Saturday, April 13, 2013

Success From The First Date - Part 2

Success From The First Date - girl  woman and guy man laughing chatting
Humor without arrogance makes you appear kind of silly and goofy, whereas arrogance without humor just makes you look like an asshole. "Cocky comedy" communicates confidence whilst still showing that you don’t take yourself too seriously.

In the first article of this series I introduced you to some basic principles and practices for establishing effective and empathic connection with almost anyone that you might come into contact with. In this article I hope to supply you with three more simple practices that have the capacity to transform your quality of connection. These practices are aimed at creating authentic empathic connection, a sort of interpersonal resonance, between you and the other. It is my belief that this is the most natural way for us to relate to each other, but sadly this is not something which most people are used to experiencing.

What we are striving for here, in romantic settings but also in other parts of our lives, is a sense of trusting, compassionate sharing, which will serve as the basis for developing sexual polarity. Once again this article is written from a masculine perspective with the intention of equipping someone approaching life from a masculine essence with skilful means for acting on their attraction to the feminine, but I am hopeful that the information will also prove interesting and inspiring to those who operate from a feminine essence.

Express Your Gratitude By Complimenting Her (As Opposed To Praise)…
If you have ever had a puppy you will know that using punishment and reward (or their cousins: threat and praise) are very effective methods for getting them to do what you would like them to do. This understanding formed – in grossly over simplified terms – the basis of a movement in psychology called behaviorism. A number of great scientists (starting with the classical conditioning of Pavlov and leading to the operant conditioning theories of Skinner) explored the relationship between stimulus and response, mainly through experimenting with animals, and arrived at the conclusion that our behaviors are shaped largely as a response to stimuli in our environment. These stimuli reinforce behavioral patterns either positively (like rewards) or negatively (like punishment). This thinking has become an integrated part of our popular psychological culture and – without fully understanding its implications – most of us clumsily apply this thinking all over the place in the way we parent, in the way we diet, and even in the way we approach our intimate relationships.

The problem here in a nutshell is (I am hoping) that most of us are not interested in pursuing sexual relationships with puppies. Human beings are animals, but they are animals who possess unfathomed depths of neurological capacity and spiritual consciousness. We may achieve some short terms results when we use punishment and reward to manipulate other people, but we will pay a price in the long term. This price may include a devastating effect upon trust, connection, and relationship, and a lack of intrinsic motivation (i.e. the person will be motivated by an extrinsic (external) reward, rather than by the activity itself). To find out more about the problem with punishment and reward I would recommend starting with Alfie Kohn’s book Punished by Rewards.

So, let’s put this all back in context: you may meet with some success if you lavish a girl with praise, telling her how beautiful she is, etc., with the sole aim of getting her to sleep with you. However, your engagement will be lacking in meaning and connection, it will not help you to grow in love, and she will not be sleeping with you because she likes you, but rather because she likes the reward…in short it wouldn’t be all that different to offering her $5000 to sleep with you (it would just be a little more emotionally manipulative and dishonest). In any case, the truth is that you are unlikely to meet with much success using this strategy alone as many women have been duped in this way so frequently in the past that they are no longer very susceptible to the strategy of “Hey, you’re pretty. Wanna f***k?” Of course the other problem here is that nobody likes to be judged. We have a natural human urge to rebel against being told what we are or what we should do. Even when we are offering someone praise it is communicating a value judgement: we are telling them that they are good or better, and so - although we have been educated our whole lives to get really excited about people praising us – on a deeper level it really doesn’t work for us and we start to experience some deep resentment towards those who stand in judgement over us.

What is quite refreshing and striking on the other hand is to hear what people think (when they are willing to take responsibility for their own thoughts), and share with you openly the ways in which you have contributed to making their life more wonderful. When we choose this sort of strategy people will generally notice the difference, because we open our hearts to them with a high level of vulnerability; we share what is most valuable to us and also attempt to connect with what is most valuable to them. The most effective way to do this is to start with a clear observation, share your thoughts and feelings (in a way that enables you to clearly take personal responsibility by indicating your ownership), and then link it to a need that was met for you by that observation (that is to say, how that particular thing really worked for you). Obviously these components may sometimes occur in a different order.

Talk About Your Feelings…
Most of us really struggle to talk about our feelings. This is largely because, in our society, we are educated not to. As a result most of us have an extremely limited vocabulary of feeling words. We are taught that logic provides us with answers and our attention is repeatedly focussed on the external world; as a result we are taught to ignore our inner world until, eventually, we become completely dislocated from it.

The matter is further complicated by the fact that we tend to use the words “I feel…” in a number of ways in our language on a day to day basis. Very often we use these words to express our thinking. For example, one might say “I feel that you were being unfair”. So the important distinction here is between our feelings (how we feel) on the one hand and our thoughts (what we think) on the other. Feelings can almost always be expressed in one word, as in “I feel happy”, or “I feel anxious”. Sometimes we needn’t say “I feel” at all and we can simply say “I am happy”, etc.  Thinking on the other hand often requires more complex language. Once again it is not helpful to judge our thinking (as right or wrong), but if we are to truly connect with others it is helpful to have clarity about our processing and label it appropriately.

So what are feelings then? Feelings are internal emotional sensations which act as sign-posts that direct us towards our needs. Feelings give us a sense of what we most value in the moment by letting us know if our needs are being met or not. In this way feelings act as a bridge connecting our external experience with our inner world. Cultivating a practice of connecting with our feelings empowers us to act from the power that lives within us. Talking about our feelings with others communicates this sense of grounded authenticity and power.

Maintain A Sense Of Humor….
A good sense of humor is almost universally attractive. The reality is that people want to have fun: they want to laugh. However humor comes in many varieties, and though they may all generate some chuckles in the short term not all of them will prove to be constructive in the long run. It is best to avoid humor which is derogatory at its core, especially early in a relationship. Taking cheap shots at people who can’t defend themselves, and parading your prejudice without having the balls to actually face up to it is not generally very gorgeous. What really allows your heart to shine through is when the feminine is able to witness the masculine penetrating the depths of the world with authentic love and at the same time maintaining humor and lightness. Amidst the storminess of the feminine’s darkness and the giddiness of its light the true masculine maintains its steadfastness with a loving smile knowing that all this will pass.

Humor is also a great way to showcase the dark side of masculinity. One approach which often works quite well in doing this is referred to as “cocky comedy” this is a mainstay of some so-called seduction experts like David Deangelo. Basically cocky comedy consists of a finely tuned balance of arrogance and humor. Humor without arrogance makes you appear kind of silly and goofy, whereas arrogance without humor just makes you look like an asshole. Cocky comedy communicates confidence whilst still showing that you don’t take yourself too seriously. 

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