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Nov 30, 2011

Quote of the Day #7

 Every so often, I work out a little phrase or thought. Often it seems like I've heard it before, but I'll admit I don't read libraries of literature and I'm not well versed in the world's quotes. In any case, here's one from the other day: 

"When a man feels lonely, he wants the physical presence of a woman.
When a woman feels lonely, she wants the emotional presence of a man."

As always, thoughts or feedback are appreciated.


In grad school, I have the fortune of having to write many self-reflective essays, exploring my past, my present and many parts of my life.

Having the opportunity and requirement to take a good, hard look at where I am, how I got here, how I feel and perhaps even why I feel the way I do has been a real blessing, and I suggest anyone who has some time work at articulating aspects of their motivation, challenges of their childhood and the experiences of their present, paying particular attention to indicators of the way we react and perhaps when and how we learned to react that way. It can be very enlightening.

In any case, one such topic that I have explored is the concept of "self-care." My field is one of few that have an ethical requirement of self-care, and we are all trained and taught to be very careful in ensuring that we make time for ourselves, do the things we need and love and that we are nurtured and well taken care of.

I was reminded of how important my eating and sleeping habits are, what Shabbat really means to me and how much nurturing I get from being in contact with friends and family.

Think about it, all the small and big things that make us feel happy, that give us strength, help us relax and unwind, the things that we need in order to take care of ourselves. What we need to face the world.

I'm just really appreciative of all those things, and it's worth putting out there.

Lie to Me

I was once sitting in class with a bunch of students, and we were debating -along with the teacher -whether lying is a virtue or virulent force in life. Of course, one cannot avoid how this would impact a relationship, especially a marital relationship, and so the topic derailed, veering into marriage territory. So when I commented that I don't really advocate lying to a woman, especially not for the express purpose of pandering to her emotions, she (the teacher) practically exploded with words that will ring in my head for the rest of my life: 

"When your wife asks you 'honey, do I look fat in this outfit?' you'd better lie to her! So help you... if you don't, you'll be miserable. I'm sure of it."

Even the anger and the tone with which she expressed that sentiment was overwhelming, and threatening. It felt like being talked down to, being emotionally blackmailed. Having to act a certain way, to avoid wrath.

The most important message I learned from that experience is that when I feel that way -as though being truthful is wrong, that I need to cater to a person's emotions out of fear for the fallout or the consequences -there is something very wrong going on. A person shouldn't feel that way in a relationship, shouldn't be afraid of honesty. That's genuinely how I feel.

Now I'm sure that if I don't address how I would deal with a question like the one my teacher brought up, I'll have a ton of women jumping to her defense. While I don't particularly believe in obfuscating truth out of fear, especially not when it is a fear for how a woman will feel, I do believe that it's important to address the real concern. Sometimes, a woman may want actual feedback because she wants to look her best. Other times, she wants reassurance; to know and hear and feel her own beauty.

We guys, though, can feel stuck. Mostly because we think in very straightforwardly logical terms. So when we are asked a "yes or no" question we often think only in terms of answering "yes" or "no." In truth, I've found that often enough, women are communicating differently through their questions than I normally think. So I have to stop myself from wanting to answer "yes/no" and think about her point, whether she's looking for reassurance or being nit-picky about something small or actually needs/wants feedback. It's just not so straightforward as my own brain would see it.

Answering a "yes/no" question with something like "I'm not a fair judge, you are simply beautiful to me whether you're all dressed up or sporting a sweater" doesn't actually answer the question logically or literally, but it sure does address something important. Oh, and if I didn't actually think she's beautiful without all the make-up and the heels... then I've got a whole other set of problems to deal with, and lying is the least of them.