Ask Dr. NerdLove: What Do You Do When You’re Too Ugly To Date?

Doc,

I used to believe that beauty is subjective and different people like different things. But that’s complete bullsh*t and there are certain features that would make a guy attractive for any girl. It’s just how it is.

Dimples, nice smile, warm eyes, etc. I have none of those. My face is an egg, I have a weird look in my eyes, and despite weighing 70kg and being 1.85m tall my face is still chubby and when I smile I look like a disabled person. No girls would ever look at me, and none ever told me I’m good looking, cute, etc. Except for my mom and grandmother which doesn’t count. My friends keep telling me I have a great personality but let’s face it, personality is irrelevant if you don’t look good.

And I’m guilty of liking only very pretty, cute, hot, sexy girls who everyone would agree they are good looking. And none of these girls would look at me. Not even average girls don’t. I never saw a girl looking at me. I’m almost 18 and I never ever dated a single girl, never held hands with one and never kissed one. And even if through a miracle a girl I find hot likes me, I’ll probably hardly fail to flirt with her since I HAVE 0 EXPERIENCE and I’ll just look like an idiot. And boom, there it goes.

I’ll find myself at 25 still a virgin unable to find “love”. I’m still trying to accept the idea I’ll die alone but it’s hard. And no, I’ll not find love at 30 or 22 or whatever, and no I will not pay for escorts. If I don’t find anyone until I’m 18, that’s too late. I’ll completely give up searching “love” and I’ll just join some satanic cult and listen to suicidal songs or something. All my friends have had girlfriends and I’m the only one who, whenever people talk about relationships and girls get “You don’t know anything about this”, “just don’t say anything, you’re still a virgin wtf dude” and so on.

I tried improving myself and I still do. The more I try to look good, the uglier I realize I become. When I try becoming good at something, I always fail. I know it because I tried getting new skills and stuff but it’s pointless because no matter how hard I try, I’m useless at everything. I tried dating apps, but even in my best pics, I look bad. I got only a couple of matches from average-ugly girls. The problem is that I’m an useless ugly piece of sh*t with standards. I’ve got too high standards. I don’t care the least about a girl’s personality unless she looks as good as a Korean model.

To understand how big of a problem it is, I wouldn’t be able to walk out on the street or in a mall with an average looking girl. I’ll be ashamed of doing that. I think its the fact that I’m ugly and frustrated and never liked by anybody makes me like that. It’s because I lack looks that I crave only very good looking girls, and I just don’t know what to do and how to deal with being ugly and shit.

Huckin’ Fugly


Hoo boy. Let’s roll this one from the top, shall we?

Let’s start with the most obvious issue: you’re 18. I realize this sounds dismissive, but I’m being serious here. I remember exactly what it was like to be 18. 18 is a lousy age; you’re theoretically an adult, but you’re at the tail end of the social h*ll that is high-school, your brain is still bouncing around in a stew of hormones and you have the undeserved certainty in your grasp of how the world works of a college student who discovered Communism and veganism at the same time, despite having next to zero actual life experience. So everything is a crisis, the world is always ending and you’ve got more overwrought drama than three seasons of Riverdale.

So it’s really godd*mn easy to declare that it’s the sexual apocalypse and you’re doomed to die a virgin despite being 18. I was absolutely, hands down, knew-it-in-my-bones sure that I was going to be able to drink before I ever had sex. I knew this with the certainty of someone who has hopped in the TARDIS and went forward in time to verify it personally.

I was, incidentally, completely godd*mn wrong. I may have sworn up and down that I could see every step of the next five years with perfect clarity, but I was wrong. And you’re not any more prescient than I was.

(But, listen chief, as long as you’re telling the future, could you look up the lottery tickets? Nobody claimed that billion dollar Powerball yet and I’m kind of hoping they’re going to roll it back into the prize pool.)

Now, you’re convinced that you’re going to be a virgin by 25. Let’s see if we can fix that, shall we?

We’ll start by suggesting that you dial back the histrionics. I get that you are feeling things strongly – I refer you back to the whole “18 years old” thing – but the truth is: if I had a nickel for every dude who told me that he made Quasimodo look like a Men’s Health model but turned out to be completely average looking, Elon Musk and I would be having mecha fights outside of Los Angeles right now. So take a deep breath. Take another. Hold it. Let it out slowly.

Now let’s begin.

Your biggest problem isn’t your looks, it’s your attitude. You’ve thrown your hands up in defeat over a future that you don’t know and can’t know. In fact, the way that you’re talking makes me suspect that you’ve been spending time on incel boards. But whether you’re hanging out with the Incels or just asshole-infested sections of Reddit, the best thing you can do right now is log the hell out of them. I realize that it can feel like you’re facing harsh truths and peeling the pleasing lies, but that’s not what you’re actually doing. You’re engaging in what YouTuber ContraPoints famously calls Masochistic Epistemology: if it hurts, it must be true. But the fact is, that’s bullsh*t. All that you’re doing is emotional self-harm, the psychological version of cutting. The only difference is that you’re cutting your soul and your self-esteem, not your flesh.

And that needs to stop. If you want to find love and lose your virginity before all-is-lost-woe-and-alack, then the first step is to stop treating self-harm as a path to truth instead of intellectual mutilation.

But hey, you want hard truths, I’ll give ’em to you. And here’s a hard truth for you: most of the issues you’re complaining about aren’t things something that are actually happening to you. You’re making broad worst-case-scenario assumptions based off of confirmation bias and your belief that you’re inherently unlovable and unf*ckable. You’re drawing conclusions based on things that you assume to be true with no facts actually in evidence. And to add to the self-loathing morass, you’re not considering that there are likely explanations that don’t have anything to do with you. Case in point: no girl besides your family has told you that you’re handsome? I’m not surprised. Not because you’re ugly but because for the most part women don’t tell random dudes they’re handsome; not unless they’re already in a relationship with them. In fact, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times a woman I wasn’t dating spontaneously told me I looked good.

Once. It’s happened exactly once.

I’ve gotten more compliments from pissed-off incels than I’ve gotten from women.

You want to know why they aren’t telling you that you’re hot on toast? Because we live in a culture that actively discourages it. We live in a culture that teaches us that male sexuality is aggressive, even predatory. Men are supposed to be the ones who make the advances and who take the lead when wooing women. Women are supposed to be passive and receptive, not to act but to be acted on. When women flout gender roles, guys get uncomfortable. Men almost immediately assume far more interest than actually exists, or presume that it’s a trick or a trap. I mean, if a woman were to tell you that you were actually attractive, would you believe her? Or would you immediately assume that she’s setting you up for an especially cruel joke?

So no, most women aren’t going to tell you that you’re hot. That has nothing to do with your looks and everything to do with the world we live in. We live in a world where male beauty was valued but hardly a priority and where men are discouraged from validating one another about how they look. Women, on the other hand, are incredibly vocal and supportive of their friends, even strangers, in no small part because they don’t have the specter of “fag” looming over their heads. So you’re left without validation, without reassurance or comfort; your guy friends can’t provide it because guys are uncomfortable with expressing emotion or appreciation and women can’t provide it because guys freak out at them when they do.

Here’s another truth: your looks are incredibly malleable.

While you can’t do anything about your bone structure or your overall frame, it is almost mind boggling at how much minor changes can affect how you look. You talk about your chubby, egg-like face. This is less of an issue than you realize. At 18, you almost certainly aren’t done changing. The odds that the chub you still have on your face will melt away as you hit your 20s is rather astoundingly high, especially with your height and current weight. But even if it doesn’t, it’s incredibly easy to change the way that you look with even small changes. If you’re upset about the way that your face and head is shaped, simply changing your hairstyle can work wonders; anyone who’s been watching Queer Eye can tell you to never underestimate the transformative power of a hair cut. Letting the hair on top keep some length and allowing for some volume on the sides goes a long way towards adjusting the shape of your head and balancing things out. Similarly, some square or rectangular eyeglasses can give structure to a face that might need a bit more width towards the top. If you’re worried about a narrow jaw-line, consider a well-trimmed beard to fill things out.

But what about your ability to flirt? You have no experience to draw from! Well no sh*t. Neither did I, chief. I had no game whatsoever growing up. I was awkward and uncomfortable and I didn’t find relationships so much as stumble into them. And that first one… well, I’ve written about that toxic situation at length before. Hell, even after my Long Dark Night of the Soul, my Batman moment when I fell into the PUA scene, didn’t immediately fix things for me. The fact that I now had a script to work from didn’t magically give me the gift of gab. In order to get better at flirting I had to go out and practice flirting. That meant doing a lot of experimenting, trying to find the flirting style that worked best for me and, yes, being willing to make mistakes and look like an idiot. Nobody gets good at something, whether it’s sport or social skills, without putting in the work. If you want to get better at flirting, then you’re going to have to go out there and risk looking like a fool. It may be uncomfortable, but the question remains: are you willing to endure that discomfort in order to get better?

Here’s a more important truth: your looks aren’t going to hold you back. Not in the way that you think. Because, contrary to what you insist, your personality matters far more than you realize, much more than your looks do. 

I mean, William H. Macy is married with kids and he looks like Droopy Dawg. Steve Buscemi, he of the disturbing eyes, is married, with kids. Patrick Fischler, a man whose entire career is “that creepy looking dude” is married, with children. And I don’t know if you’ve seen Geoffry Arend, the guy that Christina Hendricks married, but let’s be real: People’s Sexiest Man he ain’t.

Now this doesn’t mean that that looks are unimportant or don’t matter. Nobody is saying that. Looks can make a difference for immediate attraction… but the truth is that the vast majority of people out there don’t start dating someone they only just met. Most people don’t meet their partners at bars or even on dating apps: they meet them through friends, through their jobs and their hobbies. They don’t meet and start dating immediately; most people date people after having gotten to know them. And that’s where the issue of personality comes in. See, one of the interesting things about the human psyche is that we can get used to anything. Including how people look. No matter how hot someone is, we get used to it pretty quickly. The same as when people are average or less symmetrically blessed. But personality… that we don’t get used to. And it’s personality that keeps people coming around. See, part of what builds attraction is repetition, exposure and familiarity. The more you get to know someone, the more attractive they become to you because you’re seeing more than just that initial impression. You’re seeing how they behave, whether they’re kind or cruel, generous or selfish, warm or stand-offish. This makes a great difference when it comes to attraction; hot-but-an-a**hole loses appeal and mate-value incredibly quickly. But a guy who’s warm, comforting and supportive? That guy’s stock goes up. That’s somebody people would rather spend their time around. And with that time together… well, it’s amazing how that can inspire someone to see them in a new light.

Except your personality? It kinda sucks, my dude. I mean, I get it. You’re 18. That’s an age that’s gonna exhaust people because you have that combination of energy, free time and self-generated drama. But the way that you go about is going to turn people off, no matter how much your face changes. You’re complaining about your looks and your lack of love, but you’re immediately turning around and insisting that women who aren’t the hottest of the hot aren’t worth your time. As much as you are longing for love and acceptance and possibly someone to look beyond your appearance – and let’s not forget that you’re not the most reliable judge here – you’re being as cruel and judgemental as the women you imagine are rejecting you. You’re not willing to extend the compassion and caring to others that you wish people would extend to you. And while I’m not saying that you need to lower your standards, the way you go about expressing them tells women everything they need to know about you as a person.

You say that you could care less about a woman’s personality unless she’s a 9 or a 10. You’d be ashamed to be seen with a woman who’s “merely” average. Why would any woman, regardless of her beauty, want to date someone who’s that casually cruel? That’s the ugliness you should be concerning yourself with, not the shape of your face or the way that you smile. Like I said, this doesn’t mean that you need to lower your standards to “just barely above non-existent” or any such bullsh*t, but you do need to consider the vibe that you give off to others. If the only thing that you care about is superficial beauty, then why should anyone want to spend time with you? If you’re willing to dismiss people’s existence  – to see associating with them as shameful because they don’t pass the “You Must Be This Hot To Ride” test – then you’re ensuring that folks aren’t going to want to spend any time with you, regardless of whether you have an egg-shaped head or you wake up the next morning looking like Idris Elba.

But here’s the most important truth: you can change all of this. Like Ebenezer Scrooge pleading in his grave, you are not, in fact, out of time. You can take steps today that will change the trajectory of your life and help you become not just the man you want to be, but find the love and experience you’re looking for. But if you want to find love before you’re 25? Then you need to commit to making some changes. Not to your looks, but to your heart and your soul and your life.

Start with where you’re spending your time. Get the ever-loving f*ck off whatever boards you’re reading that’ve been dripping poison in your ear and encouraging you to slice up your self-esteem and spend some time around people who actually love and care about you. If your friends are the ones telling you to STFU because you’re a virgin? Then get a better class of friend, because those guys sound like a**holes. You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. So ask yourself: what kind of person do you want to be? One who has love to give, who supports and cares for others? Or who casually dismisses people for bullshit reasons? The people you surround yourself with, the places where you spend your time… these all directly affect who you are as a person. If you want to be a quality, high-value man, then you need to put some serious thought into where you invest your time and your friendship.

Next, get thee to a therapist. You’re drowning in self-loathing my dude and it’s poisoning everything about you. You need to spend some time talking about these feelings and these issues with an actual, honest-to-God mental and emotional health professional. One of the most important qualities to have in order to date is to be in good working order, emotionally and the fact is: you ain’t there. The sooner you start talking to a counselor or therapist, the sooner you can unpack these feels, dig into the source and learn how to let go of all that pain.

After you’ve spent time with a therapist and working on your mind, then you can start to work on your dating skills. And the only way you can do that is to go out into the field. Now, there are some best practices to follow; I’ve written literal books on the subject. But at the end of the day, there is no way to grind out those levels in social skills without actually using them. So you’re going to need to take risks, make mistakes, collect some scars and just put yourself out there. It’ll be hard. It’ll be uncomfortable. But at the end of the day, it will be worth it.

Things aren’t as bad as you think they are, HF. You’re not doomed by genetics or cursed by a twist of fate. You’re just young, with a bad attitude and a heart full of pain. The sooner you fix those, the sooner you’ll be in a good place to start finding the love you’re looking for.

Good luck.

Previously published here and reprinted with permission from the author.

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To Be a Man: Suvash from Nepal

It’s ok for me to feel like going against the grain. I feel that society establishes a lot of norms of what people should be, how they should look or how they should behave. “Going with the grain” would be what the normal man would do while shaving and looking clean etc for the workplace which sets this clean-cut image as “professional” or “presentable” overlooking what that individual is really like or how capable they might be. “Going against the grain” would be the opposite of this and just being comfortable with yourself and not adhering to the norms established by society. In order to progress, the world needs to get over these preconceived notions and just be inclusive of every individual living in it regardless of image, gender, religion, “social status” or beliefs.

To Be A Man is a portrait series challenging the concept of toxic masculinity

The rise of women’s movements such as the #MeToo campaign and increasing awareness of mental health issues specific to men has highlighted the prevalence of toxic masculinity all over the world.

Toxic masculinity refers to the socially constructed attitudes that describe the masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth. It restricts the kinds of emotions and characteristics that are socially acceptable for boys and men to express. Toxic masculinity has become the standard upon which a “real man” is defined but also how one’s masculinity can be challenged (The Good Men Project).

These qualities are socially imposed on men from early stages in life and our culture doesn’t always allow them to express inner struggles without judgment. Therefore, boys grow up with the pressure to embody what society believes is ‘normal’. That said, failure to embrace these ‘manly’ qualities often renders harsh consequences, not only for men themselves but those around them. For example, it may have a negative impact on their own mental health, possibly leading to depression, substance abuse, and suicide as well as aggressiveness, objectification, and violence towards not only women but other men as well, homophobic and transphobic sentiments and so on. 

This topic is no more relevant today than it has been in the past; the only difference is that now it is being discussed more openly. My intent with this photo series is not to create anti-male sentiments or attack masculinity but show that it’s so important to speak up and fight stigma. Men too face a great deal of pressure to measure up to expectations created by a system that has long catered towards patriarchy.

I by no means claim to be an expert on this subject. However, I wanted to create a diverse collective of men who believe it’s okay to possess and express the qualities and characteristics that they are told they shouldn’t. I hope that these ideas will spread and reach the men who are struggling to accept that things like emotional vulnerability and compassion are strengths and not weaknesses. I know many men are already acting as incredible role models and that should be celebrated. I believe men should hold each other accountable. It is the words and voices of men alone that will influence and encourage other young men to think about their actions and reject the toxic masculinity that they may be surrounded by. 

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Originally published on Jessica Amity.com. Reprinted with permission of the author.    

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Photo courtesy of the author.

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Learn the Origins of a Powerful new for in ‘Shadow Selves’

shadow selves, cloak and dagger, tv show, marvel, action, adventure, drama, season 2, review, freeform

Hear about the origins of a new villain in ‘Shadow Selves’

Last time on Cloak and Dagger, Tandy and Tyrone tried to work together to do some good for the city. They came up with a plan, but just when things seemed to be going good something went wrong. As they worked together with Brigid to solve a mystery they all bumped into someone that raised all kinds of questions for all of them. Well on ‘Shadow Selves’ we get to learn a bit about them. I was able to watch a screener of this episode and here is what I thought of it.

shadow selves, cloak and dagger, tv show, marvel, action, adventure, drama, season 2, review, freeform

(c) Freeform

You can read the premise for ‘Shadow Selves’ here:

After learning about a group of young girls who have gone missing, Tandy and Tyrone look to see if they can find out what has happened to them. As they get further into their investigation, they realize someone else is trying to rescue the girls too, but in her own vigilante justice type of way. Meanwhile, Mina may have discovered a side effect to the big Roxxon leak.

shadow selves, cloak and dagger, tv show, marvel, action, adventure, drama, season 2, review, freeform

(c) Freeform

Viewers get to see a new foe in action on ‘Shadow Selves’. This episode explains a bit about how they came to be, and what their plan is. We also get to see some of their origin story, and just how dangerous they cane be. As Tandy and Tyrone try to help out some of the missing girls, Tandy starts to wonder if they are going about it the wrong way. As this episode comes to a close this evil person ends up in a rather strange place. If you want to learn more about Cloak and Dagger click on this website.

shadow selves, cloak and dagger, tv show, marvel, action, adventure, drama, season 2, review, freeform

(c) Freeform

Cloak and Dagger ‘Shadow Selves’ airs tomorrow night at 8pm on Freeform. You can follow this show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Watching and Willing

  • Love overcomes everything and neutralizes everything that is unlike itself. –Ernest Holmes

 

  • Self-interest and self-concern are the focal points of the false. You can’t help surviving. The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death. -Nisargadatta

 

  • It is not the one who makes the mistake we should seek to destroy; it is the mistake itself that must be erased. No matter what the negations of yesterday may have been, the affirmations of today rise triumphant and transcendent over them. -Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind

 

  • Success is what’s happening right now, and it has no opposite. –Stephen Mitchell, 2nd Book of the Tao.

  • Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference. –Robert Frost

 

  • If we will only stop long enough to not do the next thing, to listen and watch and wait, the next thing will be born through us. –Thefatherconnection.com

 

  • Practice right conduct, learning, and teaching. -Taittiriya Upanishad

 

  • Forget I, me, mine. This is the simplest, most important practice. –Satchidananda

 

  • That’s why we’re here after all, to help others. –Carol Burnett, Actress

  • Affirmation: I am understanding loving

 

  • Mind-breath practice: Think one of the words below on the in-breath and out breath….. and then the next word …..repeat and continue until you feel calm and connection…..repeat during the day as often as you remember

 

……One…………………

 

…..Infinite…………….

 

..…Understanding…..

These quotes are shared by Robert Rannigan, LPC, to touch, inspire, and motivate moms and dads to reflect upon what is important in their lives and those of their spouses and children. The role of fathers has been slowly changing over the years. Dads are now expected to be more emotionally involved with their kids and–most of all–desire more emotional closeness with them. To do this, men have to establish a sense of safety, certainty, and knowing within their own internal environments. Through increased mindfulness and focus, they will then be able to create these very things for themselves, as well as for the families they love.

Grouped by a common theme, “Quotes for Parents” bring words of wisdom, almost daily, from great minds—current and old—into the lives of modern parents (and the rest of us) to nudge them (and us) ever so closer to the mindfulness and self-awareness we should all be practicing every single day.

These quotes are provided as encouragement to observe the power of words and to choose your words carefully. In the morning, choose one (or some of their impactful words) to meditate upon and guide you in a positive direction as you navigate the day’s challenges.

 

This post was originally published on Robert Rannigan’s Daily Quotes for Parents and is republished here with his permission.

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Photo credit: By anyaberkut (feature pic), scyther5 (group hands), LoveTheWind (helping others) @ iStock by Getty Images

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How Can You Support Someone with Depression When They Don’t Know What They Need?

The night before I entered a three-week partial hospitalization program for a major depressive episode, I invited two close friends over to my house. I explained the situation to them and asked them for their support. When they asked me how they could support me, I had no idea.  When one is in the thick of depression, it’s difficult to know what is needed and it’s certainly difficult to reach out for support.  Throughout my depressive episode, my wife had the very same question: “How can I help?” She wanted to support me, yet also didn’t know how.

Knowing how to support someone who is suffering from depression can be very challenging.  My goal for this post is to help provide ideas for those who are attempting to support someone with depression.  The support for people may look very different, particularly depending on the relationship one has with the person dealing with depression.  For that reason, I have separated my suggestions into three categories based upon the relationship; 1) Spouse or family member, 2) Close friend, or 3) Acquaintance. While there may be some overlap amongst the three categories, there are also some significant differences.

Spouse or Family Member:  When supporting a spouse or family member, it is incredibly important to practice patience. (Note that from this point on, when I use the word, “spouse”, it is to include “or family member”).  Your spouse will most likely seem quite different in many ways while depressed compared to when they are mentally healthy. He/she may seem sad or emotionless.  He/she may not be able to do simple tasks around the house that they had normally done. In my case, I found myself sitting on the couch,  resorting to my bedroom, or following my wife around the house not knowing what I should be doing.  Practicing patience, understanding, and being empathetic will go a long way.

Offer to join your spouse for some of their appointments. My wife joined me for several appointments with my psychologist, hoping to gain some insights into what was going on with me and to learn how she might be able to support me. In addition, my wife and sister joined me for at least one of my psychiatrist appointments, particularly when I knew I was going to need their support. My wife was also at my side while at the intake meeting for the partial hospitalization program that I entered. Having her with me was hugely beneficial. She supported me morally and emotionally, as well as providing the support team with accurate answers to the questions that we had to field. Being severely depressed impacted my cognition and memory, so her support was indispensable.

Gently “push” your spouse to get exercise. I remember one bitter cold evening, my wife suggested that I go for a walk around the block. It was highly invigorating (relative to the major depression). Fresh air and exercise are both beneficial in overcoming depression. It may be nice to offer to join the person for a walk.  Understand that exercising, or even the idea of exercising, may feel like a massive chore for someone who is depressed, so there is a fine line in how much to push this piece. Consider asking him/her to walk to the store for an errand, if it’s not too far.  Asking to support with some of the chores around the house may be another way to get your spouse off of the couch or out of the bed.

Ask if there is anything you can do to support your spouse. Simply asking shows that you care and opens the door to a conversation. Do not be offended if the person is not very conversational. Engaging in conversations can be very challenging when depressed.

Provide resources for your spouse. If he/she is not yet a part of one, seek out support groups for him/her. If they are not seeing a psychologist, help him/her seek on out. Ask your spouse if it would be alright if you asked your friends or family members for a referral to a psychologist.

Close Friend:  There are several ways to support a close friend who is going through a challenging time of depression.  The first thing is to make sure to have the conversation. If you are concerned that a friend may have depression, ask the question. Let him/her know that you are concerned and worried.  It is really easy to isolate oneself when dealing with depression.  There’s a good chance that your friend, particularly in the case of males, may be masking his/her depression and may not be the one to broach the topic. Ask the question.

Ask if there is anything that you could do to support him/her. Your friend may not have an answer, but there is a chance that they do know and are able to articulate this for you. It is well worth asking.  Ask if he/she has the resources to support in their recovery. If not, offering to find resources would be a great way to help.

Reach out to your friend. Ask if he/she would mind if you check-in with him/her weekly or so. Ask him/her what the best way to reach out would be. In many cases, simply sending a text once a week or so to ask how he/she is doing is enough. Perhaps they prefer a phone call or an email. In any case, many people who are dealing with depression tend to isolate themselves and avoid friends. It’s important to take the initiative to reach out to your struggling friend.

Invite your friend out.  Again, this is a great way to prevent a friend from remaining inside and isolating him/herself.  It is not wise to drink alcohol when depressed (as alcohol is a depressant), so consider inviting your friend out for coffee, breakfast, or a lunch. Perhaps you could invite your friend to a movie.  One to one would most likely be the best scenario for any of these outings, as people who are depressed often do not want to be with a large group of people.  Consider inviting your friend to join you in an outdoor activity or a walk. This would provide fresh air and a bit of exercise. If you know a hobby or something that your friend typically would enjoy doing, offer that suggestion. I was really able to enjoy myself with a friend who invited me down to the river on a brisk winter day to take some pictures, as he knew that we both enjoy photography. He had to twist my arm gently, but this was a really positive day for me in the midst of my depression.  You may also consider having your friend over to your house to watch a movie or a favorite TV show.

If your friend is married, consider checking in with his/her spouse to see if there is any support the family may need.  Many times, when someone is ill with cancer or other serious illnesses, friends and neighbors create a rotation for bringing over a meal for the family. This rarely happens for one suffering from a mental illness.

Acquaintance: Just as with a good friend, if you’re concerned that an acquaintance may be suffering from depression, it’s worth asking the question. Be sure to ask in private and to let him/her know that you are asking because you are concerned.

Ask if there is anything that you could do to support him/her. Ask if he/she needs some resources and, if possible, offer to seek out resources for him/her.

Ask if you could reach out once in a while to support him/her. As mentioned above, a friendly text message to check-in to see how the person is doing weekly or so may be very supportive.

Encourage him/her to reach out to other trusted and loved ones.  Sometimes people resist reaching out for support.  Encouraging and supporting one in doing so could be very helpful.

In all of the cases, it is important to remember that depression is an illness, just as cancer or any other serious disease is an illness. Understand that it is not the person’s fault for being depressed, just as it is not the fault of anyone who has battled cancer, or again, any other serious illness. The person most likely does not want to be depressed and did not ask for it. He or she is not lazy, but ill.  Educate yourself on depression so that you can have a better understanding of what a person with depression may be experiencing.  Empathy and patience will go a long way! Be compassionate.  Offer support.

(Note: I feel obligated to mention that if you feel that someone is actually considering suicide, ask them the question directly. There is a false assumption held by some people that mentioning suicide will give the person an idea that they never had. This is not the case and has been shown by research. Asking the question will open up this dialogue that the person may never be able to discuss if not asked. If they actually have a plan, seek resources with the person immediately and call 911, if necessary.)

(Another Note: As always, comments to this post, or any of my other posts, are highly encouraged and would be greatly appreciated)

This post was previously published on http://bit.ly/2P6BPiI and is republished here with permission from the author.


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Never Never Never Give Up

If you’ve had a chance to read some of my articles before you’ll know that I’m a productivity consultant who has lived in Japan for over 20 years. You’ll also know that I’m married to an amazing woman and have one incredible son.

If there’s one thing I love more than my work and helping people and companies, it’s my family. Being a parent is a special joy. Seeing your own child grow is amazing. Every parent knows what I’m talking about. But what I didn’t expect was how much my son would teach me about life and success.

Two weeks ago, my son attended his second Junior Olympics for swimming. Both times he joined as part of the freestyle team, but this time he also qualified for 50m individual freestyle.

His team was ranked 6th in the country, and in the preliminaries, they came in 6th. They were in with an outside chance of taking home a medal, but the competition was fierce. I ran into my son after his race and asked him how he felt and he said he felt good. As we finished up our little chat, I said, “So do you think you your chances are in the finals?” He said, “I’ll do my best to bring home a medal.”

As the first swimmer hit the water in the finals, I really believed they could do it, but when he touched the wall, I looked up to the scoreboard and saw they were in 8th. Bye, bye medal.

My son was next and he swam like he was possessed, moving them up to 5th. The third swimmer managed to move them into 4th. One swimmer left.

After the final turn, it was clear one team was slightly ahead of the pack, but the fight for silver and bronze was going to come down to the wire. As my son’s teammate touched the wall everyone looked up to the scoreboard for the official time.

1:59.35.

They had done it. They beat out the 4th place team by 0.1 seconds. Truly a team effort with three of the four members posting their best times. It seems my son has a flair for the dramatic. Last summer his team qualified by .11. This time around he qualified for individual 50m by .04. And this time around, they came from dead last to third.

The one thing I hear a lot about today is how “unfair” things are.

When it comes to sports, especially swimming, there’s nowhere to hide. Regardless of how well you do, especially in swimming, sometimes you lose.

There will always be people who are faster, stronger, more agile, or more intelligent than you. But often what separates the best from the rest isn’t their god given talent, it’s perseverance.

Swimmers spend years perfecting their form. Tennis players hit thousands and thousands of forehands to perfect it is. Basketball players practice passes, lay-ups and jump shots till the cows come home. No matter what the sport, to play at an elite level, it’s hard work. What’s more, it’s boring.

I do believe that in life, whether it’s in the boardroom or in the swimming pool, hard work pays off. It’s not about how much God-given talent you have, in the end, it’s what you do with it that matters.

We all start off at different starting points in life but if you’ve had everything handed to you on a silver spoon, then you won’t know what it means to struggle to achieve success.

Look around. The Bill Gates and the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world weren’t famous before they created their companies. They earned it.

My son isn’t the number one ranked swimmer in the country, nor do I want him to be. I want him to learn the joys of success and the pain of defeat. Both contain powerful lessons.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my son, it’s to never, never, never give up.

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Man Alive! Why Men in Positions of Power are Prone to Erectile Dysfunction

If you’ve ever experienced Erectile dysfunction I imagine you’ve had moments of feeling embarrassed, defeated or even hopeless. 

And with the conditioning boys and men get to “suck it up” and “deal with it” on your own, it can be something you try to handle alone, rather than reaching out for support.

You may have tried using pills to solve your problem, but found they don’t work or the side-effects are nearly as bad your original struggle, or there’s still some left-over emotional or relational baggage to sort through.

Working with men of all ages I’ve seen many men in mid-life go through physical and emotional changes that are confusing. 

What turned you on when you were young is NOT the same as what turns you on in mid or later life.

Men tend to actually need MORE connection and emotional safety during sex in mid and later life than when they’re young.

I am thrilled to bring you a Man Alive podcast conversation today with an amazing woman Shari James (yes we have almost the same name!). Shari is a registered nurse and tantra practitioner who has created a system to support men with ED in a natural way.

In this conversation we discussed:

  • Why ED is especially common for men in positions of power or great responsibility
  • The 5 branches of Shari’s sexual system to create “an erection resurrection”
  • How men can release experiences from their youth that catch up with them (similar to credit card debt)
  • What happens to men between the ages of 38 and 42 that can create challenges with sex and intimacy
  • The common mistake men make with their circulatory systems that keep it from supporting your sex life

 

I love joining forces with another woman who loves men and wants to support you!

Even men at the top of their game find themselves wanting more from life. Man Alive is the resource for men who want more meaning, a bigger impact, unshakable confidence, a hotter sex life, more money, deeper love, solid friendships or a powerful legacy.



A version of this post was originally posted on ShanaJamesCoaching.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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How to Smash Your Ambitious Goal in 30 Days

You can do incredible things in 30 days. Many of us only do a fraction of what is possible because of our thinking, our planning, and the obstacles that throw us off course. But what if you could plan for all that?

Last month, I challenged myself to accomplish an ambitious goal in 30 days. Without any idea how I’d do it, I challenged myself to make an extra $1,000 in one month. I used 6 simple steps to get me to my goal. The result? I didn’t just hit it, I smashed it. I made more than $1,500 in 30 days, and blew my own mind.

These are the exact steps I used to do it. Use them for any goal you want to achieve this month:

1. Pick your goal

Make it something that will require you to do and is achievable in 30 days. Push yourself. Be sure it’s concrete and measurable. How will you know that you’ve achieved your goal? Decide on the exact date and time you will have the goal accomplished for. Write down your goal and the date you’ll have it completed by, and keep it somewhere you’ll see it every day.

Example goal:

30 days from now at 11:59pm, I will have made an additional $1,000 for the month. I will know I’ve achieved my goal because I will have an extra $1,000 in my bank account.

2. Decide how you’re going to think about this goal ahead of time

Our thoughts are what create our feelings. In order for you to feel confident, capable or whatever emotion you want to generate to drive you forward, you will need to think the thoughts that get you into this mindset – again and again. Choose the emotion you want to feel while working towards this goal, then write out 5 thoughts that you will practice every day that can create that feeling for you. How you feel while you’re working towards this goal will ultimately determine what actions you take, and what result you’ll create.

Example thoughts:

Feeling: Confident

  • I’m going to smash this goal.
  • It’s easy to make an extra $1,000 a month.
  • $1,000 extra dollars is absolutely achievable for me this month.
  • I won’t quit until I reach this goal.
  • I am fully capable of making an extra $1,000 this month.

3. Write out every single thing you need to do to get to your goal

Make a list of everything that you must do in order to get to your goal. Include absolutely everything. You’re planning what needs to be done, in detail, ahead of time. This then becomes your road map to follow.

Example list of to dos:

  • Reach out to Temp Agencies for temporary work.
  • Create a dog-walking profile online.
  • Search one-time jobs available on Kijiji.

4. Write out all of the obstacles that could block you from your goal

For any goal worth achieving, there are going to be obstacles. They’re what’s in between you and your goal right now. Consider every possible obstacle that could keep you from reaching your goal this month. This may seem tedious and unnecessary, but a huge reason we don’t reach our goals is because we don’t anticipate the challenges that will arise as we’re following our road map. Taking time now will save an exorbitant amount of time when the obstacle inevitably shows up.

Examples of obstacles:

  • I will have limited hours to do extra work.
  • People do not know me yet and may not trust me with their pet.
  • People may not pay me for the work I do for them.

5. Come up with a strategy for each obstacle

Decide on an actionable strategy you will take to combat each obstacle. When the obstacle arises, you’ll be ready, knowing exactly the action you need to take to overcome it. You won’t want to do this. You’ll want to just roll with the punches, but the punches cause so many of us to quit. Plan your solutions ahead of time so you won’t get pushed off course when the problems arise. You’ll already have the answers.

Example strategies for obstacles:

  • I will handle limited time by managing my time carefully, working over my lunch hours, and on evenings and weekends.
  • I will handle people not knowing and trusting me yet by introducing myself and being transparent and genuine in our interactions. I will also connect with people who do know me and people that they know.
  • I will handle people not paying me by having a concrete discussion ahead of time, and if possible, receive payment before the work.

6. Plug your To Do list in to your calendar and commit to it no matter what

Don’t skip this step! Plug all of your action items into your calendar for the entire month. By plugging each action you need to take into your calendar, you relieve so much pressure from yourself. You won’t be forced to make so many decisions each day, you’ll simply have to honor your calendar. Your brain will not need to make choices – which can drain us — leaving less room for it to decide whether it does or does not feel like taking action. It won’t matter how you feel when the day comes, since you’ve already planned your day’s To Do list, and you’re committed to completing it no matter what.

By doing each of these steps, you’ve zeroed in on a specific goal and are fueling yourself to follow through with it by generating the exact feeling that will help you get there. You now have a clear, actionable road map to follow, with the precise tasks you need to complete each day. You’ve considered the obstacles that will arise on your way to achieving your goal, and have calculated strategies to overcome each of them. It’s all plugged in to your calendar, and just needs to be followed. It’s as good as done.

What goal will you smash in the next 30 days?

source https://addicted2success.com/success-advice/how-to-smash-your-ambitious-goal-in-30-days/

Hooky Day and I’m Gone

TASK #14

I had a ringing sensation in my ears. And my left eye was twitching. And then there was this pain in my lower back. I was at my desk and no one happened to be standing behind me, so I googled tinnitus, and it explained what it was, which is exactly what I had–a ringing sensation
in my ears, and it said that one could be caused by three things: stress, too much caffeine, and alcohol.

I am a salesman. I swim in stress. I drink coffee like I have stock in Starbucks, and I imbibe. Mainly beer, and not IPA beer, because I don’t care to talk about beer like it’s wine. Occasionally I drink hard alcohol, and I’ve been known to drink both in the same evening,
though my wife takes umbrage when I do, because the last time I mixed alcohols I peed in our closet, which she did not find amusing. Nor did I, frankly, because I peed on my dress shoes.

The eye twitch went away after a few minutes, and the pain in my lower back went away when I got in the car to go home. I always feel a lot better when I’m in my car driving home.

That night I sat in the backyard on the picnic bench. It was cold but not too bad, and I sat and thought about work, and how it was giving me twitches, back pain and a ringing in my ear.

I decided I needed to play hooky. My wife calls it a “personal health day” when she ditches work, but I prefer playing hooky.

I called my boss and said that I was sick and I was going to stay home and sleep it off. He didn’t ask what kind of sick I was, but I had practiced a terrific rasp and it sounded pretty good.

My wife just shook her head disdainfully, then left for work. I went to the mall and saw a movie, then went to a park and just sat and looked at the sky. Then I had an idea. I went to the hardware store and bought some different tape–black electric tape, blue edging tape, yellow packing tape, then drove over to this parking sign that sits on a street that I drive each day to and from work, and I wrapped the tape all up and down the sign pole (picture below).

 

Now I see it every day when I go to work and drive home, and it makes me feel good.

TASK:

Play hooky. And write about your day.

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Sensitive People Are the Emotional Barometers of the World

We are living in a twilight zone. Every day new headlines shout the latest outrage as if it’s perfectly normal. Things that would have us all up in arms and reaching for the bottle are now shrugged off as just another day of madness.

Think about it:

  • Children separated from their parents as a deterrent to migrants and asylum seekers
  • People described as animals by a country’s ‘leader’
  • France facing what seems like a civil war
  • The UK lost in the utter madness and corruption of Brexit
  • Presidents who have more criminal charges against them than civilians
  • Sudanese protesters being defended by the army against government militia
  • North Korean and Russian leaders masterfully manipulating the world stage
  • Schools and places of worship preparing for the next mass shooting
  • Brunei implementing death by stoning for LGBT human beings
  • Texas debating whether having an abortion should mean the death penalty
  • Multi-Billionaires who already have obscene wealth resisting tax reform
  • US/Saudi Journalist hacked to death in a state-sanctioned execution
  • #MeToo movement formed due to ongoing sexual abuse at the highest levels of power

The sad part is I could go on and on.

Nothing is ever all bad, for this madness has shone a spotlight on our world. It has mobilised real people to take part in creating real solutions. Young people are becoming vanguards for change. Women, people of colour and LGBT citizens are running for office in ever-increasing numbers.

Citizens around the globe are fighting against abuse and corruption. Voter reform and greater voter engagement are taking place. These positives need to be noted alongside the madness.

Yet we are sensitive beings. Our psyches are sensitive even if it appears that we are becoming outwardly desensitised. We are experiencing psychological trauma, and our rational minds are trying their best to explain these things away so that we can continue to function.

Naturally intuitive people are feeling it all.

Those who are naturally intuitive and who actively pick up other’s feelings and emotions are feeling bombarded and overwhelmed. They sense even the most pragmatic (and dogmatic) person’s real emotions. Experiencing the deep sadness and rationalising of abuse by the most obtuse is part of their makeup. They feel the cult-like followers’ confusion and fear.

Naturally intuitive people pick up the deep insecurities hidden behind the brazenness of those actively engaging in and justifying corruption. They feel the numbness and feelings of overwhelm of the ordinary citizen who wonders what they can do and how they can help those in the most pain.

They also sense the anger and rage hiding behind greater and greater consumption of stuff and a growing obsession with social media. The craziness of news channels and newspapers spouting their particular party line while actively benefiting financially from the madness of each news cycle is absorbed and acknowledged.

So this is a shout out to all those who can’t avoid the emotions that others aren’t willing to openly feel. This is an acknowledgement for all those who are beginning to question their sanity. Yes, you are sane.

Yes, global systems of government are broken, and their constitutions need reform. These systems were not designed to handle this level of abuse, manipulation and corruption. Change must come because things cannot stay the same.

We are both the change and the co-creators of the madness.

We are all a part of that change, and we all helped to create the madness. This alone tells us that we are powerful and we will see a new earth arise. A world that is more compassionate and where citizens educate themselves independently. Taking ownership of their previous apathy and justifications for why so much corruption, prejudice and abuse existed in the first place..

And life will cycle as it does. Certain types of humans will try to take us back to extremism in all its forms, but next time there will be no excuses. The mechanisms of corruption and abuse of power are now crystal clear, and there can be no excuses for any of us to allow those choices in the future.

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from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2Z22CkF