Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Are Outside Influences Doing to YOUR Relationship and Marriage?

Is your environment, especially the part of it you choose and create for yourself, increasing or killing your attractiveness? It’s easy to tell by taking a good look around you, if you know what to look for. Do you?

I get a lot of mail from men who are feeling bad about themselves, complaining that their wives disrespect them, don’t like their job, feel like they’re alone and have no friends, and generally have a crappy outlook on life. There are a lot of causes for this, but generally when a man is disrespected, disregarded, and/or has nobody around him he would call a friend, it’s the result of bad attitude. And that’s fixable.

Most of the causes of both good and poor attitude are in the things that surround us daily. Let’s take a look at your living and work environments to see what they may be doing for you, or TO you. Much of male attractiveness is the direct result of attitude, self-esteem, and confidence, and your environment can impact those things directly, so it can impact your attractiveness directly, which in turn determines how – and whether – those around you will want to interact with you.

Feeling good about yourself requires that you take action to succeed, which in turn requires that you feel worthy of success and motivated to go after it. How does your environment affect you in this regard? Everything around you can impact you, so let’s look at some of the big ones to give you a feel for what to look for, and you can refine your search from there. Let’s start with music.

Yes, that’s a biggie! Even if you aren’t listening actively, it’s still there, being interpreted and assimilated, and there are subconscious mechanisms that act upon what you hear, so to what influences are you exposing yourself? First, what do you choose to listen to? If it’s depressing, as a lot of alternative rock, death metal, and some country and honky tonk, ballads, and of course, blues can be, it’s working on you. In my own experience, according to pop culture lore Michael Bolton was a great guy, but his music was so depressing that I couldn’t listen to it, and while I like some of the instrumental portions of Iron Maiden and Metallica, the death-oriented lyrics of many of their songs make me want to just shake somebody and tell them to wake up and get a clue. (The same goes for the angry-sounding rap that glorifies rape and cop-killing; fortunately, this isn’t all rap, just the worst of it.)

It’s a shame, too. Whether you like “hard” rock or not, there is no denying, debating, or escaping the fact that Trent Reznor, the heart of Nine Inch Nails, is a modern-day Mozart. Really. The richness and complexity of his composition easily rivals Mozart if you listen to it actively. However active listening also requires that you hear the lyrics, which caused one music critic to describe Reznor as “having taken self-loathing to an art form.” But what do you expect from a guy who just broke his 20-year heroin addiction he was toward the end of when that critic spoke. It’s hard to write happy or uplifting song lyrics when you hate yourself that badly.

I grew up in an area where country, bluegrass, and honky tonk music was popular, and in my childhood, country music was all about trouble. Even if somebody had something good to say in a song, it was in the context of missing it, or somebody else having it and wishing they could have it. I can remember even as a small child wondering why people wanted to listen to songs that spoke of people hurting each other, breaking up, divorcing, being lonely, etc., and I could see that those who listened to depressing music were depressed. That made me wonder which was the cause and which was the effect. I learned later in college that it goes both ways, and once in the rut, it forms a feedback loop that sustains and even amplifies itself.

Even if you’re not choosing what you listen to, as in cases where you have piped-in music in your office that someone else chooses, or have a partner or a child that tends to dominate the household music listening (which luckily isn’t as bad these days since personal computers and personal MP3 players make private listening much easier), you may consciously just ignore it, but your subconscious mind ignores nothing. Hence, the music you expose yourself to, at least with regard for helping you to maintain a positive attitude and good self-image, needs to be fun, uplifting, motivating, etc., providing at least some positive influence; at worst, it should be attitude neutral, like some form of light instrumental or dance music.

What about television? Do you watch informative shows that help you feel better-prepared to achieve? Comedies to help break the tension? Heroic adventures to see the good guys kill the bad guys and go home with the girl for “gratuitous whoopee”? Or do you watch sad stories, a.k.a., “human interest” stories, where the object is to pull you in to feeling sorry for the subject? Or nothing but news, which tends to be negative because disaster gets better ratings that acts of heroism? Being informed is necessary, but you have to be careful of the source, because between sensationalism and bias, it can wreck your outlook and attitude in a cold minute. How can anyone expect to have a good outlook on life if a good portion of what they see every day is negative? There is obviously a lot you can’t choose, but there is also a lot that you can, so choose well.

Speaking of what you see in the workplace, how is your job affecting your outlook on life? Are you well-suited to your chosen profession and advancing through achievement? Are you appreciated and rewarded by your current employer? Do you enjoy getting out of bed in the morning to start your work day or do you leave home at the last possible minute and arrive a few minutes late every day because you just really don’t want to be there?

High self-esteem comes from achievement and no other source, and in everyday life, that means mainly from success at productive work or a productive hobby, one that offers challenge – eating donuts or watching football is not a productive hobby. It’s a “pastime,” and you need to distinguish between them. Pastimes provide no mental challenge. That’s why I cringe when baseball is described as “America’s favorite pastime.” Passively watching the game is a pastime, but playing, coaching, or even scorekeeping is absolutely not. So make sure that in addition to work, you have at least one real hobby and not just a bunch of pastimes sucking up the time and energy you could be using to enjoy achieving and feel better about yourself.

Getting back to work, if your work conditions keep you from feeling like you are accomplishing anything, either in your job or your career, or if it’s swallowing you (as seems to be frequently portrayed on police dramas like “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” or any of the various flavors of “Crime Scene Investigation” where the officers are constantly exposed to the worst elements of human behavior and cannot avoid it because their job is to deal with it), depression and unattractive behavior is virtually inevitable.

The statistics available on divorce rates bear it out, too, by the way. Social workers, vice cops, criminal lawyers, and doctors all have higher divorce rates than bakers, telephone operators, etc. If your chosen field is killing your marriage or has killed more than one and marriage is important to you, it’s time to look at a career change, even if it’s a bit of a step backwards. And before you say, “But I can’t afford to make less money!” how long is it going to take you to pay for another divorce? A career change might actually be cheaper in the long run.

Take a hard, objective look at your job and your career, and if it is not satisfying you, talk with a professional headhunter or placement agency, no matter what you do now or think you may be capable of doing. They stay in business by competently matching people with good jobs, and often have aptitude tests and other placement aids they will be glad to offer you on the chance that they may be able to pick up a commission by placing you in a good job. And don’t let the idea of a career change scare you into failing to act. You may be surprised at how radical a career switch you can make but still be able to leverage your experience and be able to make more of a lateral – or UPWARD LATERAL! --move instead of having to start over at the bottom of another career path.

Another huge influence, and the last one I’ll speak about today, are the people around you. Achievers will influence you to achieve, and slackers and miscreants of every flavor, being unwilling to do what is necessary to achieve, will seek justification and validation by spreading their defeatist attitude around like a virus.

You know them, the people to whom you announce good news and they insist that all good fortune is either fleeting or something bad must happen to you to pay for your good fortune, and they’re always blaming their sorry life and lack of achievement on limited opportunities and some oppressive entity or system instead of doing what achievers do to make their own opportunities. You may include these people in your circle of “friends,” but they are not friends. Friends don’t try to impede the happiness of friends by trying to negate every good thing that comes their way.

If you have any of these people around, even if they are blood relatives, get them out of your life before they take you down with them; if they had any interest in climbing out of their funk, they would have done something about it already, so don’t bother trying to “save” them, either. Learn to let people be accountable for their own choices, and be accountable for your own. It’s a lot easier to successfully manage your life and affairs that way, and you’ll never be put in a position of feeling like a failure because of someone else’s failure to act.

Once you find and eliminate all these negative influences from your life, you’ll find it much easier to maintain that confident, “can’t touch this” attitude that women find so irresistible, not to mention finding your life a whole lot simpler and more enjoyable, and you’ll also find you have new-found room in your life for people you enjoy being around as well. Think you can’t do it? Talk to me.

And here’s a big bonus: when you couple that improved attitude with a solid working knowledge of how to evaluate relationships, how to effectively communicate with women, and what they automatically respond to with curiosity, excitement, and desire, a great relationship with a great woman is a foregone conclusion, even if you’re not currently with one!

What you need to know about all of that is waiting for you in a single source, my e-book, “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage.” It’s an instant download at http://www.makingherhappy.com, fully tested and guaranteed to work -- and for less than the cost of a good meal for two at a nice restaurant! Can you afford to ignore such information? NO! Can you use such information? YES! So get clicking, Bub, because life’s too short to waste it feeling lousy about your life, job, and marriage! ;-)

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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