The 4 Stages of Attraction: How a Man is Attracted to a Woman

Single? Divorced? Widowed? Searching for your soulmate? You’re not alone. According to recent reports, there are more than 100 million single Americans. Yet, it’s not so easy to find someone you’re attracted to, much less compatible with. The dating scene can be intimidating but the good news is we can educate ourselves on how we are attracted to the opposite sex so we make more informed choices as to whom we decide to date. Did you know that men are attracted at different levels than women? This week’s post is dedicated to helping singles understand the four levels of attraction for men and next week we’ll take a look at the four stages for women.

Stage #1: Physical Attraction

We all know that men are visual creatures so it comes as no surprise to learn that guys are attracted at the physical level. This is the first and lowest level of attraction. Young men and even a more mature man on the rebound are attracted at this level. This is stage 1 for a man.

Stage 2: Emotional Attraction

This has to do with a woman’s personality; how she relates to the world and others. Some men like a woman with a bubbly personality, others prefer the more quiet type. Some experts say opposites attract when it comes to personality, and from my experience, this could be true in many cases. The question a man asks himself is “Can I be friends with this woman?”

Stage 3: Mental Attraction

When a man takes the time to learn how a woman thinks, feels, and conducts her life, he has reached the third stage of attraction. He is attracted by her character and not just by her body. He will be attracted to the way she thinks, and how she handles the situations of life.

Stage 4: Soul Attraction

You realize this person has what you need to grow. After all, growth is what relationships are ultimately about – the growth of the two individuals and the pair as a unit. The man feels this person is the “One” he is meant to be with for his soul to grow. At this level, a man’s heart must be open and he must be willing to fall in love.

Has this post resonated with you? What are your thoughts about these four stages? Are they true for you? It is important for both sexes to understand how men come to fall in love. Next week, we’ll talk about the four stages women go through to fall in love which is very different from the order for men. Stay tuned. Do leave a comment, and click the Google icon if you enjoyed this post. Also, sign up for my weekly posts using the email box on the side.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

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The Dangerous Pull of Strong Emotions

Emotions are powerful. Think of how you feel when someone cuts you off in traffic, you watch a baby being born, or your favorite team wins the game. These emotions can be very strong at times, almost overwhelming. Emotions can be our friends or our enemies. They can motivate us to climb mountains and they can drag us into the pit of despair. Emotions can motivate us to pursue relationships or leave them. What I want to talk about today is how important it is to learn to pause and reflect before acting out of emotion so we can make conscious choices.

I’ve read that when we get emotional, a different part of our brain (the right hemisphere known as the limbic system) takes over and the more logical left hemisphere stops working. Logic and emotion are two opposing forces. We’ve all heard the old adage about the head and the heart, right? Which of these do we allow to influence us in our decision-making?

A recent example of out-of-control emotions is the Baltimore riots. People expressed their long-pent-up frustrations and anger in violent and destructive ways. Emotions are contagious, especially negative emotions such as anger and hostility. Another factor is how deeply we experience our emotions.

Some people feel their emotions more strongly than others. I know, because I am one of them. I feel deeply which can be both a good and a bad thing. I have learned, however, that my emotions are something I have control over. I don’t have to allow – say allow – them to control my actions. I can take a step back and think. I had a situation recently where I had the opportunity to practice what I’m preaching here.

As you may know, I am a single lady looking for my soul mate. I recently went on a few dates with a new guy we’ll call C. We met online and corresponded a few times, then talked on the phone. I decided to give him a chance. Well, he kept trying to kiss me telling me how attracted he was to me, ya da ya da ya da. Now I appreciate the attention, but as they say, flattery will get you nowhere. So I explained to him gently that I prefer to get to know someone better before I go the physical route. I know how physical men are and that’s fine, but women are like ovens. They take a while longer to heat up. Anyway, the point of the story was, being the analytical ex-IT person I am, I was evaluating the different aspects of this person. I have to admit I was tempted to kiss the guy, but I held back. Kissing can form an intimate connection when someone feels as deeply as I do so I don’t jump into it lightly these days. After three dates, I became aware of several aspects of this gentleman that I did not think would make for a long-term match and ended the relationship. Point being, I did not allow my emotions to override my logical thinking and was able to make a conscious choice regarding whether to pursue a relationship with this person.

When we allow our strong feelings to control us, we often make decisions and choices we later regret. Emotions can cloud our judgment and cause us to make poor decisions. This applies to business situations as well as personal relationships. Our emotions can control us or we can learn to control them. The key is to recognize what is going on and stop the train before it derails. Sometimes emotions can rise up in us that have nothing to do with the situation at hand. Have you ever exploded at your kids when you got home from a frustrating day at the office? There you go.

Emotional intelligence is understanding both the source and the impact of our emotions.

1. Ask myself “What am I feeling?”
2. What is causing me to feel this way?
3. Is this what I really want to do?

The next time you feel overcome with strong emotion, take a step back. Ask yourself the above questions before taking action. What do you think of the thoughts presented here today? Love to hear your feedback so please leave a comment below, on Facebook, or Twitter @ArielPaz08.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

Charleston Shootings – Is Forgiveness the Way?

Another horrific massacre took place last week in Charleston, SC. A twenty-one year old young man opened fire in a bible study group and killed nine victims including an 87 year old woman as well as the pastor of the church. The young man was eventually apprehended and his license plate bore the emblem of the confederate flag. In a video, the tearful pained voices of the victims’ relatives expressed their hurt and forgiveness to the unemotional lad who stood between prison guards. How does one respond to such an injustice as the loss of a loved one. Is it wise to offer forgiveness to an unrepentant soul?

Now I am all for forgiving others, but I wonder if perhaps this process has been misunderstood by some so I began to do some research. When we are hurt or offended by another person, we usually experience a wide variety of emotions, so let’s explore these for a moment to see how they are to be handled.

When someone hurts us, there are many reactions we may feel; some of these are healthy and some are not. We may feel hurt, grieved, saddened, and sometimes devastated. These are all normal emotions and especially in the case of the death of a loved one. We need to allow ourselves to feel these emotions fully. To deny or forgive the other too quickly is both unhealthy and unwise. We need to take the time to feel and to grieve. Another response is the desire to want to get back at the other person. This is known as the desire for vengeance. So what about when we feel the need to “pay them back” for the hurt they’ve caused us?

The sense of injustice is reasonable. However, when we harbor thoughts of vengeance, these negative thoughts poison our mind and steal our peace. It would do us well to remember that we, too, have hurt others. When we let go of this need, and give it to God, we rid ourselves of that poison. It may be difficult, even painful, to forgive, but unforgiveness hurts us even more in the long run.

I was surprised at how quickly the relatives were to offer forgiveness to the perpetrator who showed absolutely no sign of remorse or regret. Does such a person deserve to be let off the hook, so to speak, so quickly? Is this even biblical?

There are many verses in Scripture that tell us to forgive and how many times to forgive. There is one verse however that may shed some light as to when to actually forgive someone. It is found in Luke 17:3 and reads “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”. This is from the King James Bible, perhaps the oldest and most accurate version. Notice the caveat – if he repents. In other words, we are not commanded to forgive unrepentant people. Let’s use another scenario.

Say your child tells you a lie or steals money from you and you find out about it. As a parent, you don’t stop loving your child, but would you insist the child apologize? Or would you say “I forgive you” and then let the whole issue drop? If you do, the chances of having a repeat performance is likely to occur, would you agree? The role of a parent is to develop character in their children and teach them right from wrong. When we insist on moral behavior it does not mean we do not love our child. In fact, good discipline is a necessary component of raising healthy adults. There is one more consequence of forgiving too quickly.

When we forgive someone who is unrepentant, we take away the opportunity for real change and growth. Most human beings have some sort of conscience, and without the chance to repent, the person will wallow in guilt and shame. The purpose of true guilt and shame are to bring someone to accept responsibility for what they have done and to change. Then and only then, are we to forgive them for they have shown a change of heart and a true sorrowfulness for their actions.

Now this post might be controversial. I would like to hear your thoughts on this topic. We must stem the tide of these killings and hold the perpetrators responsible. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

The Single Most Important Factor to Success

What is success? How do we define it and how do we achieve it? Many are looking for the answer, but the truth is there is no one answer.

Success is a value. It is personal. Each individual who is motivated to be successful will need to come to terms with his or her own idea of what success looks like for him/herself. Some define success in terms of fame, popularity, and being well-known. For others, it means making a 6-figure income, achieving a high-ranking corporate position, and having all the luxuries of life at their disposal. A third group define success in terms of doing what they enjoy and value such as being able to spend more time with the family, maintaining their health and doing good in the world. What’s more, one’s idea of success can change as we achieve in different areas of our lives and fulfill what Maslow calls our basic human needs.

Whatever your definition of success is, there is one factor that is the common denominator in success of any type. I’ll call it “the ability to show up”. For example, to be a success on the job, we must report to work everyday, arrive on time, and be mentally alert. We must “show up”. After working in a corporate environment world for over 30 years, showing up is a given. A fellow coworker put it this way “They expect us to be on our A game every day” and it was true. You were either 100% or they didn’t need you.

If we want to be a successful parent, it is important to show up there as well: for the baseball game, the soccer match, the school play, the Honor awards ceremony. We might not think of it as important, but to our son or daughter our presence means the world. Kids notice more when we’re NOT there, than when we are. As a single parent, it meant cutting out of work earlier and staying later the next day, but if it means seeing my son hit a home run, get a chance to pitch, or score that goal, it was well worth it.

In our personal relationships, if we tell our spouse or friend we will be available at a certain time to have lunch or dinner will we show up? Or will we call with an excuse at the last minute? Will we be available to help out when crisis hits and a friend is in need? Will we show up to visit, cook or bring them a meal? Will we listen to our spouse talk about his/her day and tune out the television, computer and cell phone? Will we be present?

What about showing up for ourselves? Suppose I want to lose some weight. I tell myself I am going to work out or go to the gym 4 times a week. Will I show up? Will I do what I said I was going to do? Same thing with learning any new skill such as learning to dance, practicing yoga, meditation, reading the Bible, or training for a 10k or a marathon. It goes for writing these blog posts. I’ve been writing them faithfully for six years now. Do you think it’s been easy? Not at all, but I can tell you I’ve learned a lot about showing up even in my free time. I learned to sit myself down at the computer and write. It wasn’t as hard writing the book because I had so much inside I wanted to pour out on paper. It still took discipline to do this after working 8 hours at a mentally demanding career. I tracked the days and the times I spent writing to establish a regular writing routine. You might say I was driven to show up.

Finally, what about showing up for God? When we hear that call to help out at church, visit a sick friend, or volunteer for a worthy charity, will we show up? In the morning when we know God is waiting to meet with us and talk with us in that quiet time, will we show up? Will we rise a few minutes earlier if necessary so we can have that special time with God? I have realized this is the most important appointment of my day. Everything falls into place and I have a sense of peace knowing I am fully protected and prepared for whatever comes at me during the day.

The key, I think, to success in any area of our life begins with this one simple step – just show up. When we want to do something new, something different, something we feel we are not quite ready for, all we have to do is show up. We don’t need to have the whole plan mapped out from A to Z. If we’re on a God-sized mission, we won’t even know the next step most of the time. All we have to do is show up and do “the next right thing”.

What is it you want to achieve in this life? What area of life do you wish to be successful in? Ask yourself this question: “Am I showing up?” This really makes a tough job seem much less difficult. When we want to achieve something new it can seem like a mountain in front of us, but really, as Jesus said, if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. In other words, what may seem impossible to us, begins with the first step of just showing up and believing. If we keep showing up day after day, we are going to make progress. We will slowly climb that mountain. We will gain clarity on what to do next to achieve our goal.

If this post has resonated with you, I’d love to hear your feedback. Please click the Google +1 button or leave a comment. Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

Baltimore Riots: The Danger of Pent Up Negative Emotions

Negative emotions can build up without us even realizing it and have disastrous consequences. Take the recent riots in Baltimore, for example. Years of pent up frustration and resentment erupted in a city-wide looting and rioting spree this week. Stores were vandalized. People were injured. Residents are shocked and alarmed. The governor has declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard. The mayor has ordered a curfew and police are patrolling the city with guns and weapons. The triggering event was the unnecessary death of a black youth while in the custody of city police. But why this violent reaction many ask?

We can ask the same question about the mass killings of innocent school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School or the shootings at Columbine, Aurora movie theatre, to name just a few. In my humble opinion, the root cause of aggressive violence, barring mental illness, is the inability to process one’s negative emotions. We all have them. Stress from our jobs, school, our relationships, unfair treatment in the workplace and in the community can build up to an intolerable crescendo unless we learn to handle it in positive ways.

A video clip of a Baltimore city mom cursing and hitting her kid over the head has made headlines. Some people are condoning her actions.

I ask this question “What is she teaching her son?” Yes, I understand she was concerned and afraid for him. Any mother would be. But how we parents act in the difficult situations of life is how our kids are going to act when we’re not around. I have seen many a mom smacking her kid, yelling at a child, and in general, being totally out of control. I have lost my temper a time or two when I was raising my kids as a single parent. One day, it dawned on me. What am I teaching my kids? It was a rude but necessary awakening.

Not only do we need to educate the kids on how to handle their emotions, we need to educate the parents. Do you think it is appropriate to curse and whack a child on the head to discipline them? We expect these kids to show respect to others, but if it has never been shown to them, this is an unrealistic expectation. Kids model the behavior that has been modeled to them. Remember the old adage, action speaks louder than words. So what can we do as parents? Here are some constructive ways we can better manage our emotions and hopefully, pass these on to our kids.

1) Allow myself to feel my emotions – negative as well as positive. Do not suppress or “stuff” them. Do not allow them to build up without expression.

2) Do not judge myself for having any type of emotion or feeling. Emotions and feelings are fleeting and temporary but they are messages that have a purpose.

3) Observe myself feeling the emotion. Identify the bodily reactions I experience such as a tight stomach, a headache, or stiff neck.

4) Understand the triggering event. Our thoughts trigger our emotions. What negative thought did I have that caused me to feel this way?

5) Realize an emotion does not control us. We control it. Take a few deep breaths to regain control.

6) Consider what positive action to take to change the situation. If the situation is out of my control, then I need to work on changing the way I perceive a situation. There is always a different way to view things.

7) Commend myself for being aware of my feelings and emotions. We will feel much more in control of our lives when we make a conscious choice rather than act on emotion.

Researchers have long studied the effects of yelling at kids. Here’s a link from Today’s Parent which says “Adolescents whose parents had been using yelling as a discipline method were more likely to have behavioral issues and to act out (including with vandalism and violence).”

This is a difficult and complicated subject to address. Negative emotions are not the only cause of violent behavior, but they are a big part of the problem in today’s society. Many people prefer to put on a happy face and ignore the issues, but sooner or later, things come to the surface in one way or another. Negative emotions are normal. Everyone has them. The key is how to manage them in healthy and appropriate ways.

What ideas do you have on how to handle your emotions? What do you think this mom’s behavior is teaching her son? What other ways do you use to discipline your kids? Do comment below.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

How to Confront 101

Your boyfriend, spouse, significant other, good friend or loved one said or did something that hurt your feelings, let you down, or angered you in some way. Or perhaps you have had a misunderstanding or difference of opinion and you sense something is not quite right between the two of you. What do you do?
a) say nothing and secretly simmer
b) blast the person right then and there
c) if married, tell your spouse you have a headache that night or use some other passive-aggressive approach such as not returning phone calls or declining invites
d) end the relationship
e) wait for your emotions to simmer down, think through what you want to communicate, and then bring up the subject as soon as possible

The best answer, of course, is e which is known as healthy confrontation. This post is a crash course which will 1) give you a healthier attitude towards confrontation, 2) teach you some basic skills and 3) encourage you to deal with small issues before they become major problems which could cause you to lose a good friendship or relationship.

Confrontation has gotten a bad rap. I often hear people say “I try to avoid confrontation,” like it is the flu or something. I don’t think they realize confrontation is a healthy behavior, designed to preserve a relationship. The term “confront” means “face to face”. In other words, to be direct with the other person. Why then are so many people hesitant about confronting an issue?

The reason, I think, is two-fold: a) they are afraid of bringing up a touchy subject and b) they lack the skills to be able to handle conflict.  Here is a personal story.

The other day in the gym, I ran into a neighbor. This neighbor and I had made plans to get together twice this year and both times she has cancelled at the last minute with little explanation. Now I know things come up, and if someone has a legitimate reason, I am very understanding. However, after two occurrences, I felt it was time to say something. My neighbor had no recollection whatsoever of having previously cancelled, tried to justify herself and got defensive 😦 This was not what I had hoped for, but when we confront someone for the first time, we don’t know how the other party will react. I was hoping for a response along the lines of “I’m so sorry I had to cancel again. I know it was disappointing to you. I hope you can forgive me.” Now that would be taking responsibility and letting the other person know you care about their feelings.

Contrary to popular belief,  the goal of confrontation is to preserve relationships. When we make the effort to address issues, we allow the opportunity for the air to be cleared, for changes and amends to be made and for the relationship to grow. It is a win-win for both parties. Unfortunately, many people lack the skills to address confrontation and avoid it altogether.  The consequences are ugly and we end up losing a friendship that could have been preserved by a straight-forward and honest tete-a-tete.

What happens when we do not deal with issues? Hard feelings eventually build up and we tend to explode over some other minor infraction because we have not dealt with the real issue.  I have seen numerous 30-yr plus marriages and long-time friendships disintegrate because issues were allowed to build up over the years. Then one day, the deeply offended party decides to suddenly end the relationship leaving other party is stunned and clueless. You’ve heard of situations like this, right? So sad.

You have probably heard the adage “Do not let the sun go down on your anger,” and this is wise advice. When we harbor negative feelings we only harm ourselves. Chances are we will not have a good night’s sleep. Many couples stay up all night trying to resolve an issue. My experience is this: issues cannot always be resolved right away. If more than an hour has gone by, it is time to give the subject a rest and come back to it another time. Obviously, you are at an impass and it is time to take a break.                                                                          

Some tips to keep in mind when dealing with sensitive issues:

1. wait till the hurt of the injury has subsided before attempting to address the problem
2. address issues in a timely manner, before you explode, over-react or decide to end the relationship
3. do not allow too much time to go by or the other person may forget what happened
4. avoid sweeping problems “under the rug”
5. gently speak to the other person at a time when you are both relaxed, face to face if at all possible. Consider the amount of stress you both may be under.

In order to have a good outcome, both parties must be mature enough and have the desire to want to work through the problem in order to restore the peace and the relationship. My experience is after I work through a situation with someone, I am closer to that person. I appreciate their willingness to work through it together and that makes the relationship even more precious.

Which do you think is better: to continue to overlook things and store up hostility and then explode or to openly voice your feelings in a timely manner and get the matter out in the open? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this subject so please comment.

Here’s to healthier and happier relationships and until next time, keep looking up!

Life is the School, Love is the Lesson

Speaking about learning lessons in life, funny how a bumper sticker can capture a whole philosophy in one simple phrase. Saw this one on the car in front of me at the gas station yesterday and I had to pause and reflect on it.

“That is exactly true”, I thought to myself while pumping gas.

I have always believed life is a school. I’ve been known to quip: “And some people are stuck in kindergarden”, “This is a test, this is only a test” and “If life is a school, why does it take me so long to learn the lesson?”

But this bumper sticker made it all so clear.  Love is the lesson. Life is all about learning to love, isn’t it? Learning to love ourselves, others, and God in a balanced and healthy way. It takes practice, doesn’t it? Most of us tip towards one direction or another and it’s only when problems arise, we realize we have been out of balance with our relationships. For example, take the workaholic who neglects his/her family and ends up dealing with an affair, a divorce, or a rebellious teen. The scales were tipped too heavily on the work facet of life, right? Or the mother who idolizes her kids but neglects her own well being. Who is she not loving?

So what to do? When problems arise, don’t just push through them or ignore them. Problems in my life are a sign that something is out of balance and needs to be tended to. I must take responsibility for my life. I cannot continually blame my parents, my boss, or other people. That’s what Adam and Eve did way back when and it still is not the answer.

The answer is to realize what part I have played in the dramas in my life. Ask myself these questions:  “How loving have I been – to others, to myself and ultimately, to God?” “Did I do the honorable thing?” Most of the time the honorable thing is the most difficult thing to do. But that’s where courage and integrity come in. Am I living according to my highest values or am I succumbing to the pressures of others, society, my past hurts?

If I want to move forward in my life, I must take responsibility for my actions. It is true, we do reap what we sow. Call it karma if you like, but you get the idea. Whenever we fail to do the loving thing – towards ourselves or others, it will always come back to us. Learning to love is a lifelong practice and the good news is we get plenty of opportunities.

Who can you be more loving towards today? Your spouse? Your coworker? Yourself? Love to hear your thoughts on this post so drop me a note when you can.

Until next time, keep looking up!