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.
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How To… be supportive.

I’m not claiming any authority on the subject here, but I couldn’t think of the next “How To…” and Jon felt this would be a topic I could shine some light on. Here are his reasons, as dictated:

“Being able to leave me alone when I am mega-ill and having people around is annoying, but still bring up teas. Understanding that sometimes I have to give in to my knees when they fuck up but other times I will try to power through it. Letting me decide what the problem actually is and how bad it is. Knowing when to shut the hell up, when it’s a problem that can’t actually be solved immediately. Not overtalking big or distressing problems.”

So, how do I do my best to be supportive?

1: Think of them first.

All too often, people seem to think they’re being helpful and supportive when in reality they’re only thinking about themselves. Discard all concerns such as “How will each eventuality impact me?”, “What would I do in this situation?” or “What would I find the best thing?” You don’t necessarily have to put yourself in their shoes (the heavens know some of us can’t do that), just discard any idea of helping yourself and any idea that they are like you. Instead, listen to what they want and look at the situation objectively. How can you help them get what they say they want?

2: Wants vs Needs.

You have determined what their situation is and found out what result they want or what they want to do. Now is the time to work out whether their course of action gives them the result they want, or whether what they want to do will harm them. Sometimes it is necessary to be that second voice mentioning the outcomes they hadn’t considered and the necessary evils they dare not face.

3: Avoid smothering.

But even when you’re sure that you’re acting in their best interests, don’t smother them. Be the voice offering counsel, not the nag. Be the person bringing tea and snacks, not the one looming over their face. Be the assistant, not the effective captain. Give them their space to deal with their own issues.

4: Prevent patronizing.

The next step is to make sure that you don’t patronize them either. Making yourself scarce when they have accounts to do, an interview to prepare for or some rest to catch up on is good. Treating them like a stroppy toddler rather than an adult with real problems is not good. Make sure you aren’t always checking their work for them, criticizing their approach, telling them off or being dismissive of their ideas and concerns. They are adult. They know best how well they feel, what their job entails, what they’re applying for and how serious their problem is. You aren’t being helpful by making light of it.

5: Build them up.

But, even though you don’t want to patronize them and make light of their condition or situation, you don’t want to indulge it either. You don’t have to be dismissive, rude or critical to know and show that their state is not permanent. You don’t have to pander to their state and make them feel like they will be forever chained down by it. Make sure to build them up. When they have a crisis of confidence, remind them of their original idea or direction or motivation. Go through their plans with them and work towards the goal they want to reach. Offer to do anything in your power to give them the time, space and energy to make progress. They won’t be like this forever and it’s your job to help them out of it.

Using steps one and two, look at what you can do to help them through your actions. Using steps three and four, make sure you’re not being rude or inconvenient. Using step five, do anything you can to help them move away from whatever trouble they’re facing. When you’re not sure what you can do, ask them how you can help or what they need you for. And that is how you can be supportive.

When have you had to support someone? What do you wish you had done better? What advice would you give to someone who wants to support a loved one? Feel free to share your anecdotes and advice in the comments.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!