I sat there in a café by myself, staring blankly at a couple of abandoned plates of food.
"I won't let this make me bitter," I whispered under my breath.
I'd spent the night talking and moving from club to club with a girl I liked a lot and had been pursuing for months. She was smart, funny, tall -- beautiful. Everywhere she went, she attracted men to her, like moths to a flame. But she treated me different than all the other guys rotating around her; them she'd be polite but dismissive toward; me, she'd spend hours just sitting there talking to. She didn't do that with anyone else. That night, it'd been just us, the entire night -- and she'd been talking about the two of us going to an "after-party" together -- I started thinking that finally, after all this time and effort, I was getting somewhere with her. I suggested we could just chill at my apartment.
And then, in the middle of us eating at a café at the end of the night, before heading to our "after-party," some guy she knew happened to show up, just as she'd gotten up and was heading into the bathroom. She was excited to see him -- then, they disappeared around the corner together. When they came back, they were laughing like little kids... and they sat down next to each other across from me.
I'd been sitting next to her before she got up.
It was early 2006. I didn't know what I was doing -- I'd only been trying to get better with women for a year, and only actively doing it -- religiously -- for about 2 or 3 months now. But I figured I had to try to save this; I'd try anything I could. It couldn't fall apart -- not now. Not when we were so close, after months of hard work.
So I tried boyfriend destroyers, even though this guy wasn't her boyfriend.
I tried seeming as calm and nonplussed as possible as they flirted in front of me.
I tried going over the top and telling them what a beautiful couple they made as they fed each other food across the table from me, hoping she'd protest that they weren't a couple. Instead, she only played along more, telling me she'd been chasing this guy forever but that he kept turning her down.
And then, despite my efforts, the moment I went to the bathroom to collect my thoughts, they disappeared.
The bill was waiting on the table for me when I got back. And they were gone... off into the night together.
"Don't be bitter," I said to myself.
What the Warrior Knows
As a child, I was about as fearful a kid as you could get. I decided to stop running at four years old because I was afraid of scraping my knees if I fell down again. I used to lay awake at night, every night, terrified at the prospect of vampires, werewolves, trolls, and even the next round of immunizations I'd need, which at age 7 I calculated would be in another 7 years. In only 7 years, I'd get stuck with another needle! I couldn't sleep.
But my biggest fear has always been failure -- and failure's twin brothers, weakness and surrender. It was my fears of failure, weakness, and surrender that led me to confront most of my other fears, and it was that that eventually led me to adopt a value system of continually testing the limits of what was possible for me.
Growing up, I used to watch a lot of movies, and I took a lot of life lessons from them. One of the things I saw, again and again, was all the cynical people there were in the world -- cynical, bitter people, who'd been burned by life and never forgot it.
And what I noticed, nearly universally, was that bitter people lived in the past. They were bitter because of what happened before -- and it prevented them from ever taking charge of their lives again.
I came to equate bitterness and cynicism with surrender -- with becoming someone who's given up fighting for what he wants, and instead sits there and complains at the world about how unfair it is.
There's a quote I like by a man named Carlos Castenada:
"The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as either a blessing or a curse."
What Castenada means there is that when something happens to a warrior, he looks at it, and says, "Hmm. How can I figure this out to get what I want?"
Whereas when something happens to an ordinary man, he looks at it and says, "Oh, life is so good to me!" or, "Oh, life is so unfair."
That's why warriors are always in command of their lives, while ordinary men's lives instead command them.
I've further distilled the concept behind this quote into something I say to people in my life, when I hear them complaining or being bitter or being cynical. What I say to them is this:
There are, I've noticed, two kinds of people in the world. People who complain about their problems, and people who fix their problems. Right now it sounds like you're one of the complainers; I think you ought to be one of the fixers. Otherwise, you're just going to keep complaining forever and nothing'll ever get fixed.
Me, I don't complain much. I have at times in the past, though it usually would only last for a short time until I figured out how to fix whatever it was that was bedeviling me.
I am a big believer in action over complaining and bitterness.
Because, to me, someone who's complaining and bitter and cynical is someone who's given up. He's surrendered. He's admitted he cannot get what he wants; he's weak, and he's failed.
So when that girl I'd put so much time and effort into left me holding the bill while she ran off with that mysterious stranger, I feared the creeping poison of bitterness and cynicism. My fear of that scourge was even stronger than the bad taste in my mouth that came from the event itself.
I've been that man before... and I didn't like it. I worked hard to actively get myself out of the trap that is cynicism; I figured out how to overcome depression, and I taught myself how to get girls. And as I did so, I kept in my mind at all times -- don't be bitter.
Because I didn't want to be one of those ordinary men you see in the movies who've given up their dreams and are leading an ordinary, unfulfilling, dead-end life.
That might be the life for some people, but it isn't the life for me. And it isn't what I wanted to be.
I wanted to be a warrior -- a man in command of his own life, not one cast about by the tides of fortune, eventually resenting life for not giving him what he wants.
I worked instead to become the man who asks himself, "How can I fix this?"
Bitterness and Seduction: Not Good Bedfellows
I've long been of the mind that if you want true, consistent, wild success with women, you can't be bitter.
In fact, if you want any kind of legitimate success with people in general, you can't be bitter.
The difference between a cynical seducer and a lover of women is huge. The two are worlds apart.
The cynical man teases and plays, but women can feel the coldness and the emptiness behind his words. The lover of women kids and beckons, and women can see the warmth and realness behind his eyes.
The cynical man approaches women cynically, and is received cynically. The lover of women approaches women with love and warmth and familiarity, and is received, quite often, that way.
It's true, there are cynical women out there -- almost as many as there are cynical men. But women are constantly waiting for a man to step into their lives and melt their hearts -- even a cynical woman, encountering a warm, charming romantic man, often begins to quickly melt.
Men who are bitter can get success with women, but if you ask me, trying to get success with women while preserving your own bitterness is like trying to climb a steep hill while wearing slippery shoes.
Possible? Well, anything's possible.
Recommended? No, most certainly not. Put the slippery shoes down and go get something with cleats.
Being a lover of women -- having real, legitimate love for women, which is based in warmth and good feelings toward them and an appreciation of the fairer sex -- that's the equivalent of cleats when it comes to getting to where you want to get to with women.
I see the guys with slippery shoes on -- the bitter guys -- and some of them do finally manage their ways to the top of the hill (many of them do not), but it's not without tremendous more effort and forcing themselves along than they would've required had they not first shed their bitterness.
And those bitter guys, once they are at the top, they either end up attracting equally callous, bitter women into their lives -- no good, believe me -- or, if they're really lucky, they get a good, warm girl, who slowly starts to melt their hearts.
But that's only if they've been looking for those kinds of girls. Usually, though, people who aren't bitter don't want anything to do with bitter, cynical people. And so most bitter guys, I find, tend to end up with bitter girls -- thus preserving their own bitterness.
Whereas all they had to do was figure out how to not be bitter, and it all would've been so much easier.
Don't Be Bitter: What You Need to Pull It Off
There are a few tools you can use to start stripping away the protective layers of cynicism you may have wrapped around your heart once you notice bitterness in your thoughts. I've used all the following, and I'd suggest you do too (unless you're bitterness free -- in which case, good going! You're one of a select, privileged few -- definitely something to be proud of).
- Cultivate a fear of bitterness. Once you've taken the time to look around you, you'll start noticing that bitter people really do have less satisfactory lives -- and it really is the bitterness causing that, not the other way around (as they often think).
I too once used to think to myself, "I'm only cynical because my life sucks; as soon as it gets better, I'll stop being cynical." But my life never improved. It wasn't until I said to myself, "All right, nothing else is working and I've got nothing to lose. I might as well try changing my attitude and I'll see if that works," and life started improving almost right away.
- Maximize your exposure to others and build reference points. A big part of where bitterness comes from is in failing to relate to others. If you're doing something known as "othering" -- the antithesis of building an emotional connection -- you're probably on the fast track to bitterness without even realizing it. Top recommendation? Think of / write down every type of person you feel bitter towards, and then go make a few good friends of exactly that type of person. It'll erase your bitterness faster than anything else out there.
- Work to actively love and appreciate women. One of the things I made myself do early on was start viewing women as silly and cute. Because at first, girls were a little scary and a little intimidating. I heard some advice that came out to simply, "They're just girls," and I realized I wanted that same mindset -- it isn't some huge deal, and who cares what they think about you or say to you -- they're just girls.
I decided if I wanted to get myself into that mentality with anything approaching speed, I was going to have to consciously grow that mindset myself. So, whenever I saw girls doing crazy stuff, I'd make myself stop and think, "Aw, girls are so cute and silly." At first, it was crazy, because I'd have these conflicting thoughts -- one thought would be, "Oh God, I don't even understand this behavior... women are so confusing and intimidating," and then I'd simultaneously force myself to think, "Aw, aren't girls cute and silly."
The cute-silly thoughts began taking the edge off the feelings of intimidation, and eventually my brain learned to think of women as silly and cute on its own and totally lost any feeling of confusion, intimidation, fear of the unknown or hostility.
It was a short step to really truly appreciating women after that point.
- Seek to become a lover of women. If you hold it out as your ideal, as what you wish to be, you will eventually become it. To be a lover of women when you're coming from a background of cynicism and bitterness is no small feat -- I know, because I did it myself. But these days, people tell me constantly how warm I am, how they feel like we're old friends after just meeting me; women ask me if they know me from somewhere, because I just feel so familiar to them.
They used to be scared of me. Honest to God. I tell women that now, and they tell me, "No way. Really? Why would any girl be scared of you?"
It's because I worked hard and shed my bitterness and cultivated an aura of genuine warmth and understanding. I build connections with people; I deep dive and get to know them right away; and I really do care about people. I'm not a feel-good, peace-loving don't-hurt-the-flies hippie; I still tease women and challenge them and I lead them strongly and decisively and sometimes even get told I'm too demanding and too uncompromising (okay, not sometimes... more like all the time). But beneath a somewhat hard veneer, they can feel my warmth as well, and that's a big part of why it works for me as well as it does.
- Seek to understand. I plan to do a post on this sometime soon, but I hear a lot of guys saying, "Who cares about understanding women? Just figure out what works with them and do that."
Well, when a girl walks out on you with another guy at a diner and leaves you to foot the bill, either you're not going to understand, and you're going to be bitter for the rest of your life, or you will understand, and you'll get over it fast (because you'll realize where you made mistakes), and you'll stop yourself from making the same mistakes with future girls that you made with that one.
Becoming a Lover of Women Without Taking Decades to Get There
I view there as being two paths to enlightenment (or, changing your mindset / worldviews):
- Passive, and
Passive enlightenment is what most people come to. In seduction, this is the guy who starts out bitter toward women, then breaks his back getting good with them, and then reaches a level where he's fairly consistently good with women. He's still bitter, though less so.
Over the course of ten or twenty years, he has numerous experiences with women -- some of them good, some of them not so good. And eventually he comes to realize that all women are different, and he comes to be truly touched by the good women he encounters, who do kind, considerate things for him and treat him like a prince.
In the end, he sheds his bitterness, and comes to truly be a lover of women.
That's the passive way. It works, and it's low effort (at least as far as mindset-altering is concerned), but it's slow.
Turtle speed, baby.
Active enlightenment is what we discussed just above, under the subheading "Don't Be Bitter: What You Need to Pull It Off." That's harder -- it's going to require you monitor your thoughts. It'll require you force yourself to think things you don't want to think, and it'll require you go get friends of the type of person you don't have so many good feelings for right now, and it'll require you get to know those people, come to understand them, and develop compassion for them.
But man, can it accelerate the shedding of your bitterness.
Benefits of being a lover of women who's bitterness-free and cynicism-free?
- Less stress... a lot less stress
- More comfort in your own life and skin
- More options -- no more, "I'm not going to talk to her; girls like her are fake / shallow / worthless / not real girls"
- More initial attraction from women (women lower their walls around men they can sense don't have walls up against them -- cynical men keep their defenses up to protect themselves, and women sense this and keep their defenses up too)
- You just feel better... and help others feel better, too
God, there're so many cynical men out there -- regular men, men who are trying to improve with women, men who are already in a relationship, men who are coming out of a relationship -- I feel like cynicism is this rampant plague of the mind in Western civilization. I'd even go so far as to categorize the progression of belief systems like this:
- Naïveté (thinks all the world is good and selfless)
- Cynicism (thinks all the world is greedy and selfish)
- Zen (understands that some people are selfish, some aren't, and knows how to get to know people and connect to them and how not to be used, and genuinely likes people and appreciate them for who they are)
In China, where I am right now, there are a lot of people still at the beginning of the scale (trusting naïveté). In the United States, where I was before, most of the people are in the middle of the scale (skeptical cynics).
I'm not sure if there's anywhere that people are just Zen, and understand the way people are and accept them as they are regardless, but man, it's a much healthier place to be, let me tell you.
I'm proud to say, I didn't harbor bad feelings for too long toward that girl who stiffed me that night with the bill while she left with that other cat. I cut her off after that, and she even chased me a bit after I did so, but I'd made some mistakes there that would've been tough to fix at that level of my ability and in any event she'd crossed a line on respect that couldn't be uncrossed -- I wasn't willing to resume dealings with her once that line was crossed. But I didn't hold it against her -- she was contrite, and she knew she messed up. We'd both made mistakes.
When all's said and done, there's really only one thing you can do when bad stuff happens with girls:
Realize that sometimes, those things happen, and that every girl is different.
And, in the end, just don't be bitter.