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How to Improve Your Life? – Take Care of Your Surroundings

How to Improve Your Life? – Take Care of Your Surroundings

Stability has to come before progress. You can’t get progress if you’re constantly arguing in your relationships, feeling not in control of your finances, not budgeting out your expenses, having credit card bill and etc.

The biggest progress I made in my life came from getting the basics handled. I learned this the hard way. When I was having constant arguments with my parents when I was a teenager, my academics suffered. In the business world, I could focus on projects when had no problems with client payments. When a client wouldn’t pay on time, I was frustrated when asking for payment, and that affected my work.

So, if you’re looking to better your relationships with girls, or just about any pursuit in life general, there needs to stability in your immediate surroundings. Safety in relationships and surroundings gives you stability to take risks in other areas of your life. This includes a safe place to stay, financial stability, and financial cushion if you’re planning on leaving your job and being an entrepreneur.

Your Surroundings 

Firstly, do you have a safe place to sleep at night? You can’t be homeless and attempting to hit the clubs trying to pick up girls. It just doesn’t work that way, at least for the majority of us.

When I was in New York, I rented out a shit-y Airbnb apartment. Even that, I wasn’t half as motivated to go out to meet girls. I knew I needed to get my finances right before I could enjoy my travels.

I know some guys getting into this have toxic family relationships. I know I have. I used to fight with my parents all the time. They would subtle threatened to kick me out of the house, stating that after all, it was their house. It wasn’t a safe environment for me the better myself.

If you’re in a un-safe place, then move out. It’ll do you wonders.

Safety in Your Relationships

There’s a study done by Harvard that says that relationships contribute the biggest part of happiness to our lives.

You can’t have progress without stability in the relationships around you. This means: friends that show up for social events that you had planned, no drama queens or kings in your romantic and personal relationships, friends that don’t shit on you for your endeavours… you get my point.

I’m highly careful of the people I let into my day to day life.

One of the litmus tests I use is to observe their reactions when I talk about ambition and growth. How does the person sitting in front of me react to it? Will they feel threatened? Do they subtlety roll their eyes or do they want to know more about why or how you had those ambitions?

I couldn’t find stability in my relationships at one point in my life. Over the last year, I was feeling constantly stressed out. I had subconsciously allowed crappy relationships and people into my life. The people around me had poor relationship patterns. You know, those that show up when they got nothing going on in their lives, and disappear when they’ve got a partner. It made me feel, undervalued. Not surprisingly, they also became my biggest critics.

“Look at Marcus, he’s being all superficial again, going out to clubs.”

Sure buddy.

The old cliché of the closest people being you your biggest critics when you do something different stands true.

I’m not going to bore you with the age old advice of you being who you surround yourself with, however, I am going show you the scientific research behind the peer group effect.

You become who you surround yourself with.

The Tripod of Stability

I came across a concept introduced by Ramit Sethi, one of the best personal finance and behavioural change writers on the internet. He introduced the idea: the tripod of stability, which I felt made a lot of sense.

How to Improve Your Life?

The fundamentals are a safe place to sleep and basic nutrition. Like I’ve mentioned, you can’t be attempting to get good at your relationships, run a business if you’re eating poorly, having arguments with family and friends, having migraines or you don’t have a bed to sleep.

Secondly, you’ll need to straighten out your own psychology. This means setting boundaries, ironing out your values. This will generate genuine self esteem amongst your relationships. You can’t let guilt or shame run your life.

Thirdly, you’ll need to generate true self esteem. Self esteem isn’t about getting the swankiest job or getting straight A for your degree. True self esteem is the ability to make judgment and adjust accordingly regardless the circumstances in your life.

  • When was the last time you said no a friend asked you out to an event you didn’t want to go?
  • When was the last time you re-arranged your schedule just to go out with a girl?
  • When was the last time you turned down a money making opportunity because it didn’t fit in your larger goals?

Once you got your psychology straightened out. Now, you’re ready to tackle the finer details of starting a conversation with a stranger, approaching girls, starting a business and etc.

Getting Mentors

If you want to get somewhere, you’ll need mentors in your life. Getting mentors was an idea I rejected for years and years. I’m a little rebellious and have a poor track record with dealing with authority. I preferred doing and learning everything myself. I was also the annoying student that always wants to outdo my mentor, instead of actually listening to him.

I always preferred creating my own learning and training philosophies, instead of sticking to the routine. It worked out for me some times, and some times it didn’t.

However, there’s a reason why education systems and Universities exist, you’ll need to learn from someone else. Whether be it in person, online or books. You can’t do or learn everything by yourself. Billionaires Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet are voracious readers in their day to day life, they are constantly learning, despite being extremely successful individuals in their own rights.

It’s also crucial to pick the right mentors.

One of the best mentors I had in my life was Mark Manson. His ideas and philosophies towards dating and relationships have paid off dividends in my life. The worst mentors, on the other hand, led me to approach digital marketing in an unethical and sale-sly way. That alone cost me over thousands of hours and dollars.

There are going to be good mentors and wrong mentors. Your values are going to be largely determined by the person you learn from, as with the people you spend time around, and the environment you create for yourself and put yourself into.

Handling Critics

Change is hard. When I first introduced the book: Models to a good friend 6 years a go. He scoffed at the idea of attracting girls through honesty. Needless to say, we’re no longer speaking friends today. This was a friend I grew up with and visit his family for weekly dinner. It was painful to lose a friend like that. It hurts. But that’s life.

You’re going to face criticism when you change something about yourself. You’re going to face resistance from people around you. 

Over the years, one thing I figured is that you’re going to have people criticize you no matter what you do in your life. If you cured cancer, some asshole is going to say: why didn’t you cure aids instead? If you started a business helping others in their relationships, someone else is going to say: you should be spending more time on charity.

I’ve heard people called me insensitive, selfish, immature, misogynistic and many uglier things.

I used to (and still) get a little depressed when others called me these things. Hence, I had to learn how to handle criticism. I ask myself: Is there any evidence or validity in their criticisms? Can they present those arguments to me in a non judgmental or aggressive manner?

You know what’s the funny thing? Some of the critics who called me ugly things on Facebook weren’t even regular people in my life. How can someone pass judgment on my character, when he or she has not seen me in person for years? Furthermore, most of the time, there’s no validity nor evidence to their criticism.

Well, people are assholes on the internet. Like the old cliché goes: haters are going to hate.

Creating the Environment Required for Your Success

When I studied in the States, I had my own place, I ate consistently at the school canteen and I didn’t have annoying parents intruding into my personal space.

I also had the freedom to choose the identity I wanted to portray. I wasn’t the academic failure anymore. I was free to be smart once again. I wasn’t the boy who pissed off his parents and caused trouble for his teachers. I was free to be a student again. I was also studying in the top public University in the States. There were no rebellious students, no one to party with on the weekends. No one to fool around with. Just me, the library, and my school notes. I was also shit scared of wasting a thousand dollars invested in the summer program.

Needless to say, I did well.

When I came to Singapore, everything quickly fell back to zero. I started underperforming, I couldn’t wake up on time, my bad dietary habits came back, I started feeling restless and moody. I couldn’t focus on work and read a book seemed difficult all over again.

I was curious. I needed to know the Science behind it. How does our external environment play a role in determining one’s success?

Well, it turns out that my gut feeling was right. Our environment does play a huge role in determining our habits, hence, determining our success. Humans are more reliant on our environmental cues than you think.

If you aren’t in safe place, have a couple of handy relationships and consuming food that doesn’t kill you, you’re probably not in the right environment for growth.

Finally, you’ll need to create your own environment for success. This can come in the form of investing in a coach to keep you accountable. This can be passing your friend $100 before the start of the night and telling him that he gets to keep it if you don’t approach 10 girls when you’re at the club. This can be investing up to 10s of thousands of dollars into your own entrepreneurial education, so much so that failure is NOT an option.

The biggest growth periods in my life were because I was shit scared of failing. I had no way out but to succeed.

Bibliography

Sethi, R. (n.d.). Tripod of Stability. Retrieved from I Will Teach You to be Rich: https://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/the-tripod-of-stability/

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Peer Group. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_group

Ciotti, G. (n.d.). Want to Change Your Habits? Change Your Environment. Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/habits-not-hacks/201408/want-change-your-habits-change-your-environment

 

 

 

Acceptance Commitment Therapy Techniques

5 Psychological Researched Techniques To Overcome Anxiety

I started reading up on acceptance commitment therapy as I that found some of its techniques useful towards my own life.

Acceptance Commitment Therapy – 5 Helpful Techniques

Acceptance commitment therapy is different from cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy is the artform of challenging your thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Both practices are empirically supported with scientific research behind it. They aren’t the run of the mill fluffy self help practices or techniques.

Recently, I found out that techniques that are based on acceptance commitment therapy are more helpful for my own personal emotional well-being.

As an entrepreneur, I’m constantly weighing the odds when pursuing projects, evaluating potential partners, evaluating people on their skill sets and ambitions. Evaluating my personal relationships. I can up to multiple debates in my head in a short period of time. I’m also constantly ruminating on the blog ideas for this Singapore dating coach project, how to build up my Youtube channel, credibility and etc.

It can be really stressful.

Acceptance Commitment Therapy Techniques 03

1) Accepting Your Anxiety

The bedrock of acceptance commitment therapy is to go with, instead of against your negative feelings and thoughts as opposed to challenge it.

I find this more useful that the cognitive behavioural approach which is to challenge those negative thoughts in the moment. For Eg. When I’m feeling as if I’m not good enough, I’ll challenge those feelings and thoughts with successful projects, pursuits in my life. However, I would go back to debating the other side of it: which is ruminating on the unsuccessful projects and pursuits in my life.

On the other hand, taking the ACT approach, If I were to just accept these negative thoughts, and be non judgmental about it, I wouldn’t spend the mental energy ruminating over those thoughts in my head.

This is the major difference between CBT and ACT. Acceptance commitment therapy is to just accept those feelings in the moment, as if you’re nodding them as they pass by.

2) There’s No Such thing as ‘High Self Esteem’ or ‘High Confidence’

One other idea I got out of the research is that there’s no such thing as ‘high self esteem’ or ‘high confidence’.

Self esteem is basically an opinion about the person you are. Ultimately, self esteem is a mere bunch of thoughts about whether or not you’re a ‘good person’. It’s NOT a fact, and just an opinion.

The problem comes in is when you constantly have to justify and prove to yourself that you’re a good person or that you have high self esteem. You constantly have to justify the ‘you’re good enough’ opinion. All these proving and justifying of these takes a huge amount of time and effort.

If you stopped exercising for a few days, your mind says: See? I know you wouldn’t last. If you lose your temper with a friend or make a slight mistake at work, there goes your ‘high self esteem’.

When I was started off as Singapore pick up artist, I was constantly worried about how confident I was on a day to day basis. The truth is that some days I feel confident, and some days I don’t.

The more you try to justify your high self esteem, the need for perfection. The more it kills you inside. The better approach is to let go of the idea of high self esteem altogether. You don’t need high self esteem. What you need is merely: Self esteem.  That’s all.

3) The Art of Defusing From Your Thoughts

In acceptance commitment therapy, whether a thought is true or not is not that important. It’s far more important if that thought is helpful or not.

Thoughts are also merely stories we tell ourselves.

We all have beliefs, the more we tightly hold on to them, the more inflexible we come in our attitudes and behaviours. The mind never stops telling stories, not even when you’re asleep. It is constantly comparing, judying, evaluating, critizing, planning, pontificating and fantasizing.

Fusion happens when you’re blending with your thoughts.In a state of fusion, it seems as if thoughts are reality, what we’re thinking is actually happening, here and now. This is where thoughts are the truth, and we completely believe them.

To defuse your thoughts, it’s first to bring to mind an upsetting though that takes in the form of ‘I am X’. For EG. ‘I’m not good enough’, or I’m incompetent’. Preferably a thought that often recurs and that usually bothers or upsets you.

Now, take that thought and insert this phrase in front of it: ‘I’m having the thought that….’ Now, this time, phrase it longer ‘I notice I’m having the thought I am X’.

This practice gave you distance from the actual thought as if you “Stepped Back” from it.

You’re no longer making your thoughts your identity.

4) Taking Valued Based Action

Lastly, the final part of acceptance and commitment therapy is to take valued based action.

Values are different from goals. A value is a direction we desire to keep moving in, an ongoing process that never reaches an end.  A value is akin to heading west. No matter how far you travel there’s always farther west you can go.

For EG. Getting married is a goal. Being loving, honest and empathetic. These are values.

One the most fascinating revelations in the book man’s Search for Meaning, written by Viktor Frankl, who was a Jewish psychiatrist who survived years of unspeakable horror in Nazi concentration camps. It’s reported that the people who survived longest in the death camps are those who are connected with a deeper purpose in life. The deeper purpose if often rooted in his values.

One of Viktor Frankl’s values lie in helping others, and so, throughout his time in camps. he consistently helped other prisoners to cope with words of kindness and inspiration. He also helped them to connect to their deepest values.

Taking values based action gives our lives meaning and a powerful antidote to give your life purpose.

5) The Struggle Switch

One other good ideas I got out of the research is the idea of the struggle switch.

This relates to my huge lifestyle change recently. I went from a freelance web designer, back to being a University student. I had a shift change in my life values. Some of my old relationships exploded in my face, and I finally launched this project. Oh yeah, I also quit smoking.

Initially, I merely willpower through all these habits. However, the coping mechanism of willpower through everything didn’t last more than a couple of months. I was still ruminating and feeling crappy about myself.

When we beat ourselves up over our own thoughts and emotions, then that’s when the struggle switch is on.

‘This can’t be good for me.’ ‘I’m such a crappy friend’ ‘I shouldn’t be doing this.’ ‘I’m acting like a child’.

The more we struggle with or against these feelings, the more trouble we create for ourselves. When these negative emotions show up, the thing is not to struggle against it, but to just let it be. Our anxiety levels are free to rise and fall. Some times, they’re high, some times, low, more important, you’re not wasting your time and energy struggling against it.

You might even need up feeling guilty about being angry. You might feel angry about feeling anxious. There are secondary emotions that might come a long with the primary emotion. It’s a vicious cycle.

There’s no avoiding discomfort. However, there’s no need for additional suffering. This struggle switch is like an emotional amplifier. When you switch it on, we can have multi layer emotions such as anger about our anxiety. Guilt about our depression.

When it’s turned on, we’re completely unwilling to accept the presence of these uncomfortable emotions. Not only you’re unable to get rid of them but you’ll also do whatever it takes to get rid of them. this may be through pornography, binge eating and etc.

These are control strategies.

Instead of avoiding or struggling against these feelings, it’s better to ‘expand into it’. Expanding into your negative emotions is similar to the defusing technique.

It is to step aside from your thoughts and observe your emotions. By allowing these sensations to be there, two things might happen. Either your feelings will change, or they don’t. It doesn’t matter either way because this technique is not about changing your feelings, but accepting them.

Acceptance Commitment Therapy Techniques

Closing Thoughts

There’s also no foolproof technique. It’s going to take practice and effort to practice acceptance and commitment techniques.

Now, I’d believe that not all negative emotions or thoughts should be merely ‘accepted’. Negative emotions can push us towards valued actions certain times. Furthermore, it’s not enough to just accept all your negative thoughts or negative feedback. If you see a clear pattern in your social interactions, and you’re feeling upset about it, then perhaps you got to change something about yourself.

You got to take values based actions towards improving that are of your life.

Lastly, acceptance commitment therapy techniques shouldn’t be used as another control strategy. When you’re failing your arms in the air and being frustrated and pissed of at why ‘defusing your thoughts’ isn’t working as it should be. You’re probably using it as a control strategy.

There’s nothing to control here. Just a plain awareness of your thoughts, accepting them, nodding at them. With no judgement.

Further Reading: 

Happiness Trap

Attachment Theory 03

Attachment Theory

Attachment theory can be used to explain emotional attachment between human beings. It can be used as useful model to explain why your relationships have succeeded or failed in the manner they did. It also often points out repeated patterns of your relationship problems.

It can also be used to explain other areas such as self sabotage, childhood trauma and etc.

Attachment Theory

There are mainly for 4 types of attachment: secure, anxious, avoidant, and anxious avoidant attachment.

Secure Attachment

People with secure attachment strategies are comfortable with displaying interest and affection. They are also comfortable being alone and independent. They’re able to prioritize their relationships in their life and are able to draw clear boundaries and stick to them. They also have a positive perception of others, and positive perception of themselves.

They make the best romantic partners, family members, and friends. They are capable of accepting rejection and moving on despite the pain but are also capable of being loyal, sacrificing when necessary. They have little issue trusting the people they are close to, and are trustworthy themselves.

Research has shown that over 50% of the population are secure attachment types.

Anxious Attachment

People with an anxious attachment style of attachment tend to agree with these statements: “I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would”, and “I am uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don’t value me as much as I value them.”

They sometimes value intimacy to such an extent that they become overly dependent on the attachment figure. Compared to securely attached people, people who are anxious or preoccupied with attachment tend to have less positive views about themselves.

People with anxious attachment have a positive perception of others and negative perception of themselves.

Anxious attachment strategies are developed in childhood by infants who receive affection and care with unpredictable sufficiency. Women are more likely to be anxious types than men.

Avoidant Attachment

Avoidant attachment types tend to be independent, self-directed, and often uncomfortable with intimacy.

People with a dismissive style of avoidant attachment tend to agree with these statements: “I am comfortable without close emotional relationships”, “It is important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient”, and “I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me.”

People with avoidant attachment have a positive perception of themselves, and negative perception of others.

Avoidant attachment strategy is developed in childhood by infants who only get some of their needs met while the rest are neglected.

Anxious-Avoidant Attachment

People with this attachment style are much less comfortable with expressing affection. They frequently deny and suppress their feelings.

They commonly have a negative worldview on others and view themselves as unworthy of their own selfs. These mixed feelings are combined with sometimes unconscious, negative views about themselves and their attachments.

Anxious-avoidant types tend to agree with the following statements: “I am somewhat uncomfortable getting close to others. I want emotionally close relationships, but I find it difficult to trust others completely, or to depend on them. I sometimes worry that I will be hurt if I allow myself to become too close to others.”

Anxious-avoidant types have both negative perception of others and themselves.

There’s only a small percentage of the population that are anxious avoidant types.

They often have other emotional problems in other areas of their life: substance abuse, depression, etc. Anxious avoidant types develop from abusive or negligent childhoods.

The Test

There’s an attachment theory test that you can take to find out your attachment type. If you don’t want to take the test, then rely on the above examples to roughly give you a guess on your style of attachment.

Rollercoaster Relationships – The Chaser and the Chased

It’s noted that anxious and avoidant frequently end up in relationships with one another. The avoidant types are so good at putting others off that often times it’s only the anxious types who are willing to stick around and put in the extra effort to get them to open up.

Think of the man who’s is constantly pushes away a women’s pushes for intimacy. A woman with a secure attachment will simply accept the rejection and move on. However, an anxiously attached woman will be more determined by a man who pushes her away. The avoidant man then is reassured that he can behave independently around her, and ultimately avoid emotional intimacy. When one chases, the other runs, and this goes in circles.

From an emotional needs standpoint, both the anxious and the avoidant have a fundamental belief that their emotional needs aren’t important. One denies their emotional needs by avoiding it, and the other overexpresses them. Both come are insecurely attached. Both end up failing to get their needs met ultimately in a relationship.

I experience this chaser and chase pattern in my first serious relationship with my ex-girlfriend.  Every time I chased, she ran. Every time I got sick it, she came back chasing. It was a constant, tiring too and fro. It felt exhilarating at times, however, these relationships often end up exploding and leave two hurt individuals hurt and confused.

The Self Esteem Model

Attachment Theory

Psychologists has also hypothesized a model showing one’s attachment strategy corresponding to the self image of yourself, and how you perceive the self image of others. The assortment theory in psychology backs it up as well, people with the same level of self esteem end up dating each other. Insecurity finds insecurity and security finds security.

The problem with pick up artist strategies is that you never learn how to engage and express these emotions from a secure attachment strategy. It’s always done in a vacuum. You’re using lines, techniques, and you’re blocking out any form of real emotional engagement. The pick up artist community rarely addresses this.

Our human psychology doesn’t work this way. If we’re only liked when we’re expressed ourselves through techniques and lines, then we’re subconsciously telling ourselves that we’re not enough. This doesn’t build self esteem, but lowers our self esteem instead.

You could also argue that many pick up artists are relying on avoidant attachment strategies. The girls that are willing to stay around and be ‘gamed’ are probably anxiously attached. The inability of a guy to express genuine affection (since he’s using pre prepared techniques and lines) triggers her anxious attachment that makes her chase even more, which in turns rewards the avoidant style that he uses and the cycle repeats.

If you’re guessing that attachment theory has connections concepts such as true confidence, fake alpha behaviour, self esteem, emotional needs sand vulnerability, then you’re right. These ideas are interlinked.

Can Your Attachment Style be Changed?

Okay, if you’re reading this and you’re thinking: you’re absolutely fucked. Hear me out first. The good news is that attachment styles can be changed. The bad news, it’s slow and difficult.

Someone with insecure attachment who enters a long term relationship with a secure can be “raised up” to the level of secure over an extended period of time. Unfortunately, insecure attachments such as the anxious or avoidant can also “bring down” a secure attachment.

I was a hard core avoidant throughout my teens up till my early twenties. When I started opening up, one anxiety uncovered the other. There was a period of time that I was going through a phase of emotional vomit and life changes and flipped between anxious and avoidant attachment.

Extreme negative life events, such a divorce, death of a child, serious accident, lost of important friendships, can cause attachment types to fall into a more insecure attachment type.

Works Cited

Manson, M. (2011, Dec 12). Attachment Theory. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from MarkManson.Net: https://markmanson.net/attachment-theory

 

 

Personal Values

What Are Values? – and Why are They Important For a Good Life

When I was 19 or so, a good friend of mine came to me complaining that she was being emotionally/verbally bullied by a good friend of mine. I didn’t exactly tell him out rightly to stop bullying her, however, I did softly persuade him to stop it. I didn’t like bullies. For I was in a similar position once.

You could argue that by me standing up to my good friend, I was acting out of my values. Those were my values, and regardless of external circumstances, whether if he’s my good friend or not, I stood up for my values.

So, what are values and how are they important for life-long happiness?

So, What Are Values?

Values comprises largely of intangibles such as: honesty, accountability, empathy and respect.

Values can be said to be internal compasses; they are the judgment about how important something is to us. There are principles that are held internally regardless of external circumstances.

Good values are also usually ensued by strong boundaries. Values are researched to higher self esteem in the long run, makes you more attractive to the opposite sex, and makes your life choices a whole lot easier. There’s research that shows having values contribute to our level of happiness.

In short, they’re awesome.

Why are Values Important For a Good Life?

In modern society, there’s the struggle for sticking by your internal values versus giving up your values for an external metric of success. Through measuring yourself based on internal values, rather than external metrics drives authentic self esteem.

Honesty is an internal value. Honesty is sometimes is brutal. Your honesty may not be appreciated at all. It might involve telling your boss something that he might disagree with but might be better for the company. This may put you at risk of offending him. This can be difficult at times as society at times is a ‘face’ based one, especially so in the Asian culture.

What if a girl you’re interested in treats you badly? What if she’s a no show for three dates straight, and cancels on you last minute every single time? Are you going to stand for that behaviour? Or are you going smile, and pretend nothing happened. Can you uphold the internal value of self respect? Perhaps through calling her out for her negative behaviour, or ditching the idea of dating her at all.

What if your friends are always showing up late and disrespectful of your time? What if you valued your time, and made efforts to be on time for meet ups? Do you hold back calling the person out for the sake of the possibility of not offending him or her?

If you’re holding back from expressing yourself fully, that’s because you’re secretly a people pleaser, a Mr Nice guy, who’s not willing to offend anybody.

People that people pleasing because they crave for attention, affection from the world around them at the cost of their personal integrity and values. They are ultimately putting their needs before other people needs.

Ironically, it’s the sacrifice of their own personal values and integrity that drives needy and unattractive behaviour.

So, How to Iron Out Your Values? 

Ironing out your values can be simple as taking out a piece of paper and writing down what you will, and will not accept in your life. This can range from business decisions, relationship values to all other areas of your life.

The second step is to commit, and be disciplined about it.There’s no point in writing out values’ and not sticking to it right?

Some Good Values to Have:

When I started out, I started out with some of these simple values:

  • I will not hang out with people who doesn’t want to hang out with me
  • I will not date a girl who doesn’t want to date me
  • I will not text a girl who doesn’t want to text me
  • I will directly express my interest to girl regardless of the outcome

Ironing Out Dating and Relationship Values

So, couple of years ago, when I started getting good with girls, I needed to iron out my dating values. What I will, and will not accept from women, or people in general. This not only helped my self esteem, but it also made my dating choices much easier.

I stopped texting girls who didn’t want to text me back, I stopped worrying about girls who didn’t want to go out on dates with me. It made my dating choices much much easier. Yeah, I get rejected a lot, however, it saved me the heartache from the smokes and games that most people play.

Values with Women:

This plays an important role when I go out with a girl. I’m not looking to impress her. I’m not looking to win her over. I’m going out with her to see if she matches my values, and not the other way round.

If you’re wondering what I value in women:

  • Physical Traits (I can’t lie)
  • Empathy
  • Intellectual Curiosity
  • Honesty
  • Nurturance
  • Accountability

From personal experience, I’m much more motivated, willing to give up a lot more time and effort to and to pursue a girl who has better qualities physically. I like short skirts and I can’t lie.

If she’s hot but has selfie problem, sure, I’ll be more tolerant of it. If she’s hot but is slightly emotionally erratic, sure, I’ll take it. I’m willing to give up many superficial nuances that tick me off. It’s a trade off.

However, I’m not willing to give up self-respect and personal boundaries just to pursue someone who is hot. There are other values that I’m not willing to give up. If she disrespects me or hates on my friends, I am going to call her out on it. If she continues to do that, then I’ll simply drop her. That’s because it’s a personal value of mine to not be around disrespectful people in general.

Business Values

I once worked for an insurance company in Singapore. Whilst the career prospects were good, I hated it. Why so? That’s because the way the business was ran went against my value of providing a competitive and ethical service to society.

Business deals were done over drinks, Karaoke pubs, and everyone was merely playing mind games with everyone, attempting to look rich, attempting to blow smoke up each other asses.

Despite having career prospects in the firm, I couldn’t do it. I had to iron out my values at a certain point of time.

So, I ironed it out:

  • I will only run a business that provides an ethical product or service to consumers
  • The systems and products have to work without any overt form of bootlicking (Imagine only making sales if you’re able to please someone or are nice to some other boss of some company)
  • I’m not going to work with or for someone who is afraid of ‘keeping face’ all the time
  • I’m not going to work with or for anyone who uses his network or relationships as a ‘stronghold’ (I don’t give two fucks if you tell me your father is a billionaire, you’re my business partner, not your father)

Ironing out these values made my career choices much simpler. I will only provide an ethical service for consumers in my choice of work. Out went the spammy marketing strategies, out went the nights of drinking just for the sake of clinching a deal.

Since I had these values in place, it freed me up to learn more about marketing, branding, and ethical business practices that align with my values.

How I Defined New Values For Myself

  • I went hard on people that people that owed me money, I wasn’t nice to them, I told them to pay up in a stern manner, this includes friends. I had a slight argument with a good friend I had for many years due to year repeated behavior on this. I can’t respect people who don’t respect these basic values in life. It’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to return the money you owe.
  • I was willing to lose two of my closest friendships and called them out. Why? They have been showing up late, being disrespect, and not being accountable to the friendship. There isn’t a friendship in place anymore in the first place.
  • I said fuck it to some of my business relationships. I didn’t want to rely on ‘Guan Xi’ to do business. I know that the Singapore business culture (on a billionaire or multi-millionaire level) is reliant on relationships. I made it a point for my businesses to be self-reliant for sales, leads and etc.
  • I said fuck it to fixing family relationships. I had spent the last 4 years chasing truths about my family. I decided recently it wasn’t worth the effort. My parents are going to continuously be fucked in their own ways. Why am I making the efforts to communicate better, when they are not? Fuck it.
  • I made it a point to go back to University, put effort in my school work, alongside with writing and building business projects. I also made it a point to take part in school activities twice a week.
  • I also made it a point to find like-minded individuals to hang out with. I met a guy (who’s actually cool, one of the rare ones) from the pick up artist community.

How to Establish Your Values Without Being an Asshole?

So the one thing about values that people (and I myself) get confused is that you got to be an asshole when expressing your values

Having strong values doesn’t mean that you go around calling others out on their ‘poor values’ or ‘lack of values’. It just means recognising that you have different values than them, are some times it’s just a lack of compatibility in a relationship. Nothing else.

The first step to establish your values is to make it known. If the girl you’re dating shows up late, you don’t have to scream at her for showing up late. Just making it known and calling her out on it is enough. Perhaps, then saying that: hey, I hope you won’t be this late the next time we meet. In a respectful and genuine manner.

I used to think, if my friends aren’t into self improvement, then fuck them. If my friends don’t want to go with you to meet girls, then fuck them as well.

Everyone has different values, and value different things at different points of their life. You can be flexible about values as well. Not everyone is perfect. If you’ve got a good friend who you know who’s forever late, and that’s because of his bad habit, not because he intended so, then you can be flexible your values accordingly, taking into account that you value your friendship with him.

What Happens When You Change Your Values?

In the book Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, the author mentioned that if your personal values change, your old relationships are going to blow up in your face.

This might be expressed from not accepting certain behaviour from old friends. It may tick them off the wrong way initially.

For Eg. When I see my old friend going “fuck school and fuck society”, I no longer cheer him on. It’s a new value of mine to value education. Society isn’t also all that bad.

When you shift you values, long term relationships are going to be the hardest. Do they have to go? Absolutely not. I value old friendships.  here’s no need to completely cut out a person because of a difference in values. Despite a difference in values, there will be an overlap in values

However, if we’re going to constantly disagree on worldviews and choose completely different lifestyle choices, then perhaps, it’s inevitable. The loss of a relationships might not be a completely negative thing. It’s an opportunity to re-invent yourself. It’s an opportunity to take steps that you’ve never taken before for fear of judgement from the people around you.

It’s important to straighten out values from time to time. Then never build a strong identity because they don’t have values. Hence, values are something I stress on as a Singapore dating coach.

You Are Your Values, So Be careful of What You Value

Through the years, I realized that people are going to have different values as you do, at different point of their lives. This goes right up to your parents, your best childhood friends, your boss, your pet gold fish, and your colleagues.

It’s a harsh truth, however, I learned that relationships, at times, don’t have to last forever.

It’s values that ultimately bring people together and tear people apart. You’re going to be what you value. Choose your values wisely.

Works Cited

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Values (Ethics). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_(ethics)

Manson, M. (n.d.). Where Are Your F***king Values . Retrieved from InnerGladiator.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1KsYJz6WWU

 

 

 

Psychotherapy

The Benefits of Psychotherapy – Do You Need Therapy?

I got a little depressed during my first year of University. I dated a girl for 2-3 months, and it fell off. I wasn’t showing up to school on time, I wasn’t doing well in my academics. I was getting into constant arguments with my parents back home. It felt like the world was against me. I was going to be an academic failure once again.

I knew I needed help.

The majority of the guys coming into this pick up artist thing often have emotional truths and issues from past traumas, abusive childhoods, negative experiences that they themselves have not dealt with or are completely unaware of it. Yet, they go on years after years of chasing superficial lines and theories and are oblivious to their own emotional realities.

In the book, Models by Mark Manson, the author prosed that people struggling with their dating lives are out of touch with their emotional truths. He also recommended most of his clients to try out therapy, to help them untie and get in touch with their emotional knots.

So how can one process all the traumas, the hurt, and pain that happened more than a decade ago?

One of the ways is psychotherapy.

Using Psychotherapy 

The issues and concerns of mental illness, depression and aren’t properly addressed in Singapore culture. For some reason, our culture stifles important conversations on emotions, depression, isolation, sex, relationships. Ironically, things that matter in life. There’s still a stigma around seeking psychotherapy in Asian and Singaporean culture.

One of the best ways to understand our own psyche is to hire a professional psychologist to help you.

There also seems to be a common misconception between psychotherapy and being issued clinical pills. This topic pops up commonly whenever I’m on the topic of psychotherapy with friends.

  • Both are trained in psychotherapy
  • Psychologists tend to more at your behavior “If you’re depressed and can’t get out of bed, there’s a behavioral activation”
  • Psychiatrists tend to lean towards biology and chemistry “If you’re depressed and can’t get out of bed, there might be a vitamin deficiency”
  • Psychologists have a doctoral degree in an area of psychology, the study of the mind and human behavior. They’re not medical doctors
  • Psychiatrists are medical doctors who graduate from medical school
  • Psychiatrists tend to be the one authorized to prescribing hard medicine (pills etc.)

When I openly discuss therapy with my Singaporean friends, I know they’re afraid of how it’s perceived. However, if you think about it, it’s similar to getting a personal trainer if you’re serious about getting really good at bodybuilding.

Celebrities, multi-millionaires, successful entrepreneurs, athletes, high performing people, musicians, artists and people who are influential in society often use psychotherapy to help them in their own lives. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. I’d argue that getting therapy can help you all areas of life: your professional life, your family life and your dating life.

It is, after all, your actions and behaviours that determine your day to day lives. If there’s something you are overly anxious or avoidant about, perhaps there’s an underlying emotion that you’ve not confronted. If you’re constantly unhappy, or constantly in sour relationships with your friends and family members, then perhaps there’s something there as well.

I’ve been using psychotherapy for the past couple of years in my own life and it’s has helped me conquer anxieties in my dating life, take steps towards building a business, foster better relationships with my parents and brought more awareness to my issues in general.

Do You Need Therapy?

So, do you need therapy? Here is a simple checklist I stole from a helpful resource:

  • You have emotional or sexual impulses you don’t have control over angry outbursts, fear of intimacy, sexual anxiety, bouts of depression, etc.
  • You come from a difficult childhood, had absent parents or a poor relationship with your parents.
  • You’ve suffered some major traumas in your life (death of loved ones, abuse, major health problems, etc.).
  • You have compulsive behaviors which interfere with other areas of your life: i.e., drug/alcohol abuse, etc.
  • Most of the relationships in your life are dysfunctional and/or unhealthy (always fighting, lots of blame/guilt, etc.). This includes friendships, significant others, family members.
  • You are overly pre-occupied with one aspect of your life. Common examples include an obsession with being “cool” or popular, obsession with impressing others, a constant need for approval from others, even obsessing about improving yourself (feeling like you’re never good enough), etc.

The Different Forms of Psychotherapy

There are different forms of therapy used. Some involves more surface level work and some peer deeper into the unconscious. When most people think of therapy, they think of going into a room, lying on a couch and crying your heart out after some sort of hypnosis. That’s entirely untrue. The majority of therapies don’t involve hypnosis and it’s often a two way interaction between the therapist and the client.

Therapy can help you understand how past traumatic events determine your attachment style, why you’re overtly critical or judgment of yourself (could it be because you had an overly critical parent?), your lack of motivation, your anger or apathy, your subconscious negative beliefs, the subconscious ways you measure yourself with others, and other unconscious drives. For instance, if you’re always choosing shit-y relationships in your life, then perhaps there’s something there that you aren’t conscious about. Or maybe, you get uncontrollably angry when your parent criticize you on something minor.

Our decision making comes from unconscious aspects of our minds. Therapy you can process the anger and the hurt in a safe environment, and when you become more aware of the anger, you are able to exert a great control over your behaviour.

Here are the basic forms of therapy that’s most commonly practiced:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

CBT is primarily a short term treat that takes involves you challenging your own unhelpful thoughts and beliefs when facing a difficult problem in our day to day life. This is more surface level and it’s often focused on changing the way you think in a situation.

  • Acceptance Commitment Therapy

ACT is more focused on being mindful, being accepting of your negative thoughts. It does not attempt to directly change or stop unwanted thoughts or feelings but instead encourages you to develop a new compassionate relationship with your negative thoughts and feelings.

  • Psychodynamic Therapy

When I first started off using therapy, the focus is on a shorter term and present solutions such as CBT and ACT. However, psychodynamic therapy is a more in-depth style of therapy. The focus of it is to reveal unconscious content of your psyche in an effort to alleviate psychological tension.

  • EMDR

EMDR is a form of therapy that emphasizes the role of distressing memories in some mental health disorders, particularly (PTSD). The goals of EMDR is to engage the brain’s natural adaptive information processing mechanisms, hence reliving present systems. It used to treat both PTSD and trauma.

There many other form of therapies, however, I’m pointing out the general ones that most therapists use.

The Limitations of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, like all tools of self help, isn’t a not a cure-all.

  • Taking Responsibility

Like all personal development tools, one has to still take full responsibility for our own issues and problems.

Showing up to a psychologist and expecting him or her to just fix your dating and relationships life is not going to work out. Psychotherapy should be seen as a supplement, as opposed to a crutch.

Conversational skills such as cold reading, making statements and learning how to make your conversations dynamics are equally important to rewire old social habits that are not helpful to your dating life. No therapy in the world can get rid of approach anxiety. You’ll still have to put in the work, go out and take action.

What I would recommend is to use both psychotherapy and build social skills to help you facilitate growth from the internal and external sides.

  • Reliance on Pills

Psychotherapists, in general, do not prescribe pills. However, psychiatrists do. My personal take is that there’s no need for hard medicine unless you have a clinically diagnosed mental illness.

  • The Law of Self-Help

The more people are leaving therapy, the better it is. That would mean that’s working. I would also add in that your therapy sessions should be challenging and not fall into a comfortable pattern.

There was a period where I found myself repeating myself in 2-3 sessions and almost requested for a switch of therapist just to mix things up.

  • Treat it Like Hiring an Employee

Top performing athletes, entrepreneurs, and celebrities often use psychotherapy as a tool to manage their emotions. Treat hiring a therapist like hiring an employee. It should get the work done. They are not there to be your friends or validate your problems. They are for a professional service: to help you manage your emotions.

Hiring a therapist is a large commitment (financially as well) so do account for that.

Can Therapy Help Your Dating Life?

The pick up artist community has always focused on evolutionary psychology concepts to explain mating behaviour. When I started off as a pick up artist, I was confused with all the conflicting theories such as the dark triad and mating strategies in evolutionary psychology theories. You get a whole bunch of floating theories around how to attract girls. It’s what the PUA community was or built upon on.

The basis of natural selection is this: If you’re of ‘higher status’ then girls are going to be attracted to you. ‘Status’ can be either displayed by wealth, prestige and social status, or it can be determined by behaviour.

Basically, it says: you’re not good enough, get off your ass, go become ‘higher status’, go do something and get better. When starting off at this getting good with girls pursue, it can be helpful mind frame and to get kick off your ass to get ‘higher status’.

However, focusing on these theories in the long run are isn’t going to help our own behaviour. If you’re constantly wanting to better yourself, doesn’t that stem from the belief that you aren’t already good enough?

Furthermore, human sexual behaviour isn’t merely determined by these hard theories, but also personal preferences, life values, genetics and a whole host of other factors.

The Better Focus: Using Therapy To Understand Our Behaviour 

Is it more important to study and research on theories or to actually understanding our own psychology? When we understand our own psychology, we’re are in control to mould our own behaviour. It’s something you are in your immediate control.

When you’re understand your own psyche through therapy, you end up asking better questions such as: Why do you get nervous around that hot girl? How to overcome approach anxiety? Why are you avoidant of commitment? Why do you measure ourselves/base our self-esteem with certain external achievements? How can you feel worthy enough to date a girl I’m genuinely attracted to?

I think it’s more effective to change and mould our behaviour rather than focus on all that heady evolutionary scientific research, or the pursuit of ‘higher status’. Furthermore, the majority research is all non-conclusive anyway.

Works Cited

Manson, M. (April , 2013 2012). Do You Need Therapy. Retrieved September 1, 2017, from MarkManson.Net: https://markmanson.net/therapy

Raymond Lloyd Richmond, P. (n.d.). Reasons to Consult a Psychologist. Retrieved September 1, 2017, from Guide to Psychology: http://www.guidetopsychology.com/reasons.htm

 

 

The Madonna Whore Complex

The Madonna Whore Complex

Over the past 3 years, getting into this dating advice and being attempting to be more emotionally aware. I found myself harboring certain beliefs and attitudes towards the opposite sex. I also chanced upon a concept termed as the madonna whore complex.

I was working with my psychologist about core beliefs such as self-esteem, self-worth and working through past memories.

It got me thinking about our deep rooted beliefs towards women in general.

So What’s The Madonna Whore Complex?

Maddona Whore Complex 01

In simple terms, it’s a men’s inability to maintain sexual arousal in a committed and loving relationship. This reminded me of first serious relationship. There were similar problems. Well, it could be the overuse of pornography or it could be the madonna whore complex, either way, these are issues to be tackled.

Sigmund Freud, a famous psychologist, noticed that men who grew up with strenuous relationships with their mother developed a complex toward women. They saw women as either saintly Madonnas or debased prostitutes. Hence, the “Madonna-Whore” complex.

Causes

He argued that the Madonna Whore Complex is caused by a split between the affectionate and sexual currents in the male desire. His theory has got to do with penis and castration fears, also known as the Oedipus complex. Well, Freud’s theories surrounding the Oedipus complex has been largely challenged and debunked by modern day psychology.

Other theories suggests that such a split is caused when the victim is raised by a cold but overprotective mother. This lack of emotional nurturing results in a man courting someone with maternal qualities, hoping to fulfil a need for intimacy unmet in childhood.

His need to capture his mother’s attention and affection as a child is later projected onto the woman he chooses to pursue. He ends up looking a woman with similar psychological make up with his mother. Since he can’t think of his mother in a sexual manner, this causes the man to lose sexual desire for his partner.

This merely returns repressed feelings surrounding the earlier relationship with his mother, hence preventing sexual satisfaction with his current partner.

The complex plays itself out is in the paradox in which any woman a man sexual desires must be a slut or a whore, and any woman who loves him and adores him is considered pure and consequently, he fears intimacy and feels inferior around her.

The Madonnas

The men that saw women as Madonnas put girls on a pedestal.  They worship feminine love, romanticize self-sacrifice and suffering for the sake of it. They are people pleasing and supplicant. They are the ones that find themselves doing things for women over and over again, although there’s no form of reciprocation.

These men, often known as women lovers, are out of touch with their objectification of women: the desire for sex.

The Whores

On the flip side, there are the ones that see women as whores. They see women as something to be researched and conquered. They see affection and love as something that’s worked for and struggled for. They perceive women to be fundamentally different from themselves. These are the guys that on angry rants about how women not knowing their social roles, being dirty, slutty and more, and more. I commonly see these beliefs expressed in the Singapore pick up artist community.

These men, often known as women haters, are out of touch with their desire for love and affection.

Both perceptions are unhealthy fixations. Ones of them obsesses for love, the other obsesses for sex. Both perceptions lead to manipulative and dysfunctional relationships. One is the user, the other is the used. One is the abused, the other is the abuser. Both fail to see the opposite sex as equals. One sees them as superior, and the other as inferior.

The Madonna whore complex can often unconscious and subtle, and it’s not hard to find the same person flipping to and fro between these two different perceptions.

The Madonna Whore Complex in the Asian Culture

It’s not uncommon to hear men, especially in Singaporean culture state that they want to marry a good girl. She preferably has to be virgin, hasn’t dated a lot, and is pure and innocent. He, on the other hand, desires to date and have sexual experiences with as many other girls as possible, that he would never think of starting a romantic or committed relationship with.

Commonly expressed as: “I want to fuck many girls, but I want to marry the good one, that hasn’t fucked a lot.” This suggests ‘good girls’ don’t desire sex as much as ‘bad girls’. Or ‘good girls’ are defined as good because they haven’t had multiple sexual experiences.

Not only this is a double standard, but may be a form of expression of the madonna whore complex.

Our Beliefs: How Do You View Women? 

More importantly, the madonna-whore complex concept can be used as an idea to keep in mind to improve your perceptions of female sexuality. Are you living out those double standards? Do your interactions with women involve just the objectification of women, or do your interactions with women lean towards feminine worship? Has the relationship with your mother affected how you perceive dating and relationships with the opposite sex?

I remembered having similar experiences during my teenage years. This helped me become more introspective about my relationship with my parents. How they affected my emotional maps and beliefs.

This also helped me become more objective in how I feel towards my relationship with girls: emotional chemistry, lofty notions of love, may be just an expression of feminine worship. Some times, my knee jerk reaction to girls that are my sexually proactive isn’t ideal either. All of these could be an expression of the Madonna Whore complex.

I am interested in expanding upon such psychological theories in future posts with more research. I also hope to outgrow just writing on dating concepts as a Singapore dating coach, but also on culture, psychology, and masculinity in the near future.