetrate every aspect of his life. A man who holds a low opinion of his own value will often have corresponding issues related to his work (motivation and ethic), his inter-personal relationships and intimacy (family, friends and colleagues), and even his health (physical fitness and diet).
One of my favorite original quotes is, “You don’t have to be all that you hope to be, in order to be happy with who you are right now”. See, for some men, when things are not how he wants them to be, it’s forever on his mind. He thinks about it…
Multiple times throughout a day.
He tends to think about it more often as soon as he wakes up in the morning and right before he goes to bed at night when there are fewer external distractions. There’s an irritating little voice inside of him that rehearses the ways he hasn’t measured up or has yet to achieve the success he desires. For some men it’s coupled with poor self-image and thoughts of “you’re too short/tall/fat/unattractive/loud/etc”. This inevitably affects his interaction with others, especially those with whom he’s in an intimate relationship. Partly because he doesn’t feel deserving of attention or affection until this distorted perception of himself changes. Because of this, there are men who unintentionally sabotage otherwise healthy relationships with this poison of their own design.
So how do men escape from this perpetuating cycle of misery?
It takes a certain degree of transparency and a willingness to be vulnerable to someone else. It’s important that he find someone he trusts and with whom he can be completely honest. Through this type of accountability, these areas of self-deception can be addressed and resolved to the benefit of everyone he knows. Unfortunately, pride often interferes with this process and some men stay stuck in this place indefinitely. Thankfully, when a man is surrounded by people who genuinely love him in spite of his flaws (because they recognize that we all have them), the trust between them can defeat this pride and finally get him to the place where his internal perception will align with the external reality of being accepted for who he is right now.