I don’t like the concept of New Year’s resolutions for the obvious reasons: they make us feel terrible about ourselves, they’re unrealistic, they allow fitness/diet/beauty companies to encroach on our insecurity and suck the life out of us, and they imply that the only time you can change your life is when a new year begins. They’re way too all-or-nothing and presume that if you slip up three days into your “new life plan” you’re a huge failure who will never have a better life. No thanks. I think most of us spend enough time beating ourselves up already, so there’s no need for an annual cultural tradition dedicated to more of that. I’m all about personal improvement, on January 1 or any other day of the year, so I think it’s more the “resolution” label that bugs me than the act of setting goals itself. What I can handle instead of resolutions is the idea of setting intentions. Intentions are more abstract and have more to do with the attitude you carry with you every day than setting distinct cold-turkey goals, and even if your intention is a concrete goal, referring to it as something other than a dreaded resolution has to be better for the psyche somehow, right? I have lots of random goals for 2015, but my biggest intention is to be more emotionally honest. I’m not referring to honesty in terms of a tendency to lie to people’s faces about literal facts or dropping hurtful truthbombs in their faces, though that’s probably not an ideal life choice either – not that I’m judging! What I need more of in my life is honesty with myself and others about how I really feel about things and what I really want.
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Let’s be real, honesty terrifies people — probably more than almost anything else. We like to fill our social interactions with surface-level conversations about how we’re “doing just fine” and save the real stuff for a select few people we trust. Even then, it’s tempting to only confide deep feelings that reflect well on us and push the ugliest stuff deep down. Do the masks we wear cause us to lose out on potential deep connections? Probably.
Brooklyn artist Jessica Prusa wanted to see what would happen if she skipped the surface-level niceties and presented her most vulnerable, raw thoughts to strangers. So, as she explained on The Hairpin, Jessica created an OKCupid profile (originally for a nude self portrait-themed art exhibit in New York) that explores the honesty of the Internet when paired with the accountability of having your name and face next to your words. Her profile shared some of her deepest thoughts and fears, as she hoped to gauge how men would respond to blunt truthfulness instead of the “best self” we tend to present in our online personas. Keep reading »
This weekend, I went shopping with a friend of mine, doing what I do best, i.e. encouraging her to buy everything she looked cute in (and vice versa, although I didn’t look cute in anything, SAD FACE). “You’re so bad to shop with!” she exclaimed, holding a pile of clothes as we waited in line at the register. “I’m spending so much money…”
When it was her turn at the register, we stood there chatting as the salesperson rang up all her items and bagged them. She announced the total and my friend paused our conversation to hand over her credit card. We made eye contact as she signed her receipt, and I could tell both of us were thinking the same thing. When we got out of the store and had safely turned the corner, we both stopped in our tracks.
“Wait, wait, wait, how was your total that little?” I asked frantically. “It should have been twice that!” Keep reading »
Not so long ago, my wife and I were talking to a recently-divorced friend of ours. She’s younger than we are, in her early thirties, and as far as she’s concerned, she’s never tying the knot again. Not because of an objection to the institution, but because she’s convinced that most men marry for one reason: they want to be taken care of emotionally.
“I got tired of thinking about someone else’s needs all the time,” our friend said. “I’m prepared to take care of a baby. But I don’t want my first-born to be my second child.” When she heard that, my wife turned to me and gave me a grin. She knows my history.
In three previous marriages and a handful of other long-term relationships (I haven’t been single for long since I was 16), I found myself—like so many men—taking on the parts of the “naughty boy” and the “helpless child.” Time and again, I turned wives and girlfriends into mother-figures, and the result was inevitably disastrous. Keep reading »
Today is Tell The Truth Day and while we’ve covered — exhaustively, some might say — the top lies women tell men, men tell women, and we tell ourselves and our friends, there are certainly occasions when honesty truly is the best policy. After the jump, 15 times you should always tell the truth (to yourself or someone else). Keep reading »