Tue Dec 13: How to Meet Good Men Over the Holidays
Straight into your eyes, seriously trying to plumb its depths of mystery and passion? Same goes for sitting in a restaurant: Touching behavior varies culturally, which changes the salience of the act. A classic study done by Sidney Jourard showed that during an hourlong conversation between friends, in England they touched each other zero times.
In the US, twice, during bursts of enthusiasm. In France, times, and in Puerto Rico, times! So this means that a touch from a shy English guy counts for a lot more than one from the gregarious Spaniard. The second level information is the quality of the touch. Is he giving you a high-five or a shoulder rub?
The more prolonged and deliberate the touch, the greater the interest. Touch is the final phase before getting in the sack. You meet a guy. Because to an observer the two behaviors look exactly the same. Run with it, girl. The shy guy is putting everything on the line. The player, on the other hand, has this routine rehearsed so well that he can do it after 7 margaritas, in microgravity, while tied up in a burlap sack. The guy is just generally horny.
Specific attraction runs on dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter of goal-directed activity. This is the difference between RLD and long-term love. Does he flirt shamelessly with the cute waitress, or does he focus his attention fully on you? What do his friends say about him? The most accurate information you can get about a guy is his long-term behavior — the stuff he actually does, over and over again. Rather, it illustrates a central principle of human behavior. Science shows that we have cognitive biases that blind us to our own shortcomings, and as a therapist I can tell you that people are horrendous at self-reportage.
Like, totally inaccurate, all the time. Oh, and then there are the guys who will say anything to get into your good graces — or your pants. But you already knew that. And who kept on taking him back and financially supporting him even though he continued to physically abuse her. Look for actions, not words. Having been that interested guy often, here are some things that come to mind:.
Guys will request your company for any number of reasons — avoid being lonely, try to get you in bed, or just to hang out. As we already discussed, the question to ask yourself: Generally speaking, the more planning and risk it involves for the guy, the more serious he is about you. Once again, the quality of attention during the date tends to be a good indicator of his interest level. Now we get to the fun part: Sometimes they have fancy colors and aromas to attract pollinators, but for the most part they just sit there and look pretty.
They roam the range of their vast territory and go for whatever they want, without apology or hesitation. Both flower and tiger power are effective in their own way, and everyone has both kinds of power. Women run families, corporations, states and entire countries.
So it does not make sense to be a passive bystander to your own love life. Right now is always a great time to take control. And guys like to hunt, so you must let them be the hunter. So you will get a little clever. Perhaps even more important than asking the question to make sure you get the frame right. Are you secretly gay? Why is this powerful? Humor opens up the conversational field, allowing all parties to share their feelings in a safer context.
But even more important, you are subtly taking control of the situation instead of just waiting around. At the same time, you are passing the baton to him to take action. How do I know these work? Pick one depending on your level of interest and boldness:. Snuggling on the couch during a movie is completely natural, and a well-known way to not watch the movie at all.
Not that you asked, but the movie in question was L. Most guys understand this as a sign of definite interest. Relaxing and frolicking in the sun with minimal clothing is one of the best ways of getting out of your heads and into your bodies. Playing in the water and applying sunscreen to one another are time-honored ways of getting physical. For a zillion reasons, exercising together is generally a good idea. Acroyoga has taken off all over the world, so you should be able to find a class where you are.
That should give you a few tools for figuring out if a guy has romantic interest in you. And you have the advantage of being actual women! Then please share it in the comments ASAP! I have a little favor to ask you. Are you on Goodreads? This is how I pay the bills, so I would be immensely grateful for your help. At the beginning of , I decided to devote more time to my favorite activity: I set myself a rough target of two books a week, and got through about of them 32, pages, according to my Goodreads profile.
On my personal blog, I wrote capsule reviews and ratings of about of those , categorized into the following 5 headings. I read a lot of personal growth books, and these are the ones I found particularly useful. I picked up these books mostly for kicks or out of curiosity. All of them are quick, entertaining reads. Why did it have to end? These are the kind of books that can help you become a kinder, gentler, more thoughtful version of yourself.
Click here to take a look at the list and the reviews. So if you have some must-reads that would fit in the above categories, please share them in the comments! You went out with a guy for a couple of dates. How do you let a guy down easy? Or anyone, for that matter? What I recommend is to use two principles: The praise sandwich works particularly well because people tend to remember the first and last things you tell them the primacy and recency effects, respectively ; the meat of the sandwich tends to get forgotten.
Gentle let-downs help expand your circle of allies and reduce the amount of incidental rancor in your community and the world at large. Some of the questions we covered:. Click on the player icon below to listen, or click here if you prefer to download the file 29min, 20mb.
The Extraordinary Love Series: Some of the speakers are really, really good. It starts next week; more info for you in the near future. In the meantime, you can sign up for the whole thing for no charge here. On the election, sexism, insecurity, and your love life. I started with a story about my mom, who was a butt-kicking professional woman in Iran, and how she refused to put up with the sexist nonsense that the fundamentalists were propounding after the Revolution. The 15min excerpt below talks about the prime directives in male and female behavior, and how that creates three choices for strong women when it comes to choosing and relating to a man:.
A lot of people were sad to have missed it because of time or distance conflict, and asked for a replay. Click here to purchase the full lecture. And do send your questions. Under words, and make sure it contains a question regarding the outcome you desire! The holiday season is upon us, which means that many of you will be going to a bunch of holiday parties.
This is an excellent time to get out and make new friends. Which means that people were engaging in lineage-perpetuating activities nine months before, which brings us to… ah yes, December and November. I really enjoyed the classes and feel that I am seeing some results already.
Joined yoga which I realized I had missed as part of my routine and going out more often. Quick situation I wanted to run by you: I was picking up my dry cleaning and there was this good looking guy there.
We were the only two in the store. While the person was getting my dry cleaning, I did the smiling eye contact with good intention thing, and then he came over and we started a conversation back and forth about how good a dry cleaning place it is and how fast and reasonably priced they are.
I got my dry cleaning and smiled at the guy and left. Do you live or work close by? A lot of what I write is about mindset and being your best self. But sometimes, you just straight up need some techniques that work. This is one of those times. In the big city with people constantly in motion, it can be challenging to make a connection. Conversation-friendliness, Community, and Continuity.
You want to be able to have a meaningful exchange of sufficient length in a safe context such that you can follow up with the person later. Now the dry cleaners is a great venue because the people there are likely to be local good for Community , affluent, and probably gainfully employed.
This is the realm of grownups. This cuts out the middleman of fumbling for phones, or pen and paper. Do you have a card? The attention you just gave him probably made his day. I have a Bookswap Brunch that I do once a month or so, where people bring books to swap with each other while having a tasty brunch. Now this topic happens to be one of the most common that women ask me about. Capacity for the webinar is only people, so if you want to be on, I would recommend that you click on this link right now and sign up.
Nothing to lose; much joy, potential partnership, wedding ceremonies, rugrats, and massive private school and college bills to gain: San Francisco Bay Area: If you were rejoicing on Nov 9, this talk is probably not aimed at you. It will basically be like a live version of the blog, so bring your questions!
The room is smallish, so if you want a seat, get your tickets quick — there are about 19 left. You saw a candidate who routinely insulted minorities, immigrants, handicapped people, and LGBT folks become President-elect of the nation. You saw a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women win the highest office in the land.
And you saw friends, family, and fellow Americans disregard all of that ugliness and vote for him anyway. If in the past week you have felt less safe; disrespected as a woman; in despair about the state of democracy; worried about the future of your self and country — I hear you. If you want to talk about stuff, just call In the meantime, even though something very strange has happened, worry is not going to help.
The world keeps turning, and frankly it needs you. So if you are not feeling tip-top, here are some ways to improve your resilience and bounce back, pronto:. There is nothing that changes your mood more reliably than exercise. So get out of the house and move — go for a run, do yoga, take an exercise class, or just enjoy a long walk. We humans are hypersocial creatures. Singles living alone are now the biggest demographic group in America, and nothing about the 6 million year history of hominin evolution prepared us for living by ourselves.
So get together with people. Organize a movie night, go watch sports together in a bar, go dancing, have a dinner party. Good company is healing. Which also explains why so many repressive cultures ban music think the Taliban or fundamentalist Iran. So grab your smartphone, fire up your Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music or Pandora, and listen to some seriously uplifting tunes. If said tunes make you dance, even better see 1 above. Classical music is particularly powerful for me. Some pieces that get me going when I need to scrape myself off the floor: Yeah, just close your eyes and sit.
For extra credit, do your best to clear your mind of thoughts. You do this by focusing on something other than random thoughts — say, the sensation of breath as it goes through your nostrils. Repeating an internal sounds also helps you focus. Just email me a beer instead. Meditation is a form of mindfulness, but not the same thing. You can practice it all the time. Because, if you really think about it, all of your problems reside in the past or the future.
Right now — this tiny sliver of a second constituting the present moment — is frankly too narrow to contain any problems.
Feel the warmth of the water, the hardness of the plates, the slipperiness of the suds. Hear the sounds of splashing water, and the squeak of sponge on dish. Which part of your foot hits the ground first? Which one is next?
How do your legs feel as they alternately support and swing? What are your arms doing? As you do this, you may notice something: And then the next moment in time — still pretty good. And the next one?
String together enough of these mindful moments, and you get whole days, months and years. This way, you can get through anything. One of the best ways to cheer yourself up is to help cheer other people up. Hey, why do you think I do this stuff? So call up a friend, offer to listen, go deliver a hug in person, send them this list, and otherwise make yourself useful. Could be your family, your health, your car that gets you around.
Meditate on them, and deeply appreciate them in your life for 30sec each. Then go on with the rest of your day. Science shows that making this a daily or even weekly practice has measurable benefits for your long-term happiness.
This really should have been at the top of the list; thanks to eagle-eyed reader Maria for bringing it to my attention. All of the things I just mentioned are free and available to you right now.
Would be great to see them. Just call This is a really good time to meet new people. Why do you think the most number of kids are born in August? Anyway, there are 6 sessions in total. The remaining 2 sessions will be in And remember, the course is evergreen. All the material is online, and you can come back to it as often as you want, and join a live cohort whenever I have one.
Hey, I hear ya. Things were probably rough even before they got rougher! We live in uncertain times. None of this is entirely new. And you know what? I have faith in you. And just so you can have even more faith in yourself, here are two resources straight from my secret stash that have been very useful to me:. This is a daybook. You get an essay for every calendar day. The culmination of one love, one dream, one self, is the anonymous seed of the next.
Mark Nepo has been through a lot cancer, divorce etc. As a result, he always writes from a place of deep vulnerability. He also writes beautifully. No wonder Oprah went gaga over his book when she found out about it in You can either watch the livestream or go to watch from the archives right now for no charge perhaps the Nov 9 service will be of interest; lecture starts around He is one industrial-strength wallop of inspiration and the best living orator I know.
The services are spiritually-oriented and non-denominational. There are some recurring themes to his messages: Rev Michael was a pivotal part of starting my writing career 11 years ago. He is an extraordinarily helpful resource in times of trouble or joy. Meditation has been the single most transformative practice I have taken up. It has made me a calmer, less reactive, more thoughtful person. The first thing I do every morning is meditate, and I consider it the most important part of my day.
For someone deep into meditation, the list of teachers reads like the Team USA Basketball team roster: I am not exaggerating when I say these folks are the best at what they do:. Should you decide to purchase a package of the recordings, I receive a part of the proceeds. Meditation is the life-changing practice, and I sincerely hope you can join me.
Click here to sign up. Do you know what to do to make that pitch great every time? Or are you leaving those crucial turning points to chance? I get a lot of letters from readers. There are common themes to these letters: Why do I behave this way? Why does he do that?
Can I trust men? Is a long-term committed relationship even possible? But rarely does a letter hit all of those themes at the same time. Martha, a very thoughtful 30yr old graduate student from Oregon sent me this letter recently.
But I tend to come up with philosophical and existential questions that make everything harder. This expands to different areas in life, specifically relationships. Learning that I belong to the anxiously attached category helped me understand the painful break-ups and self-destructive patterns of thinking that followed.
In my life these external resources have been: Along with that, I was exposed to continuous fights over parental infidelity, leading me to lose trust in men. Since I was also criticized a lot, I always wanted to be more, which served me well but also with the downside of never being happy with who I was.
I also wonder if I lack determination in my decision-making or reactions. I wanted to break the taboo of dating someone from a different socioeconomic status, which is why I started dating my boyfriend Bradley about a year ago.
I often find myself analyzing everything my partner says, looking for its origin in order to discover the real him: These conversations alarm me and rev up my sympathetic nervous system to withdraw from trusting him in the long run. But then again, I realize that this is still giving authority to external circumstances to keep me content. I never fear being left because someone smarter or kinder may come along.
I fear being left for a more attractive girl, or simply a different kind of beauty. I worry about getting old and losing physical beauty, but at the same time I realize that being a goddess is not a requirement to keep a man loyal. Many men cheat even when they have a goddess at home. What puzzles me is that even though I consider my mother a very beautiful woman though lacked in other areas and know that it did not stop my father from cheating, I take physical comments to heart and I worry about losing the field to younger girls.
I wonder if I have unconsciously always gone for the wrong guys to prove myself that men are not trustworthy. I want to be OK on my own, even if no man is ever going to be loyal to me for eternity. I want to stop worrying and being loved to be happy. Well, if some of what Martha brought up resonated with you, raise your hand. Lots of raised hands out there. Which brings me to the topic I want to talk about today: Prof Kristin Neff of the University of Texas at Austin is the pioneering researcher of self-compassion.
After all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect? The most obvious one is recognizing our common humanity. And you would be wrong. Out there in Oregon, writing these thoughts to me, Martha is probably pretty sure that she is the only person in the world that has this constellation of challenges.
And yet, you the reader can probably identify with a bunch of them: Once you realize the rest of the world is also having these issues, it somehow becomes much easier to bear.
That brings us to Principle 1, Self-kindness. Some folks — especially perfectionists — have somehow internalized that there is virtue in ripping into yourself.
Besides, which part of you is ripping into which part of you? Are you slapping yourself in the face with your own hand, or elbowing yourself in the stomach? Do you have any idea how weird that sounds? Stop that now before I call in the shrinks. And that brings us to Principle 3, Mindfulness. Just go ahead and feel it fully, without letting it be your whole existence and identity. When you allow them to express fully, feelings fade over time.
But if you resist them, they persist. So let them be, then let them go. Mindfulness is also about being fully present in the moment. This happens to be the antidote to overthinking or rumination, which is what this letter is doing a lot of.
Like many of you, Martha is a smart, highly-educated woman. And like many of you, she thinks a lot about things that have never happened and may never happen. Some of these thoughts may turn into worries, which may become anxieties looming large enough to alter your daily behavior. For example, Martha talked about infidelity: What works is to do something else instead. For those of you who are in the Bay Area on Mon Oct 3, would love to see you at my live workshop.
Please drop by and say hi! Christine Marie Mason is one of the most extraordinary people I know and one of my favorite humans. She has been an entrepreneur, CEO of 6 different companies, BA and MBA graduate from Northwestern University, organizer of nine TEDx events, a yoga teacher, artist, musician, mother of six fantastic kids, grandmother, and most recently, a prison peace mentor. We met 15 years ago at a yoga retreat, so I thought I knew her pretty well by now. What I did not know was that when Christine was 12, her young mother was murdered and left in a cornfield.
She had her first child at 19, then again at 20, and still finished college and the MBA program. Her first husband eventually had a schizophrenic break and ended up losing his job and squandering all their money. Her second husband got cancer, then proceeded to cheat on her in spectacular fashion even while Christine was helping him recuperate. After a particularly long day in this spell of dot-com craziness, I was walking down a crowded street to catch a commuter train, when I saw my old friend Daniel.
Daniel always had a ready smile. He was self-contained, a loving husband and father and accomplished professionally—at that time he was CEO of a public company, making all manner of kitchen gadgets. That night, he was shining. It looked to me like he had shed layers of himself; he was carrying no burden.
He responded in an instant. Poise does not freak out over laundry, talk too much, go 90 miles an hour to make it to a meeting, or accidentally break things due to inattention.
After a great struggling 75 minutes of a vigorous athletic form of structured postures linked together by the breath we were practicing a form called Ashtanga yoga , the class arrived at Savasana , corpse pose, where we lay on our backs, arms outstretched, palms up, legs extended, letting all of our muscles relax, allowing our bones to sink into the floor, in a sort of half-state between sleeping and waking, a state of deep aware stillness.
Through the breathing, the rhythm, the turning inward of yoga—through the not turning to an external thing like whacking a tennis ball or working into the night —I found my first peace in long memory. Yoga, as it has been popularized in the west, is often practiced with pumping music. People move fast and sweat and detox.
If the connection between my feet and brain does not work, how am I going to connect to other people? Nor did I know where my organs were in my belly. My insides were like a black hole between my ribcage and my knees. Can you feel where your liver is, unless it is in pain? After a while, I found that I could lift my arches and run an energetic current up my shins and thighs and ass and heart and right out the top of my head and back down again.
The power I used in previous forms of athletics to release energy was something that could be channeled and leveraged inside of the body, to heal it and balance it, and restore equilibrium and clarity to my whole organism. The yoga practice that was handed to me started a new kind of self-inquiry: Am I aware of my breath? Where am I looking? Where are my feet? Are all four corners of my feet on the ground?
Are my arches lifted away? Where are my fingers? Are they evenly aligned or evenly spaced? Am I standing tall or leaning forwards or backwards? Where am I in space? How good is my proprioception: What am I actually feeling? What is actually happening? It was a straight line to hyperawareness.
I began to learn that the body has rising and falling energies, that when it gets certain inputs it releases certain chemicals, that there is a virtuous loop between the actions of the body and the chemicals that are released, and that this cycle is autonomic until we intervene and override it. We can start to use our breathing and our thoughts to restructure which chemicals are getting released from our minds and into our bodies.
We can reprogram ourselves, literally. Once I began, it was rapid-fire study. I went to my first class, and I knew I was going to return. Eventually, I found a connection to divine source on that quiet, meditative, sweaty little mat, something I never quite got in any traditional church.
That tiny studio, with a purple Om symbol painted on the wall, above a pizza parlor in the middle of Chicago, curtains blowing in, sirens and car horns below, became a holy place. It was there that I discovered a sense of having a permeable body: I was made of the same stuff as everything else in the universe. I wanted to go deeper. In , I went on a retreat led by power yoga founder Baron Baptiste.
His easygoing introduction to yoga philosophy, musical open laugh, softness, strength, humor and accessibility just made me happy. For example, once we stayed for a full 20 minutes in a hip opener known as frog: Somatic theory says we hold our painful memories in the body, and holding this position for this long had people in the room women especially , letting go and weeping at all the things held in the groin and hips.
I took his teacher training in Tulum, just to keep growing. Then I stumbled, or was led, into a month of teacher training in an intense, academic program that honored a deep Indian lineage, with Yogarupa Rod Stryker- and that training has continued apace for the last 15 years — from the yoga of sound, to contact yoga, to extensive breath and tantric energy work, to studying Sanskrit texts — it is an unending investigation.
By investigating the body, I began to investigate the mind also, and then even deeper into relationships. Once, early on, I was holding a yoga position called side plank for a long time. This position requires the body to form a long, firm, extended board, placing one hand on the floor, the other to the ceiling, and balancing between the side of the bottom foot and the palm of the hand, holding the belly snug and the hips high.
It can be rigorous. My arms started shaking; my balance was challenged. I invite you to look at your reaction to that. Are you feeling proud, or maybe the inverse: How can you be kind to yourself in this moment, play your edge, and take responsibility for your experience? How much are your own thoughts and reactions responsible for your own suffering? If side plank was hard, the other big practice, seated meditation, was harder.
Sitting still, harboring a quiet mind, initially felt impossible. Even two minutes of meditation felt interminable. Every part of me resisted.
To make it easier, all kinds of techniques were offered: Watch your breath right where it enters and exits the nostrils, imagine a flame, say a mantra. But it was all just practice to do one thing: To become a watcher of my own thoughts. But if I am watching my thoughts, who is thinking the thoughts? These thoughts must be separately constructed. Have you vowed to find love in ? Getty Get money updates directly to your inbox Subscribe See our privacy notice More newsletters.
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