Advice for Young Men: Dating sites and Porn are causing you a lot of pain

This isn’t a prohibition. I don’t want you to stop using dating sites, or stop watching porn, but I want you to start doing is to be mindful of how the usage of them effects your real life relationships.

One of the problems of the current century is that dating sites fill the user’s head with ideas of massive abundance. Whereas men of ages past were limited by geographic location, dating sites allow you to expand your reach further and further.

This might be seen as over all good, but there is a paradox in this choice, in his book the paradox of choice Barry Schwartz, talks about how too much choice leads to dissatisfaction.

To summarize an amazing read, the basic premise is as follows, if you have too many choices, even if you get the optimal choice, you will be dissatisfied with the results. Meaning you aren’t going to be as happy with that girl you met online as if you met her in the day to day workings of your life.

The same goes for porn, and not just hardcore pornography, I am talking about the Hundreds of amateur pornographic websites that promote themselves online. What most men, or most people do not realize is that the bodies being presented online represent only a small percentage of real people. What this means is, that unless you consciously attempt to correct for it you will always be comparing the women you date to the perfect, make up clad, photo shopped, pictures you see online.

And that my young friends is where mindful use of these tools comes in. You have to be aware of the fantasy, and the underlying currents in your mind that seek to find satisfaction. Put aside and work through your perfectionist impulse, and find someone who makes you happy, even if he or she doesn’t stack up to what you see online…because no one can.

I know…I know…easier said than done. But were working on it together.

There is no End Point

This is your life.

I know, I know, this is some Gary Vee, motivational stuff, but I don’t share his grinder philosophy, I am not saying this to motivate or move you.

I am saying this because this is reality.

I spent my life sweeping the floor hoping that it would never get dusty, but entropy happens. Energy has to be spent to reverse it, and ya know that’s ok.

The sooner you make peace with this the more you can just enjoy the process.

That sounds simple, but it isn’t, because here is the secret, you are never done.

It’s just change. All of it is change, and finishing is only temporary. That means that trying to hold onto anything can only cause pain.

So revel in your human mistakes, they will pass. Revel in your victories, they will fade, and Revel in your life, it will end. But not really. Something somewhere is always changing.

The key is to stop looking for the end point, but even in this you will fail, and that is ok. The key is to keep on keeping on.

Simpler typed than done.

Advice For Young Men: Compassion is not Weakness

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Compassion is not weakness, even though we culturally associate it with weakness.

The reason is that so much of compassion is inauthentic, and comes from a place of compulsion.

Many people are not compassionate because they choose to be compassionate, but instead they feel they must be compassionate.

Who do they this debt to? If you nailed them down and asked them to explain who they were preforming for they’d shrug. The collective default is to be compassionate, but many have never consciously chosen to be compassionate, and calculated what they are giving up .

Now there are some who will ague this is not the true spirit of compassion. That compassion should be selfless and thoughtless, but that in and of itself seems worthless.

Sacrifice is not worth anything if it is compulsive.

True compassion is the strength to think about a situation, and see the benefit in being unkind to others, and there is a benefit if you are willing to pay the cost, noting that cost, and then deciding to be compassionate anyhow.

When you choose to be compassionate not because you feel you must, but because you feel you want to, you are no longer a slave to culture, and instead are kind from a position of strength. Thus kindness stops being compulsory weakness, but instead becomes conscious strength.

Advice for Young Men: Handing away control

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The “nice guy” is a cultural staple. Most women I know have been on the receiving end of this phenomena, where a man (or woman, though the vast majority of these people are men), is at first overwhelmingly nice to a person only to turn upon them once it is established that the attractions they feel are one-sided.


Most men in this position respond in anger and embarrassment. Some demand recompense, and so on.


There are many problems with this, so let’s break them down.
Starting with the core of it: They are handing away control of their well being to another human. This made doubly bad when you consider that the person who is being handed this power probably didn’t want it. Societal politeness might force them to play along for a while, but there comes a time when the person will begin to resent having to be in charge of someone else’s emotional well being.


Thus they reject the advances of the “nice guy” in effect they are handing back the reigns of control to him. He, having given up agency over himself, responds to this perfectly normal situation as if he’s been judged harshly and unfairly. He responds with what he thinks is righteous anger. When his anger is rebutted his shame feeds this anger, and so a toxic feedback loop is formed.


The average “nice guy” cannot see that the pain he’s feeling is self-imposed. He’s externalized his happiness unto an object, (most nice guys see women as objects) and when the object fails to meet his high expectations, he feels slighted. Thus he avoids self-reflection and growth.


Dating, careers, and achievements are the main focus on many a human’s life, and these are exceptionally important to a healthy life, but so many people hand away their ability to be happy to others who never asked for it.
The nice guy fails to see that attraction is frankly not that romantic, though romance is important to the act of dating, the spark of attraction is largely subconscious. A smell, a face shape, how they smile or talk, these things trigger attraction, and cannot be influenced really.


More importantly, he pins his self-esteem on some external measure, and assumes, often without merit or evidence, that he’ll be successful, so when he is not he cannot tolerate the tension between what he thought the world would be like and what it is like.


So what can be done?


The first step begins with removing your worth from the external world. This isn’t easy. There are all kinds of social games we have to play to be successful, but with enough training, you begin to be able to hold in your head that the social and societal games are just that games.
When you find yourself in a moment that you find yourself upset, if you can, and it will take practice, try and take a breath, but do not try and calm down, but instead take the role of an observer. Observe where you’ve put the locus of judgment. Is it external? Are you expecting the world to give you something? What is going on here?


With time you will be able to see the partners that led to the externalization and begin making conscious choices.

Who are you preforming to?

It’s all a game

As I continue my mindfulness practice, I’ve been able to put space between my thoughts and myself.

As I observe the thoughts my mind spontaneously generates, I have taken to gently confronting them with reality. Recently, my father told me he’s never judged me, and for the first time I believed him.

For much of my life, I found myself living in the shadow of my father, making him the villain of my life, and now looking back, I can see I was deeply wrong.

In reality I was preforming to no one. I wanted a villain because it gave me an excuse not to try. I learned to be helpless, and I learned to ignore how my father loved me because he did not love me in the particular way I wanted him to.

My perfectionist desires, so branded into my mind ensured I’d never be content with what is.

As I find myself accepting what is, I am not happier, but I am sure as hell better able to deal with the world.

The sucky things still suck, but I don’t expect them not to suck, and that makes them suck for a shorter amount of time.

As I look at how I think now, I catch myself asking, “who are you preforming to? Who are you posturing for? No one can see your thoughts but you?”

The hypercritical part of my brain automatically generates these negative thoughts. I can see where it learned these behaviors, the people who imparted this negativity, but I see now, I let them.

This is not to say that I am at fault. No the fault lies in those people who were cruel to me, but I think the part of me that is responsible is the current version of me.

The child in me had no idea of how to resist or move around the wills of other people, and allowed the strongest to be imposed. That was not his fault, he was after all a child.

However, as an adult, we can choose. We can go back to the past events and forgive everyone involved. We can see those people who visited cruelty upon us were victims in their own way, and we can forgive our younger self for not resisting them.

Most importantly, we can observe the thoughts and learned behaviors with a mindfull eye, and question them.

“Am I really a loser? or was I a child with a learning disability that limited his ability to gauge social ques?”

“Am I a failure?” Or are my standards set without limits or regards to my abilities?

Do my thoughts align with the most objective reality I can grapple with?

Nonetheless, I know I am not done, but in reality, nothing ever is.

Social Media Is Mental Junkfood

As I’ve referenced before, algorithms keep us unhappy. I am guilty of this as much as anyone.

The never ending cascade of worm filled toffee apple of reddit is my go to. It’s a carefully calibrated algorithm that enrages me with news of the tragedies of the world, mixed with the most beautiful scenery, food, women and inventions.

It is a beautiful lie.

All social media is at it’s best an incomplete picture of the world, and reddit is no different.

As such, it begins to erode our view of our own life if we let it. I find myself viewing people, food and situations through the lens of comparison, which is not fair to anyone, especially not myself.

Reality is dirty, dusty and uncurated, and more and more I am trying to live in that world.

Attention is Power

Distraction is a powerful tool. Love him or hate him, whenever I see the president speaking in the news, I begin to sift through the news links on page 2.

Usually, congress, or some similar organization slips an unpopular piece of legislation under the noses of the United States’ people in plain sight.

It’s not so much a conspiracy as a tactic that taps into the central nerve of the current century. Our access to information is nearly infinite but our capacity to pay attention is hopelessly limited.

With the internet information’s power hollowed to a shell, the smartphone the last nail in the coffin. Few need a degree in English now that you have access to the opinions of the greatest literary minds’ on demand.

However, with this openness of information came the algorithmic dystopia. A constant nozzle of putrid bile, the worst of humanity poured daily into our minds, not our of malice, but instead out of capitalistic short sighted greed. Whatever the reason, man sits at the font of the whole of human tragedy, and sips from that poison cup, meeting it with near bottomless yet impotent rage.

Yet, it need not be this way.

The solution is simple, yet exceptionally difficult to achieve. Each wo/man must choose actively what they pay attention to.

It is not that the tragedy of the word are not worth paying attention to, but it is instead a humble detonation. “i am small. I can maybe save myself, and maybe I can make the world not a worse place to be. Saving others, that is truly an extraordinary feat.”

Many consider this defeatist, and I admire them for that, their hope and determination is admirable, but I think we do not honor the wo/man who simply does not make things worse, quite enough. The one who pays attention to what he can control, and directs his energy not at the masturbatory failures of the world but the failures of his personal world.

S/he is the one who votes in all the local elections, and volunteers where they live, donates what s/he can, and simply works to make their corner of the world a little better each day.

Some days you can only save one person, and it’s OK if that one person is you.

We Earn our Leaders

It is no secret that the United States, my preferred nomenclature for the country so often regarded as America, is in limbo of sorts.

Love him or hate him, the president of the USA ‘s actions are ineffectual for the most part. At the beginning of the pandemic he denied how serious it was.

This is not a political statement, though I am sure people will make it one. I can understand from a historical and personal perspective why many of his supporters chose him.

The current US President is precisely why Plato hated democracy.

However, I do not think, as ineffectual he can be he’s the problem.

We’ve not changed in 20,000 years always demanding leadership and sacrifice but not demanding it of ourselves.

We’ve lied to one another. We’ve acted against our best interests. We’ve earned our leaders.

We allowed our merchant class to export our jobs, because we feared what unions might inspire. We allowed our politicians to take money from special interests because we’ve swallowed the lie that the government is too corrupt to distribute funds to campaigns.

Each freedom stripped away did so in the face of great fear, and like all fears each time we did nothing to challenge it, each time we ran from it, it grew stronger and demanded more.

In the years of the Obama Administration we grew complacent. We did not demand accountability for things he’d done, we assumed racism was fading, we assumed people were simply going to do the right thing, that the historical forces were now one their way to permanent utopian levels.

We gave up the good, slow, habitual work that led to the first black president, and in that void others, powered by fear, hate and poverty elected a man unfit to lead.

The current state of the united states is on all of our heads. We all have work to do. We will always have work to do. That is the nature of the universe.

Mindfulness as a way out

Most people misunderstand mindfulness.

In most people’s mind meditation is a check-mark on the to-do list.

the most common refrain, and the refrain i used as a shield from the terror of mindfulness, and it is terrifying, is that “i cannot concentrate.”

this is because the modern mindset is one lived in the shadow of the ego. The internet in all it’s fantastical power has done much to help us, but spiritually it drains us.

Each day it unveils another horror perpetuated by man on man. It is easy to become disheveled and depressed at the sheer number of horrors. Not only that the various social media platforms program themselves to feed a steady serving of this bad news to us, as our minds are naturally problem solvers.

The problem with that is of course that these problems are nuanced, layered and complex. They require systemic solutions that will take years, and in the mean time we are ultimately powerless.

But the actual issue, is of course the modern human rarely pulls himself out of this world of symbols.

To Paraphrase Milton ” the mind is a place unto itself, it can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven.”

People fundamentally in this world of horrors, to-do lists and constant movement lose sight of the true goal of mediation.

Meditation is practice in waking up, over and over, each day knowing that it will never be the last time until we live this mortal coil. Mediation, is trying to stir yourself awake enough times so that at the end of your life you can look back at it and think yes I lived.

Mediation is a practice.

The best metaphor I heard about meditation was this ” meditation is like sweeping a floor. One does not sweep a floor once, and think there it is done, I shall never have to sweep the floor again. Meditation is the acceptance that though the floor is clean temporarily it will need to be swept again.”