If You Can’t Change The World, Change Yourself

Image by Asger Carlsen

Man, the world is full of angry people. And I’d say that, aside from the smattering of terrorists, bigots, outright lunatics, and one chartreuse superhero, about 95% of them inhabit the comments section of various websites.

I write about dating and relationships because I truly do want to help bridge the communication gap between men and women. Even though we are all humans, I believe that we think and behave very differently sometimes.

A guy may act a certain way because he’s thinking a certain way. But, a girl may look at the way the guy is acting and believe he’s thinking something entirely different. Same with the way girls think and act, and what guys think the girls are thinking.

I believe that if I share stories about how I’ve acted in my own dating life, then I can shed some light on how men think. And if that helps even one woman understand even one man better, then I’ve done my job.

What baffles me is when I share something personal about myself, and I get lectured for it. Here’s one instance. Here’s another. And here’s one by Musings’ resident douchebag. Check out how much flak he gets for describing his behavior.

Well, guess what? That’s how guys act. The stories I tell are real-life examples of guy behavior. It’s not always gonna be shiny armor and merit badges.

And here’s the thing: Unless you’re the one actually dating me (which all but one of you are not), or you think you may want to date me (which… oh, heeeey, baby. How you doin’?), you have absolutely zero incentive to tell me how I should lead my dating life. Any change in behavior on my part will have precisely zero effect on you.

In fact, the only reason you should have in lecturing me is to feed your own sense of self-righteousness. You may even believe it’s a, ahem, righteous cause.

But, let me tell you a little secret: That sense of self-righteousness can never be sated. If you live your life always trying to feed your self-righteousness, always seeking to correct the inappropriate behavior of others (as deemed by you), your soul will be eternally hungry.

Because there will always be shitty people in this world. You can’t change that. You can’t change how shitty people are, and no amount of posturing on your part will make a difference. People are going to act how they want to act.

In psychology, there’s a new brand of therapy called acceptance and commitment therapy. In ACT, instead of attempting to change behaviors that could likely be unchangeable, you learn to accept these behaviors. It’s all about learning to live with the challenges that Mother Nature, God, Darwin, Karma, Buddha, Loki, or whoever else you want to blame throws at you.

That’s how I believe we would all make better use of our time: Stop trying to change others when the change 1) will have no impact on us, and 2) is likely impossible.

Instead, learn to adapt to the world. When I tell you about the shit I do, stupid or otherwise, take it as a lesson in how guys act. And the next time you date someone who acts similarly, you’ll have an additional piece of information in your arsenal—an additional piece of information that you can now use to figure out just what the guy is thinking….

Boobs, beer, burgers, and basketball.

So, instead of getting all bent out of shape when the opposite sex doesn’t behave as you think they should, instead of demanding that every single member of the opposite sex conform to your definition of what “right” is, why not work on understanding the opposite sex better?

That’s why I write stuff like this in the first place.

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  • Oh, my God.


    Why did neither of us ever think about writing something like this earlier?

  • Dennis I have to say that re-reading that article from thefrisky.com, even though from a guy’s point of view, I do the same thing. Make the best of things and be delightful so at least they (hopefully) don’t have negative things to say later on.

  • You definitely have to have thick skin to be able to lay it all out there like you do and take the criticism–I would not be able to do that! However, I have to say I appreciate your articles for that very reason. I’d rather hear the truth than some BS just said to appease me.

  • Hey Dr Hong, a bit irreverent but I wanted to let you know that I saw you a the fair a few weeks ago. I went to grab a bunch of tickets for rides that I had because I wanted to give them to you and your lady-friend.

    After I came back, I couldn’t find you. I couldn’t have been gone for more than a minute. I tried looking for you, but I couldn’t find you. And it was hard because I’m really out of shape.

    Oh well. If you’re planning on going next year. Send me an e-mail, and I will give you a pair of bracelets or tickets or something.

    Nice article too. I always feel a bit smarter after reading one one of them 🙂

  • Dennis, You hit the nail. We are all expert critics hiding behind our computer screens. I love reading the NY Post online and always creep down to the comments, and boy are they brutal! These people, with all due respect to their beliefs are pretty ballsy when their screen-to-screen. My only advice to a fellow blogger is don’t sweat it. People are reading your stuff and feeling strongly about it. No matter what they say, that has to feel good! Carry on my friend!

  • Your articles are insightful and interesting. I’m sure that many critics find it easier to criticize you than take that hard look in the mirror.

  • Thanks, Emily and Katy. And Katy, good to see you still on here! I thought you had gone the way of… uh, appropriate internet analogy… hmmmm….

    Ah, got it.

    I thought you had gone the way of Netscape.

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