Bait, Bid, and Bite, everyday affections.

The flip-side to last week’s post about giving time and space, I would like to take the time this week to address the “bait and bite” of comfort-seeking behaviour in relationships.

In CBT this behaviour is referred to simply as “validation”, although it’s not exactly what we think of when we generally hear the term. In relationship psychology it’s called a “bid”. And it goes a little like this.

One member of the couple experiences something.

They feel an urge to share it with their partner.

Their partner acknowledges the vocalization and the experience.

It seems simple, and it is, but it makes an enormous difference.

When we reach out like that, regardless of whether we are pointing out a cute dog, explaining what went wrong with our work day, discussing something we read or looking for confirmation that what we witnessed did, indeed, happen, we are comfort testing our partners. We are saying “this is my life experience, and I want you to also experience it”. We are saying “please see what I have seen and tell me it is valid to you as well”. We are saying “this is what matters to me right now”.

And all we need is for our partner to acknowledge what we said and acknowledge our experience. That’s it. They don’t need to agree with us, to share our emotions, to continue the conversation. All they need to do, in essence, is say “yes, I can see the dog”, “I’m sorry your work day was bad”, “that book sounds interesting/not my thing”, or “I saw it too”. It’s that simple.

We “bait” our partners with actions that are designed to captivate attention and words to draw their attention to things around us. If they “bite” and acknowledge the bait, however minorly or however personal or weird their reaction is, we feel acknowledged, wanted, respected and loved. If they ignore us and react passively or dismissively, we feel insecure. It’s the ultimate comfort test and all humans do it, introvert or extrovert, male or female. It also directly correlates with relationship longevity.

Example of positive, comforting “bait and bites”:

Him: “Wow, look at that truck.” “Look there.” “Truck ahead.”

Her: “Pretty cool.” “It’s red.” “Is that a toyota?” “Not my thing.” “Where?” (Typically with some emotion in voice or on face, turning to look at what he is pointing out.]

All acknowledge what he has seen, what he is saying and establish some sort of personal connection. On the other hand, a negative, worrying “bait and bite”:

Him: “Wow, look at that truck.” “Look there.” “Truck ahead.”

Her: “Huh.” #silence# “Wait one moment.” “I’m busy.” “Sure.” (Typically in a flat tone, whatever is said, without turning her head to the truck.]

None acknowledge what he has seen, all refuse to share the moment or indulge in a personal moment, all focus entirely on her.

It isn’t about talking more, or forcing yourselves to talk about your day or to do things together. It’s more about the responsiveness percentage when you share information with each other. The more bait goes unbitten, the more detached a couple become. The more bait we bite, the longer the relationship lasts. So skip the candlelit dinner or the relationship adviser if you want to revive the spark. Perhaps first try and look at your partner, respond to their comments, and invite them back into your world.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How often would you say you make a bid of your partner? How often to they bite the bait? How often do you respond to their bids? If you’re not sure, try and keep a “bid diary” for a bit and tally up how much you share each other’s world.

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.
Advertisements

How To… nurture desire.

It’s a common refrain in the manosphere and red pill circles that desire cannot be negotiated. Which is true. When you simply do not want someone or something, there is very little that can be done about it. However there is a big difference between something we simply do not want and, unless we change radically, never will, and something we do want, but not the way it is presented to us.

This philosophy starts with sex and sexuality, but also extends into self-improvement, diet, employment and, realistically, everything you will ever do.

For me right now the problem is alcohol. When TTC, pregnant and breastfeeding, I will not drink. But everyone around me still does and did so during last weekend’s BBQ. And I had to remember that what I wanted was not best for me right now.

As a simple, relatable example, we may want pizza, not omelette for dinner. We don’t dislike omelette. We just want to eat a pile of junk. However for some reason it isn’t in our best interests to have pizza. Maybe we’re saving money. Maybe we’re on a diet. Maybe it just doesn’t fit into our day. Our desire for pizza cannot be negotiated: we want it and that’s final. And if we were presented with food that we definitely do not enjoy, perhaps brussels sprouts, our desire not to eat that cannot be negotiated. We will if we must, but even if we make ourselves we do not want to. However the emelette exists in a middle ground: we do desire it, but the circumstances right now mean we do not currently desire it. And that is where nurturing comes in.

1: Identify your desires and non desires.

In this case our main desire is pizza, our non desire is brussels sprouts and our secondary desire is omelette. We really want pizza, would be OK with omelette, and be unhappy with brussels sprouts.

2: Identify the reasons for your desires.

The reason we desire pizza and omelette is because they suit our palettes. They are savoury dishes with salt and fat and protein. They fill us up and the taste tells our bodies they are good. Likewise, we do not desire brussels sprouts because they are not savoury, salty, fatty, proteiny foods. They are bitter and plant-ish and lacking in calories.

3: Identify the pros and cons of your desires.

The pros of our desire for pizza are that it stimulates our taste buds and provides calories. The con is that it is expensive, unhealthy and/or inconvenient.

The pros of our desire for omelette are that it stimulates our taste buds, provides calories, is healthier, cheaper and more convenient. The con is that, lacking carbs and cheese, it does not make us as hungry as pizza.

The pros of our lack of desire for brussels sprouts are that we do not eat a food we find unpleasant which provides few calories. The con is that we are avoiding a perfectly healthy food.

So, as we can see, the one that wins out is omelette, meeting our needs and desires in the middle. However it is not enough to deny ourselves pizza. We need to work on our desire for omelette. And, though we cannot eliminate desire for pizza or create desire for brussels sprouts, we can reinforce our desire for omelette.

4: Feed your desire for the best options.

Work on making that omelette an important part of your day. Season it well, cook it well, make it an enjoyable experience. When your mind drifts to pizza, remind yourself why you do not want to eat pizza: it is unhealthy, expensive and inconvenient. Think of the tastes and textures of the omelette. Feel the hunger. Build a craving for it.

5: Promote the best options with in-betweens.

And, of course, sometimes you will feel strongly pressed to go for something more like pizza. Sometimes the craving will be very strong. At times like this, you find a compromise which does not take away from the benefits of the omelette but allows you to enjoy the experience of pizza. Maybe you will fold cheese and cured meats into your omelette. Maybe you will make a pizza at home with cheap and healthy ingredients. Whatever you do, try and go for the best option for you.

In other words, desire cannot be negotiated. But to assume that means “I want pizza so I will have pizza” is ridiculous. We have more than one desire in the choices we make. And by nurturing the productive desires, we can make the most of our options. So pizza-omelette, here I come! 😛

What are some choices and decisions you find hard to make? Would love to hear about any time you overcame a craving, inertia or another conflict of desire!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… fake it til you make it. The right mindset.

The idea of faking it til you make it has done the rounds for a while, pretty much since the earliest human written wisdom we can locate. The concept is simple: put on the shoes, and if they don’t fit you’ll grow into them.

But in the modern era of entitlement the concept has become twisted to mean deceiving others for personal gain. Which is not actually the effective way of doing this. So here are some pointers on how you can fake it til you make it… properly, and for results.

1: If the boots don’t fit… check the feet.

Sometimes the boots just don’t fit. You can pretend that gender and race are social constructs all you like, but faking being a black man when you’re an asian woman isn’t going to work. OK, that example goes a bit far. But how about a more realistic one: you can love art all you want, but faking being a great artist, if you lack the talent and the skill, will not make you great. Some things are not meant to be.

2: If the boots are too big… work on it.

So the feet are great: you have a solid foundation to build your new identity on. What now? Well, now you put the work in. Faking, in and of itself, is not making. The very core of “fake it til you make it” implies you should probably be putting some energy into becoming the person you appear to be.

3: You’re not fooling anyone but yourself.

This is a big one. You’re not fooling anyone. If you’re a novice lecturer, all the senior lecturers know where you are. You will not trick them. If you are trying to care for the garden, the neighbours won’t believe your spiel about some raspberries “don’t like rich clay soil”. And you’re not meant to fool anyone else. You’re not faking it to make people think you are a pro, you’re faking it to give yourself the confidence to persist.

4: Persist and you will learn.

Ultimately, giving up is the main way you will lose every battle. Keep going. Keep working on it. Whatever you’re working towards, you will learn something. Maybe you will learn what you set out to discover. Maybe you will learn other skills that your transfer into your life in general. Maybe you will learn that your ability to judge your own talents is really bad. But you will learn something along the way.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Being All You Can Be. Part II: Self-Sufficiency.

As mentioned in Part I, being all you can be is not just about doing a great job, but also about reaching your fingers into as many pies as you can comfortably handle.

The next element to being all you can be is working out what to focus on. After all, you can’t do it all or have it all, but you shouldn’t really devote yourself to one thing forever either. The woman in the last example is a police officer for her paid work, a housewife at home and a writer in her spare time. What is stopping her from wearing more hats? And why did she choose those three?

She wears three hats because that is what her time allows. Once you’ve worked all day, sorted the house and written for a couple of hours, there isn’t much more you can do. And she chose those three because they represent the pillars of valuable work: finance, self-sufficiency and enjoyment. She gets paid, she avoids paying someone else to do her work and she does something she loves.

And we all have potential to embrace those three pillars and build them into the life we want to live. When that time arrives, we’ll be all we can be.

In Part III I will begin to discuss each pillar in more detail, so we can be all we can be.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… motivate yourself.

I get it: you don’t want to. I don’t even know what you want to do yet and I know you don’t want to. I can feel the intensity of not-want from here. But you really want the results. And sadly, when you want results you have to work for them. So here are a few pointers to get you on track.

1: Make it a surprise or do it together.

If your plans involve someone else, then it’s all or nothing. Either they are doing this with you, or it’s better not to tell them.

It has been scientifically proven that talking about your goals casually gives you the same positive energy boost as achieving them. Being acknowledged and listened to matters more than losing weight, quitting smoking or finishing that novel.

Besides that, it is also proven that people who aren’t improving themselves will try and sabotage those who are. Make your plans secret from such people.

If your friend or partner are all in, then that’s a different matter. But otherwise, make your self improvement a secret.

2: Visualize less, plan more.

Visualizing is a trap. The more you imagine yourself to be the perfect person you want to be, the less likely you are to actually strive for it, the less prepared you are for setbacks and the less likely you are to accept improvement over perfection. People who visualize and daydream more tend to be less likely than average to achieve their dream.

Throw away that perfect inspirational picture, stop imagining fame and glory, leave behind your dream job and focus on planning our the steps towards actually improving, one ladder rung at a time.

3: Plan less, do more.

In the same vein, the more time you spend planning, the less time you spend doing.

Give some serious thought to a rough plan you will be able to follow. Write yourself a schedule with a bit of flexibility. Then stop planning and start doing.

Too many plans take up your time and energy and can leave you falling into the visualization trap. Besides that, like fad diets, when your goal is 90% planning and only 10% practice, you are wasting time and energy on something other than results.

Move towards your results instead.

4: Give yourself a pep talk.

Sometimes you just need a coach behind you to tell you you’re doing great, to push you a bit further, to remind you of where you are heading. But if you’re working this hard path alone or you just happen to be alone when the desire to give up hits you, you need to give yourself that pep talk.

Remind yourself of your goal, of what you have done right, of what you have done wrong and of what your plans are. Don’t be too kind or forgiving, but don’t talk down to yourself either. Direct yourself to the right path.

5: Look at how far you’ve come and reward yourself.

Gamification is a recent concept in psychology that shows how turning your progress into a “game” can help you make more progress.

Rather than just looking at the start point and the end goal, measure your success in stages, like levels to a game, and reward yourself appropriately at each stage. The same mechanism that makes you hooked on a silly online game can hook you on self improvement!

And those are just some ways you can productively motivate yourself!

What do you do for motivation?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… let go of the old year.

Out with the old, in with the new. 🙂

1: Shake off all your old anger.

Any grudges, hangups, pains or worries you had, shake them off.

You don’t want to start over with all the bad energy from last year.

Write them down and burn the paper, make concise plans to tackle your problems or shout the anger away in an open field. Get it out of your body tonight.

2: Cross off all your old plans.

So what if you didn’t stick to your NYR? So what if you wanted to be X, Y or Z by now? If you’re not, you’re not. Time to start over and not linger on what you haven’t done.

3: Write a list of goals, objectives and plans for the new year.

Think of all the things you can accomplish in 52 weeks!

Write a list of weekly goals and long term objectives.

Create a weekly schedule where you hit milestones towards each objective and accomplish your goals.

Plan your success.

4: Write a letter to yourself for next year.

Think of how you feel about 2015 right now. And write a letter to the you of NYE 2016-2017. Tell them what plans you have, how you’ll feel about accomplishing or not accomplishing them. Tell them what great things you did in 2015 and ask about what they’ve done this year. Commiserate with them over the tragedies and celebrate their successes. The old you and the new you deserve to be connected.

5: Start everything afresh.

As I’m sure most of you know, I like to schedule my Monday, Tuesday and Thursday posts whenever I can so that if I have a busy day I don’t need to worry about not putting something “to paper” or not posting something. But this is the last one of the year. I have one scheduled for tomorrow and that’s it. Starting in the new year, I start over.

Likewise for almost everything. I’m not beating myself up over anything, or trying to let the tendrils of this year’s work grow into next year. I am sure I will work hard at everything tomorrow as well.

Have a fantastic new year, everyone!

TTFN and Happy New Year!

Let Go Of These 25 Things Next Year.

New year’s resolutions are often about doing more, adding more, holding onto more and more things… Which is very good, to be honest. Doing more exercise, finding more time for family, making more money, working harder in the garden or reading more books are all honourable, valuable things to add to our lives.

But for everything we add, we need to make some space. So why not balance every addition with something we can let go of?

1: Hopelessness.

Why let go?

There is nothing we can’t work on, there is nothing we can’t fix or live with. There is always a way and there is always something nice left.

How do I let go?

Whenever you feel hopeless, write a list of everything you still have by your side and everything you have to look forward to.

What does it pair with?

Goal-oriented resolutions, such as weightloss, strength gain, work goals or creative work.

2: Keeping up.

Why let go?

You aren’t anyone else. You have a different life, different means and needs and different end goals than them. If you compare yourself continually, you will never be enough.

How do I let go?

Set yourself personal goals and keep detailed track of your progress and setbacks. You are your main point of comparison.

What does it pair with?

Shared goals and group activities, like gym attendance, courses and family resolutions.

3: Hang ups.

Why let go?

A hang up leaves you constantly slightly concerned about unlikely events and overly worked up about inevitable events.

How do I let go?

Look at your situation for what it is, rather than what it could be. Focus on reality and now and try and work for the best realistic result.

What does it pair with?

Relationship goals, work goals, anything where you depend on other people for your success.

4: Boredom.

Why let go?

Boredom is a choice, not a state. You have endless books, tv shows, music, hobbies, projects and ideas within your grasp.

How do I let go?

Whenever you feel bored, try and pick up one of your hobbies. If you haven’t got enough to go around, then you might need something new!

What does it pair with?

Tedious and repetitive goals, like dieting, studying or keeping accounts.

5: Perfection.

Why let go?

Nobody is perfect, nothing is perfect. It’s fine to aim for the stars, but if you can’t accept anything less, then you might be stressing yourself.

How do I let go?

Rather than set yourself a pass-fail test, set yourself percentages. Aim for 100% always, but 80-90% is still great.

What does it pair with?

Any goal that feels like all-or-nothing to you!

6: Miserliness.

Why let go?

We don’t need a quarter of what we own, let alone of what we want. Clinging onto things rather than people can make us weak and nervous.

How do I let go?

Share openly and freely. You don’t need to give everything away, just to balance your savings with your socializing.

What does it pair with?

Money and savings related resolutions.

7: Grudges.

Why let go?

A grudge does no good. It makes you feel bad and treat others badly.

How do I let go?

Write down your grudges. Write down how they make you feel and in what ways they continue to affect you. On a separate piece of paper, write things you can do to actually improve the situation. Burn, bury or bin the grudge list and keep the improvement list.

What does it pair with?

Everything and everyone.

8: Fretting.

Why let go?

Once you’ve identified a problem, any further worrying is just bad for your health.

How do I let go?

Work out what the problem is, work out solutions and try and distract yourself from it. Consider a mantra, such as “this is finished/solved now”.

What does it pair with?

Any high-end resolutions where the 100% target is quite hard to reach.

9: Procrastination.

Why let go?

Putting things off only feels good in the short term. In the long term it can ruin plans.

How do I let go?

Try and set yourself a list of tasks and goals and stick to it. Make sure everything is done.

What does it pair with?

Unscheduled resolutions where your goal could be accomplished at unspecified times.

10: Despair.

Why let go?

Despair is like a grudge, hopelessness or fretting. You’re letting yourself stay sad over something rather than working with or against it.

How do I let go?

Try and find the positives rather than focus on the negatives. Don’t desire to feel sad, desire and seek happiness in everything you do.

What does it pair with?

Resolutions where setbacks are part of the game, especially self improvement.

11: Compulsions.

Why let go?

Compulsions are like faulty instincts. We do them without thinking and they can easily hurt us or others.

How do I let go?

Find out what you do compulsively and make a point of stopping it for up to three months. Replace it with healthy behaviours. After then, a new habit could have formed.

What does it pair with?

Quitting-based resolutions, like diets, kicking drugs and removing maladaptive behaviours.

12: Stress.

Why let go?

Stress is a part of everyday life and often the only thing that keeps us going. But it’s also destroying our bodies and our sanity.

How do I let go?

Practice meditation and mindfulness. You can meditate to leave the stress behind and be mindful to push it out of yourself. You can use meditation and mindfulness techniques anywhere, at any time, for however long you like.

What does it pair with?

Time-restricted and work based resolutions.

13: Weakness.

Why let go?

Nobody wants to be weak, or chooses to be weak, but we can choose to either embrace or defeat our weaknesses.

How do I let go?

Make a list of things you cannot resist, things you cannot do or cannot fight. Systematically work through them until you feel more accomplished.

What does it pair with?

Generic, intangible or unmeasurable resolutions, such as “be better at maths” or “spend less”.

14: Talking down.

Why let go?

Talking down to yourself and others is a bad habit that encourages negative thinking and asocialness.

How do I let go?

Try and find something positive in someone every time you have a negative thought about them (even yourself) and say the positive instead of the negative.

What does it pair with?

Social, positivity and self-esteem based goals.

15: Fear.

Why let go?

Fear makes us reluctant to try new things, to return to places that upset us or to act as we would want to. It stifles action and keeps us in one place.

How do I let go?

Think of all the things your fear prevents you from doing. Think of how much better your life would be without the fear. Bit by bit, build up the courage to face your fear.

What does it pair with?

New and exciting resolutions, resolutions to change, self improvement resolutions.

16: Social anxiety.

Why let go?

Social anxiety stops us from being our true selves and keeps us far less or far more socialized than we would want to be.

How do I let go?

Unless it’s at a clinical level, you can cast aside social anxiety by making a point of socializing as much as you want, being yourself around friends and family and talking yourself up for important events.

What does it pair with?

Any resolution that depends on other people for success.

17: Pain.

Why let go?

Pain and suffering are an inevitable part of human experience. But when pain becomes who you are and devours your life, you start to lose control everywhere.

How do I let go?

Write a list of things that pain interferes with. Decide whether they’re reasonable or unreasonable to you. One by one, address the unreasonable points on your list, until pain is no longer restricting you.

What does it pair with?

Recovery resolutions, health based resolutions and emotional resolutions.

18: Hoarding.

Why let go?

Hoarding things can make us feel temporarily good, but when our physical, mental and emotional clutter becomes too much, we lose sight of true priorities.

How do I let go?

Make a stock-list of the items you hold onto and hoard. Write down your reasons for keeping them. For every reason you have to keep them, write down two reasons to throw them away. Persuade yourself to part with a few items a week, until you feel in control.

What does it pair with?

Cleaning, organizing and decluttering. Mental health and destressing. Emotional health and healthy relationships.

19: Wastage.

Why let go?

As the opposite of hoarding, wastage is when we let too much go. We are often denying ourselves things we want and throwing away valuable resources in the process.

How do I let go?

Find a use for everything. When you’re about to get something new, ask yourself if you already have something that does the job.

What does it pair with?

Reducing spending, fighting shopaholism and any resolution based around simplicity, minimalism and saving.

20: Disrespect.

Why let go?

Disrespecting others only makes social situations uncomfortable and awkward. It can feel good briefly, but after the event you are in a worse situation.

How do I let go?

Try and treat everyone with a minimal level of politeness. For example, make a point of not swearing, even around friends and family, so as to get in the habit of not swearing around anyone else.

What does it pair with?

Social-based resolutions and any resolution where you depend on others. Stress reduction and self-esteem boosting.

21: Blame.

Why let go?

Holding onto sadness sometimes makes things feel better. After all, it’s harder to recover and move on than it is to keep blaming others again and again.

How do I let go?

Find what actions and behaviours of yours are causing some of your issues. Try and find at least one thing you did to cause your situation.

What does it pair with?

Stress reduction and general life improvement.

22: Self-loathing.

Why let go?

Sometimes it can seem as though self-loathing hurts nobody… which is why it’s a problem. If you feel that self-loathing and self-depreciation doesn’t hurt anyone, you are doing yourself harm.

How do I let go?

Try and find something nice about yourself and focus on it whenever you feel down or bad about yourself.

What does it pair with?

Every goal you expect to reach needs you to love yourself enough to go for it.

23: Stubbornness.

Why let go?

When we’re too stubborn we can sabotage ourselves and stop ourselves from reaching goals or accepting constructive criticism.

How do I let go?

Ask yourself what you’re guarding against. Make sure that whatever you’re scared of or angered by isn’t causing you to be unnecessarily restricted. Try and be conscious of when you’re being stubborn and try and let your guard down once a week.

What does it pair with?

New experiences, social resolutions and anything where advice and support from others.

24: Loneliness.

Why let go?

Loneliness is as much an internal experience as a physical reality. The feeling of being alone in a crowd, or in perfect company on your own is internal. And when we feel lonely, whether we are around people or not, we aren’t comfortable with the safety and support our friends and family have to offer.

How do I let go?

Reach out to people. Find people who you can get along with and talk to them. Go and visit friends and family. Find a place where you feel welcome.

What does it pair with?

Letting go of loneliness pairs very well with any solo resolutions. When you’re on your own and working hard at something, having people to return home to could be a comfort.

25: Anger.

Why let go?

Anger is a fire that consumes your energy and your mind. It can interfere with healthy processes and relationships.

How do I let go?

Practice meditation and mindfulness. Learn to calm yourself down even at the most tense of times with breathing and mantras. Learn to focus through.

What does it pair with?

Any self-improvement resolution. We can all get frustrated and learning to control our anger will help.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!