I recently had an opportunity to peak into the mind of an attractive woman – let’s call her Lorraine – who honestly discussed with me the issues she is getting around men.
I met her on a hospitality exchange website and spent some time hanging out with her. We had a take-away meal together, took a walk, and went for a coffee/ice cream over the course of two days. It definitely wasn’t just a quick chat.
She confessed that men she meets on that website are frequently falling in love with her, which expresses itself in an odd behavior such as trying to give her frequent (unwanted) massages, crawling into her bed to snuggle, or just generally going gaga over her. She said that none of those men she considered dangerous, nonetheless I can understand why she is averse to that kind of behavior. It can be pretty annoying if someone you barely know is constantly all over you.
Attractive women inevitably get trained from a young age on how to deal with stuff like that and acquire a sixth sense for the bullshit. She said she knew within walking into someone’s home if he will bother her like that or not.
I said to Lorraine that I’m not surprised that she has that kind of effect on men, because she obviously is attractive, but I acknowledged that they shouldn’t be doing that to her. I mean, there is nothing wrong if someone just tries to flirt with another person, however it becomes objectionable if that leads then to harassment. Especially uncool is to do that as a host and harass a guest of yours.
She couldn’t understand, though, why a man would fall for a woman he has only just met, even though she is attractive. What about first establishing a connection with a person? Obviously, that was her female brain speaking. On the other hand, men are primarily visually stimulated, and although looks are not everything, they can give an attractive woman a huge initial advantage, partially due to the halo effect.
The halo effect is a cognitive bias that induces you to have a positive predisposition toward a certain thing if you happen to like one aspect of it. For example, if you find someone attractive, you may also perceive them to be trustworthy and friendly, even though you don’t know anything about them.
I guess that somewhat explains the origin of the so–called “bitch shield”, a front women will sometimes put up in the presence of men, if they don’t want to be hit on. They will act like cold bitches in an effort to neutralize the halo effect and be left alone. Not that any of them is normally aware of what they are doing – they have just internalized appropriate behavior by trial-and-error and watching how other women deal with men.
Lorraine didn’t act bitchy toward me at all (it would make little sense to do that in a hospitality exchange, and could potentially lead to a bad reference on her profile), but she did eventually confess to me that she was being a little stand-offish toward me, as she didn’t want me to fall in love with her like so many others. I found that quite amusing.
She has another challenge, though. In addition to many men who are acting obsessive when in her presence, some of the men out there are being emotionally indifferent toward her. She lamented that it just doesn’t seem that a healthy middle ground exists.
I don’t know enough about Lorraine to speculate whether or not she has a pattern of being attracted to the wrong people – i.e. players who have no desire of being in a relationship – or whether she just has a bad luck with men. Or something else entirely.
She said that she can never know if guys really want her because of her or because of how she looks. She thinks that less physically attractive women are better-off, as they don’t have to deal with this kind of problems.
Maybe she has a valid point here, I don’t know. I certainly don’t agree that unattractive women have an advantage over attractive ones (quite the opposite), but maybe being a cute, average looking woman is in fact emotionally healthier than being a super hot one.
Speaking of hotness: Mark Manson, a former dating coach, once wrote in his book that men should ditch any sort of rating scale for women (e.g. 1 to 10), as it is toxic, because it induces men to treat really beautiful women differently for superficial reasons. He recommended men to use a binary system: either you’re interested or not. Nothing else should matter.
His book got revised in 2016, but you can read my review of the book from the previous year. I highly recommend this book to anyone, man or woman. It is arguably the best book on dating on the market.
Click here for the review of his book “Models – Attract Women Through Honesty”.
There is no easy answer to this conundrum, though. Even if all men would internalize the principles laid out in this book and would be able to hold a normal conversation with a very attractive woman without reverting to obsessive behavior, the fact remains that she will still have more potential suitors than an average girl, due to the fact that more men find her attractive.
So, I guess attractive women will always be a little stand-offish for a simple reason that they can’t possibly give attention to all the men who would want to talk to them. There simply isn’t enough hours in a day. That’s the price of living in a high population density world of today.
But maybe we can all seek to understand each other better and not take things personally.
In my last post I shared Mark Manson’s blog post about the four stages of life, so it makes sense to review now his book “Models – Attract Women Through Honesty”, which I have read some time ago.
The book comes in the form of an e-book and an audio book, which is read by the author himself. I have read quite a few books on dating and I can say that Mark’s book is one of the very best.
Contrary to some other products on dating/seduction, his book focuses on the core issues of building attraction and does not build its case on tricks and techniques. As the title of the book suggests, his dating model consists of being honest with women, even if that means inviting rejection from them. In fact, rejection is vitally important in his method. In his own words:
Most pick up advice obsesses over the avoidance of rejection. Rejection plays an integral part in my strategy. It’s unavoidable, so I figure we may as well develop a strategy that uses it to help us. Rejection exists for a reason.
According to Mark, rejection is a good thing, because it’s a means to keep people who are not good for each other apart. If you are honest with women with whom you interact with, then they will reject you or fall in love with you based on your true self – which is a win-win situation: either you end up with a woman who is genuinely interested in the real you, or you spare yourself a lot of headache later.
The process of revealing to a woman “who you are, how you feel, and what you think” is what Mark calls “polarization”.
Polarization is what occurs when you express your truth and make yourself vulnerable [to rejection].
Polarization is the opposite of playing it safe and making small talk. It is the opposite of trying to avoid confrontation and controversy. Polarization separates unreceptive women from receptive ones, as well as pushes neutral women to decide one way or the other. As Mark says it in one of the most remarkable passages in the book:
You can’t have it both ways. The two go together. You cannot be an attractive and life-changing presence to some women without being a joke or an embarrassment to others. You simply can’t. You have to be controversial. You have to polarize. It’s the name of the game. And getting good at the game is learning to open yourself up enough emotionally, learning to express your honest self enough and be comfortable enough with your vulnerability to take those embarrassing moments with the moments of passion. A willingness to polarize is not easy. But it’s necessary.
* * *
In the first two parts of the book Mark lays a foundation of his method and explains his understanding of attraction between men and women. In the remaining parts he discusses specifics. He sorts the content into three groups which he calls the Three Fundamentals:
1. Creating an attractive and enriching lifestyle
2. Overcoming fears and anxiety around women
3. Mastering the expression of emotions and communicating fluidly
He refers to the Three Fundamentals also as: Honest Living (Lifestyle), Honest Action (Courage), and Honest Communication.
* * *
I truly think that this book is probably the only book on dating and attraction that you may ever need (though it’s probably good to read a few others for comparison), and I would also recommend it to women, because it goes beyond just advice for men – the issues that this book addresses are relevant to everyone (e.g., rationalizations that you invent to maintain the status quo and protect your ego).
Some parts of the book contain sexually explicit language, and the author is not committed to political correctness, so I’m sure not everybody will like it, though. Luckily, the book has a 60-day money back guarantee.
If you would like to know more, here is a link to the first three chapters of the book (and a table of contents), which you can get for free: http://bit.ly/1HPZCpP
Direct link to the sales page for the entire book is here:
The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razor’s edge of Now – to be so utterly, so completely present that no problem, no suffering, nothing that is not who you are in your essence, can survive in you. In the Now, in the absence of time, all your problems dissolve. Suffering needs time; it cannot survive in the Now.
– Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now
Since I first stumbled upon the concept of Zen I have realized that there is something profound in it, but I had never quite understood it. I haven’t really committed to find out what Zen is all about, however I put a mental note in the back of my mind that I need to explore it someday.
And then, one day, I read a book written by Eckhart Tolle – The Power Of Now. I had mixed feelings after reading it: on one hand, I realized that it is a profound book on spirituality, but on the other hand I was turned off by some New Age terminology and concepts that I could not connect with. So after I read it, I put it away and didn’t think much about it.
Until last month, that is. I decided to have a second look at The Power Of Now and this time I actually experienced some of the things that Tolle talks about in the text. There is a big difference between reading about presence and actually being present. Only when you experience for yourself the things that Tolle describes in his books (he also wrote a sequel: A New Earth) you can really understand how powerful his message is. I guess I wasn’t ready yet, the first time I read it.
I still don’t buy into everything he teaches. I still cannot connect with – what I see as – New Age nonsense – like when he talks about different worlds (or interpretations of reality): a human world (with its many sub-worlds), an ant world, a dolphin world, etc. He then says that all these worlds are interconnected, so “when collective human consciousness becomes transformed, nature and the animal kingdom will reflect that transformation. Hence the statement in the Bible that in the coming age “The lion shall lie down with the lamb.” This points to the possibility of a completely different order of reality.”
I just cannot comprehend how enlightenment of humanity could possibly make lions vegetarian, although even today there are rare instances of the predators and the prey living together for a while – for example, when maternal instinct prevails (A lioness adopts a baby antelope).
Nevertheless, I highly recommend The Power Of Now to anyone who is interested in living more at ease, being present, and in the moment. You may not connect with it the first time you read it. That is OK. Put it away, just as I did, and revisit at a later time. If you cannot connect with a certain concept or a word that he uses, just ignore it and continue reading. View The Power Of Now as a guided meditation, not as a book of absolute truths. Tolle himself states, that every word that comes out of him is just a pointer, a signpost that points towards a certain state of being. He actually did a pretty good job with describing something that ultimately cannot be described with words. Don’t get attached to concepts and words – in fact, the whole point of this book is to get you beyond your mind with its little concepts and thoughts.
The mind, while being a useful tool, is also the source of all suffering in life. Suffering is the result of mind dwelling on the future and worry about problems, or dwelling on the past and deriving identity out of it (for example a victim identity). This is what Tolle describes as “psychological time” (as opposed to “clock time”); you are creating psychological time whenever you are putting your attention on past or future, although you haven’t had any practical reason to do so (at that particular time). If, on the other hand, your attention is on the present moment, there can be no suffering for you, no problems, no worry. Only situations to be accepted and then dealt with or left alone. If you have a hard time understanding this, then contemplate The Most Zen Chart Ever until you do understand.
Pain in life is inevitable; suffering is optional. The power of now will set you free.
In order to do something about my obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, I have recently read a book titled “Overcoming obsessive-compulsive disorder – A self-help guide using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques”, written by David Veale and Rob Willson, and published in 2005. The book uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques and the authors are both skilled CBT practitioners: David Veale is a Consultant Psychiatrist in CBT, and Rob Willson is a CBT therapist. According to the book, CBT is the only one specific type of psychological therapy that has been shown to help for OCD.
In short, techniques in this book focus on “exposure and response prevention” treatment, which means that OCD sufferer would deliberately expose himself to things that cause him anxiety and then resist from doing the compulsion. For example, if someone with OCD were afraid of germs, then he would deliberately touch something that he considers contaminated (e.g. money, floor…) and then refuse to wash his hands for as long as possible, even though his anxiety would greatly increase because of this. After some time, this anxiety would decrease naturally, even though the compulsion or ritual was not performed. After each successive exposure, the anxiety will be less intensive and rituals will eventually become unnecessary.
Exposure and response prevention, however, is only one part of CBT. The other, “cognitive”, part basically involves the process of building alternative explanation of a person’s intrusive thoughts, doubts, images and impulses (Theory A versus Theory B). In short it can be described as reframing your thoughts. For example, a patient with obsession with order and symmetry might believe, that there is a problem with chaos and disorder that he has to prevent in order to be able to cope with life (Theory A). The reframed Theory B might explain to him that he has a problem with being afraid of chaos and disorder, and actually this fear makes him unable to cope with his life, not chaos and disorder.
The theory is simple, but its applications are not. The authors are aware of many traps that wait on the road to recovery from OCD and want to give the reader a good understanding about every common problem that he may encounter when dealing with OCD. The book is divided into two parts: in part one, authors discuss the nature of OCD and its possible causes; part two deals with how to overcome this disease. First, the principles of CBT for overcoming OCD are explained, followed by many real life examples of people with different variations of OCD and how they used CBT to get better. After that, the reader learns how to set appropriate goals and how to manage obstacles and problems to overcoming his OCD, as well as advice on how to prevent a relapse of disease. One chapter is dedicated to children and adolescents with OCD, and the book ends with discussing what can family and friends do to help.
Appendices amount for almost one quarter of the volume and cover the following: medication for OCD and their side effects; what to look for when searching for professional help; list of support groups, charities and other resources for OCD; self-assessment forms; and progress charts. It is worth noting that the authors prefer CBT as the initial treatment and only recommend medication as an additional treatment for those who fail to make progress with CBT, whose OCD is more severe, or who are also significantly depressed.
I found the book easy to grasp and it gave me a solid understanding of CBT principles – at least for dealing with OCD. Within the book there are a lot of references to other pages, chapters and appendices, so that the authors didn’t have to repeat themselves (the book already has 451 pages altogether) and to help the reader navigate (e.g. see Appendix 1). Because of this I would recommend that you read this book at least twice, as when you first read it you don’t have the whole picture and references don’t mean much to you (or you have to jump around the pages all the time). But anyone serious about overcoming his OCD would read this book more than once anyway.
On the negative side, there are some spelling and grammar mistakes throughout the book, and I even think that they didn’t correct them on purpose, as “perfectionism is a common feature of OCD in individuals with a desire for control and order”. More annoying is the fact that some references to other pages are wrong, for example it says “see page 96”, but when you go to that page, you can’t find the things that they are talking about there. However, maybe this is also done on purpose, in order to provide some additional exposure treatment to individuals as myself, who suffer from perfectionism.
Overall this is a good book about CBT for overcoming OCD and I would recommend it to anyone interested in this subject. I haven’t read any other similar books, so I cannot judge if it is the best, but I would say that it is definitely worth reading.