I might have said the following before, but I certainly haven’t been living up to it myself lately, so here is yet another reiteration.
For a long while now a part of my mantra for ‘how to live the good life’ has been to focus on hard work (career-wise) as the most crucial element to achieving contentedness in life. I thought that by working hard I might put myself in a position where other (specifically social) goals would be easier to achieve.
To a certain extend I wasn’t really wrong about that. Being happy with your professional life creates a confidence that can be of benefit in your personal life. With that mindset, I decided that I would postpone putting in a lot of effort in other areas of my life until I was happy with where my professional life was at. Today I will be talking about two of those areas, those of sexuality and sociability.
I see now that making the distinction between your professional and personal life is counterproductive. To some extend work should also be play (in that it should be fun, at leas some of the time), but more importantly, you won’t be able to perform at your best (work-wise) if you neglect other needs.
One of those needs (that I tend to neglect) lies in basic human sexuality. For a while – actually more than half a year – I experimented with living in celibacy. I don’t mean that I just didn’t have sex, I didn’t masturbate either. I simply wasn’t sexual…at all! It was a very beautiful and pure experience that taught me many things about human sexuality.
An especially important life lesson I took from this phase of my life was that porn can have many negative effects on your experience of sex. For me personally, porn skewed my view of female beauty, and over my many years as a porn addict I developed incredibly high standards that no ‘average’ girl I’d meet could possibly ever live up too. As a part of my complete celibacy I obviously had to quit porn, but for the above reasons, I can safely say today that I have no desire to ever watch porn again.
I however also learned that suppressing your natural sexual desires as a human being isn’t healthy either. Just as porn creates illusions, neglecting your desires, or always taking care of ‘business’ by yourself is inherently insufficient means to an important end. It also creates unhealthy relations with people of the other sex, as I will get to below.
So today I am taking another important step in the self-development process that I’ve been going through since I recovered from the life-threatening infliction PSC last year, and that is to actively pursue dating again. Before my disease I had a very active dating life, and I understand now that I need to let down my guards once again in order to feel fulfilled in that area of life.
I guess my point with the above is that you should never neglect your inherent need for intimacy or be embarrassed of being a sexual being. This sounds like a very basic thing, but I see many men out there having huge issues with this. Even married men at that.
Indeed, to some of the men (and women, if you turn it around) who might be reading this, I’d also like to say that you should be aware that some women (keyword: some) will constantly challenge you in regards to what they can get from you. I have a female friend who basically treated me like an asexual being (extremely embarrassing for a guy) but who furthermore acted in a way that made our friendship quite unequal in that we mostly did what she wanted to do when we hung out.
I am not angry or bitter about this, like it might sound. I certainly can’t blame her or anyone else. I had put it onto myself by playing the game by her rules only. You should never let people, regardless of your relation to them, walk all over you like that. Remember, though, that the problem lies not in what they do, but in what you choose to do. It is all up to you and you alone.
Okay, so the other area that I’d like to talk a bit about today is sociability. It is sort of connected to the above though. If you let other people define your social interactions; if you don’t make an effort yourself to build a social circle of people you find interesting; you will never be satisfied with your social life.
Being an introvert, taking care of friendships is hard work for me, but I now understand that it is an area worth spending some time on. We all need people to throw the ball to, and especially people who understand us.
Its not that I lack social opportunities. As it is I have a perfectly great social life and many people who enjoy spending time with me. But I am not much in control of the way I socialize with other people and that is a problem.
The takeaway? If you aren’t satisfied with your social life there are things you can do about that. In fact, as with your intimate life, only you can improve the situation as it is. And it doesn’t have to be hard. Both of the above issues can be solved pretty much by doing one thing over and over again: Taking more initiative.
Actually, the above is not entirely true. Since I am able to write this post I obviously came a long way already. But becoming aware of your biggest issues is sometimes a long and winding road. It will take some time to get there, but if you keep learning about yourself you will eventually get it.
My main point of this post is that living a life of contentedness is about being aware that you don’t neglect any one area of your life and about creating a balance, giving all of your needs and desires equal attention. I see a lot of people working hard and forgetting about having some fun and looking a bit more lightly on things. I also see a lot of people who have a whole lot of fun but who don’t work hard enough to achieve their long-term goals. In the end, being satisfied with both is dependent your constant dedication to making the best out of both. Yeah, sometimes it can seem easier to get the one through the other, but most often things don’t work that way in the real world.
By the way, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a movie out called Don Jon on some of the subjects I am talking about here. I haven’t seen it yet but it should actually be pretty interesting to watch. Trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6615kYTpOSU
If you enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to hit me up with a like, comment, or share. Thanks a bunch!