So many times I have heard from frustrated women who explain that when they need a loved one to listen to their situation, the man in their life seeks instead to “fix” things. They tell me that this leaves them missing that loving connection that comes from being heard and all too often leaves them with the fear that the man just doesn’t really care so much since he is more interested in fixing things.
Right. But wait. What doesn’t she know about men?
What the women are missing is that men have a natural tendency to want to fix things. Why do men want to fix things? Because it helps them feel better. I could tell you plenty of stories of working on an old car and being frustrated in getting one bolt out. I try and try and no matter what I do, it just won’t budge. Then when I figure it out and successfully pull out the offending bolt I am hit with a wonderful blast of feeling good! Men know this elation. It feels good to solve and fix things and men simply want to share that good feeling with those they love. When she tells him a problem he wants to give to her the same feeling he gets when things are fixed so of course he tries to fix it for her. He’s doing this because he cares, not because he doesn’t.
After explaining this to the women in therapy I let them know that there are things they can do to help this situation. One effective approach is to be sure the man knows exactly what you want. Be clear with him whether you want a consult or want to be consoled. If you want to be consoled tell him he doesn’t need to do anything, that you simply want him to sit with you and listen.
When women talk to their men about this good things happen. When he becomes aware that she doesn’t want a solution and simply wants him to listen he can relax! I have seen this repeatedly. When this is explained to men they are relieved to know what is wanted and make an easy shift to simply listening. Most men find this much easier than the responsibility for fixing.
Here’s something to try:
If you are a woman talk to the man in your life about being consoled versus being consulted. Work out ways to let each other know when you need each one. If you are a man, talk to the woman in your life and let her know you need her to be specific about what she wants from you.
When both know what is needed, good things usually happen!
Can you remember your first day at work? What you did, who you met, what you saw? Okay how about day two or day three? Chances are you don’t remember quite as much about those days. Why not? One of the basic rules of the psyche is that when we do something for the first time our awareness gets stronger. Basically, we pay more attention. When we pay more attention we are usually more alive in the present moment. Because we are more alive in the present moment we tend to remember more of what was happening.
I bet you can think back to many instances where you did something for the first time. All sorts of memories are likely to pop up about the first time we did something. I would also bet that some of those will make you smile when you remember.
So if we are more aware the first time we do something, and this puts us more in the present tense, how can we use this to our advantage?
Do something for the first time and be aware of your consciousness as you are doing this. It might be going to a new restaurant that offers a type of food you have never had. It might be taking a ride in the car to an unfamiliar area and on roads you have never used before. It might be trying a sport you have never tried or experimenting with an unfamiliar musical instrument. Whatever you do, see what impact the first time might have on your awareness and your feeling good!
Have you ever watched a 1 or 2 year old carefully? What do they do? It’s pretty simple, they experience. Unencumbered by the rigid adult belief system, the cascade of shoulds and shouldn’ts, or the numerous adult defenses they move from one thing to the next and simply experience whatever they are doing. Sometimes they lick things, sometimes they touch and feel, other times they just ambulate from one spot to another but no matter what they are doing they are involved in the moment.
Most of us can’t imagine what it would be like to have such a focus on our present moment. We are often too busy with our persistent thoughts going one way and then another or preoccupied with our fears or regrets. What can we do?
Find a 1-2 year old and follow them around. It could be a relatives’s child or maybe your own. Do whatever they do no matter what. Do it for five minutes and see what happens. I can just about guarantee that you will be laughing and of course as a later post will say, laughter is a great way to be in the moment. Be sure that you are not the responsible party for the child’s safety. Yes, you both get a babysitter!
Welcome to the first edition of tips for feeling good. The path for many into the red pill world is a tough one and one that can often use an extra dose of feeling good. With that in mind, each Tuesday we are going to offer a quick tip on feeling good. Some will be common sense, some will be drawing on research driven ideas while others will be tested tips from the growing field of positive psychology. We want you to feel good, every day. Let’s get started.
One of the most basic ideas of healing and feeling good is to keep one’s mind in the present moment. When we are able to do this we usually feel good. When the mind gets pulled into the future we often become anxious. When the mind gets stuck in the past we tend to get more depressed. Dwelling on the past and the future will tend to limit our joy.
What’s your favorite ride at the amusement park? Think about it. All the rides are geared to put you into the present moment. Ever notice that people getting off rides are smiling and laughing? That’s why people are wiling to pay for them! They are a quick path to feeling good. Think of a roller coaster ride. You are rolling down the hill…..Are you worrying about the future or upset over the past? Are you thinking about your taxes? No! You are locked into the present moment no future, no past just excited and in the moment. This is why people love it!
Now the important question is how to lock into the present on your own and do it consistently. I know many men who ride their motorcycles and this gets them locked in the present. As they are riding, they are floating in the moment. Others find that music or even singing does it for them. And then there is anything that brings laughter. It’s hard to laugh and not be in the present. All of these help us lock into the moment and that’s where most people feel good. Start thinking about what you do to put yourself into the now. You might want to Talk about it with someone close. Ask them where you seem to feel the most joyful. This will give you some clues about your unique ways, and where your roller coaster might be. You may also get some clues by thinking back to when you were young and the things you did for fun. Have a good time with this.
See you next Tuesday for another tip for feeling good.
Men are good, as are you.