Sunday, January 19, 2014

Letters to a young man 32

Hello my friend. It's good to get your letter and hear your kind words. That I am of some help to you is my reward, that is to say, it is above and beyond the reward of writing you itself. For your kindness and that you would share that with me, I am thankful.

Now, to the points you've raised and asked about. You ask further about regrets and failures from your past, the kind that shake your very confidence in being a man, the kind that shake your very confidence in being you. You even feel that your dreams have fallen away because of decisions you've made as a young man.

I have been faced with letting go of certain dreams from my youth. It has been quite difficult, but I had to accept certain realities. Some might say it is settling for less, for me it has been a matter of accepting realities and moving forward. The good news is that I've survived and flourished, found new dreams and aspirations. And ultimately, if I'm honest, I've changed: the younger dreams seem more like mirages to me now than anything I would want to attain. So perhaps the answer is: time and change; with a healthy dose of acceptance. Acceptance for your own limitations and failures. Accept those and yourself fully, for no man is perfect. Many men have famously counted the number of failures they had before their "big success", so do not worry too much over it.

Having said these things if you feel the drive and spirit to take on a thing and see it to completion, then do so. If the thoughts of that early dream still haunt you because you feel compelled to do take on the dream, inquire of yourself why this is. If you find nothing lacking in your answer then gather yourself together and set about achieving it. However, if you find that there is something lacking, that you only want a thing because you don't have it (for example), then set that dream aside. Realize that it may be taking up energy and focus that could be used on other things. Therefore, take care to know yourself and why you want a thing.

You've also asked me how a man who has many failed relationships, and who has embraced stoicism, is to connect with women when he can't feel a connection to them. I don't think stoicism and relationships are incompatible. I've been through more than one failed relationship. In a trite way, to quote a TV series: It's not about love, it's about what you're willing to do for it. I think there is much truth in that. If you meet a woman who is different than many you have met, and perhaps if you go through certain changes of perspective, you will be able to love a woman again, and to commit to her. I don't think it's 'blue pill foolishness' as long as you have your eyes open and she is worthy of your love. If she respects you and loves you and cares for you, then she is worthy. As to monogamy, it's possible and a worthwhile goal if it has meaning for you. If a man strays with his flesh he need not tell his woman or beat himself up about it endlessly. Instead, he should learn from the experience as much as possible. Then he can decide if it's truly a mistake and contrary to his nature or part of his nature. This struggle is part of being human and being a man. We are all different. We all struggle in this way until we find our nature.

Keep your chin up and hold your head high. You have accomplished much and have many things to be proud of. That you may have failed in the past or set down earlier dreams is of no real consequence given that you think on such things and have a quest for self-improvement. Carry your spirit with you at all times and remember that it is there for you as a font of inspiration.

Farewell for now.

My book on stoicism.