Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Letters to a young man 13

Hello my friend. In my last letter I wrote to you about self-control, and of course you correctly pointed out that self-respect was also important. My young friend, I am impressed with this observation and with how far you go in your self-reflection. Truly, to know yourself is a priority for you, and perhaps the most important one a man can have.

I want to talk to you about the element of respect. A man must respect himself before others can respect him. Unless he is good at masking over his lack of self-respect, or a good actor, people will respond unconsciously to this failing and a man will not gain the respect of others. And of course, one must maintain respect.

To achieve and maintain this respect, one must remain in control. To be in control a man must respect himself and have good esteem. Regardless of who he encounters, he must remain in control and respect himself. Not even a beautiful woman should interrupt these two. After all, why would he lower himself for a woman unless he lacked both of these qualities? To keep this self-control a man must always respect himself, and be mindful of it.

If you are walking down the street with a girl that you're seeing steadily, much as you have been lately, when you pass a girl that you are very attracted to, you may look at her, but you don't flirt with her, or look her up in down. In fact, you should break eye contact first, displaying your self-control. Do you notice how she responds to you if you do this? If you pay attention you will see your value go up in her eyes. Others may scoff at this, but you must pay close attention.

In her view, she will see you as a man that does not need her, that has self-control, that is fulfilled. She will respect that you have not turned into a man that will wiggle away from the girl he is with just to try and get in her pants. She will look up to you, and she will see you as a prize to be won. So many are in a rush to get what she has, and in the process give away what they have. Do not follow in their footsteps.

And what if you are walking alone? Nothing is different, I simply want to draw attention to something that many men miss. They will walk with pride in their hearts as they are with a beautiful woman, yet when walking alone, they are empty and their gaze darts to every attractive woman they see. They don't gaze because they appreciate the beauty and contemplate the hunt; they gaze because they are empty and looking for something they need, something have lost, or never had.

The first is being fulfilled, the second is being empty.

If you do the latter, you should ask yourself why that same pride and fulfillment you have when with a woman does not rest solely in your heart. Why are you empty when you walk alone? Fill yourself with the same pride, the same self-respect, the same self-control at all times. Walk as a god among men. This is the difference between what most men have become and how I am trying to teach you to be.

I know that you may ask me if the only reason to have self-respect, self-control, and the respect of a woman is to play some kind of elaborate game to win her attraction. I will counter that it is not. It is simply a by-product of things. And you should always be aware of the esteem in which a woman holds you. Even if you are single, you should never lower yourself. She should look up to you and admire you.

This isn't to say that you should look down on her. The best of all situations is for both people to admire and respect one another, but so many men subjugate themselves to women, putting them on a pedestal and failing to see them for what they are. We all have faults, but to do this to a woman is only possible if you truly lack self-respect, self-esteem, and self-control.

Remember, hold your head up high. Walk with purpose. You're on a mission and your mission is to be the best in, and do your best with, every moment that you have on this earth. It could all end at any time. Live without fear.

Farewell for now.

My book on stoicism.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Letters to a young man 12

Hello my friend. I've been skirting around saying this outright, in fact I may have said it outright. If so, I'll say it again.

Self-Control is everything. Everything begins with self-control.

Every moment going forward from now is going to have a ton of variability. There may be simply no way to predict what will happen. There is often little that we can control. What we can control, to some degree at least, is ourselves.

To control yourself is power, it is freedom. It can open doors to ways of being that you never thought existed. I've been thinking for a while now that the greater part of dealing with women is learning to control your self-destructive impulses around them. I am convinced of this more and more every day, and I think this is a good thing. I think this is good because, as with all things in life, you are the one thing over which have some control.

You have control over how you respond to crises, as well as to successes. Believe me, I can tell you that you should pay attention to your reactions to both.

You have control over what you eat, what you read, what you think about, what you dream about, what you most want, what you most don't want, and so on. I think you see where I'm going with this.

I've had a lot of time to look back over the last few years and it seems to me that the amount of self-control I've had has been strongly correlated to the amount of happiness and fulfillment in life that I've had.

Begin with yourself. Control yourself. Sometimes it's useful to be spontaneous, bold, fearless. Sometimes it's useful to think before you speak and act. Self-control is the gateway to knowing which is which for you. It's the gateway to being free of fear. Ultimately, it all comes down to you and how you view yourself and your place in your world. The story that you tell yourself. It's always up to you.

Farewell for now.

My book on stoicism.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Letters to a young man 11

Hello my friend. Every now and then, I have a moment of clarity, or I might say an enlightened moment. In these moments, it's as if I'm hovering above the fray of life, above all the din and distraction and seeing things clearly. Do you have these moments? I suspect that you do.

One such moment came recently when I was at work, a place largely comprised of women. There are men, to be sure, but it's one of those places where the women out number the men. This can be a challenging environment for a man, especially a man who embraces and lives his masculinity. It's tempting at times to let all of your testosterone fly out and fly off the handle, and tell some of these women to simply shut up. Yet, this would not further my cause, nor my situation, as it were. So I have often wondered how I might be shackling myself when I purse my lips and bite my tongue.

And it was in this moment that I mentioned that I had a realization. As men, we should be above the fray of women, and all of their cares. True, we may find ourselves under their thumbs, but have men not always faced this? When there were queens who ruled, were men not subjugated? And if you think how we live and work, surely we do not have it so bad as those before us?

Yet I digress from my main point, which is that as men, we should be above the fray of women. We needn't sink to their levels, their gossip, their cares, their insecurities, we needn't worry ourselves as they do. We have no cause to wrestle in the grime that women love to muck about in. How often do we hear them gossip? How often do they ramble on and on about trivial things? Are we not men? Do we not forge ahead and stand silent in the face of these womanly worries? What need have we to descend to their level? It is they that should aspire to ours, my young friend, and many do aspire. Yet they that are wise women know that we will always be different. They embrace what is good in them and understand the difference between men and women. And so should we.

As you walk about, keep your eyes and ears open. When you see women gather together, notice how they talk with one another. Notice their body language, and unspoken language. See how they compete with one another, how they size one another up, plotting at every turn to undo the others. One mouth issues the praise, and the same mouth later issues the curse. This is the way of women. Let us be men, for we are better than this. I know that women will writhe and grit their teeth and say, "Oh, but I'm not like that!", and indeed some are not. But it is a rare thing my friend, for women must be this way to survive, for they are always dependent on their social standing and situation; without these, she is nothing. As men, we are best when we act with honor, and courage; when we speak truth now as well as later; when we hold ourselves in good esteem and know our faults and weaknesses; when we help our fellow men; when we treat others decently; when we help women who so desperately need our help. In so many ways, to be a man is to rise over the muck of life and to embrace self-control.

Let us value women for their positive characteristics, and let us value ourselves for ours. Let us not sink to what is beneath us.

Farewell for now.

My book on stoicism.