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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Look like you just killed a buffalo...

Anyone ever give you advice that sounded like it was making sense, but you had no clue what in the hell they were talking about?

You have to remember that if it sounds a bit crazy, it might just be crazy. You MIGHT be getting advice from someone who actually may not have their facts straight in the first place. Or it might be just a matter of lack of proper knowledge. Or they may not be saying it in a way that is communicating what they really wanted to say.

Let's take for example, this advice from one man to another, who is trying to help his fellow man become more... manly, so to speak. In the more conventional sense of the word. (Go ahead, click play. If you've never seen the movie "Smoke Signals", it's a great one to have in your repertoire.)

Let's discuss this word "Stoic", shall we? Have you heard this word before? What kind of images come up when you think of stoic?
Were you aware that stoic is not just a verb, but is also a philosophy? There are actually basic principles of Stoicism that come from a philosophy that goes as far back as 3rd century BC (Socrates times, ya'll).

Not to get into too much detail, it basically emphasizes that it is best to be emotionally resilient, and that some emotions are unhealthy and don't fit in with the natural order of things. It encourages a state of calm and virtue, trying to avoid those 'destructive emotions' that can throw things out of balance. Stoics tend to regard people more by how they behave, rather than by how they speak or think. (Seems to make sense.)

I hate to derail this post too much, since it's not about philosophical belief systems and culture, so if you'd like a quick break-down on what Stoicism's basic principles are, and what you can learn from it, check out this article by Billy Williams. It has some useful ideas that could be applicable to men and women alike (if you so choose to read it that way).

In regards to the word STOIC itself, and perhaps in the way that the video above was referring to, it might help to know where the word came from. It's basic origins come from the Greek word stoikos, or "of the stoa"... stoa being a Portico, or porch... leading to the base of the word stoic. Basically, meaning that your face is a porch.

YES, your face is a porch... a porch made of marble pillars, unchanging... serious... a virtual mystery of what emotion may be residing just under the surface.

Now I know that I've said in previous blogs that women love to laugh. I own that. I still agree that a great sense of humor is amazing. Hell, I'll even advocate that sometimes healthy laughter is totally amazing, even in the midst of sex. Laughter, endorphins, blah blah blah. I won't take back my word on that.

But just like everything else in life... booze, chocolate, sex, drugs, rock and roll... everything is best in moderation. (Well, maybe not chocolate.) We all need to find a good balance in life, and that includes finding a mate with a good balance who isn't always the same all the time. Constantly being bombarded with humor will eventually dull the senses to the humor. It's like taking the same antibiotic all the time. Eventually your body gets used to it and it's not as novel anymore. This goes for a lot of personality traits, such as intensity, excitement, hyperactivity, talkativeness, gushiness, grumpiness, anxiousness, and plenty of other adjectives/adverbs. After all, variety is the spice of life, is it not?

So where does being STOIC come in? Well, have you ever seen one of those scenes where a sexy actor in a movie has this moment of seriousness and the camera seems to feature a look on their face and all the women in the theater swoon because it's just so smoldering?

Well, stoic can be kind of like smoldering, only not as intense. And being stoic has historically been a very male characteristic, kind of like having a deep voice or brooding eyebrows.

Um, well, maybe not like that. Think more like, uh....

That works. My point is, no matter what advice anyone gives you, including advice from myself or my blog, you will want to consider using that advice IN MODERATION. We all need to find a good balance, and if you find yourself in a rut with your relationship, or if you find your partner constantly falling into the same mood, look within and see if you have been consistently projecting the same mood as well.

Don't misinterpret this as encouragement to hide your feelings. If something needs to be dealt with, don't build a porch on your face. Or... a wall... whatever. Don't emotion-block. Some feelings were meant to be worn on the sleeve, otherwise you might end up losing the communication skills you've been trying so hard to develop with your partner and lover.

What I'm trying to say here is, changing it up can be a good thing, even if "changing up" means going for a more serious tone from time to time. See how it affects your life and your relationships. Perhaps you might find conversations following a more philosophical route than they used to. Or you might change the dynamic of a lover-relationship slightly and create some "smolder". Or maybe it might cause someone else to suddenly wonder what your thinking, and wondering leads to curiosity, and curiosity leads to... well, usually fun things. As long as it doesn't involve a cat.

Like I said... everything in moderation. Find that balance.

HOMEWORK: Keep a journal for a week, and on each day write what 'mood' you are going to set for the whole day and try to keep that mood throughout the whole day. Try out happy, excited, hyper, sullen, determined, stoic, sentimental, etc. At the end of every day, write down how others reacted to your mood and whether those are reactions that you enjoyed or not. It's a great practice in seeing how contagious our moods and emotions are, and it also helps you learn more about coworkers and friends. You might find that some people actually have more of an attraction to a different type of personality than you expected.

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