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.