How Feminism Has Backfired

The proof is obvious that society has progressed overall throughout history in their views and postulations on women’s rights. Even more obvious is the inherent shift in the male/female dynamic that has accompanied this emergence of independent ladies. But it is not as rosy and victorious as would appear from the surface, much like the nuances of racism are still all too recognizable fifty years after the Civil Rights Movement. A large facet of the entire identity of one half of our political party system is their stance to deny women the choice to decide whether or not having a baby is the right course of action for their life. And yet still others of that same group stand defiantly against her ability to protect herself from being in that situation in the first place. The other half ultimately promote paying women to have children: the less work she does and the more kids she has, the more the government supports her. From behind the smoke and mirrors of supposed equality an increased hostility is surfacing, and both the magicians and the women are to blame. Women are seemingly more empowered yet less respected overall, and they are still very much subject to the forces of discrimination.

The plain truth of the matter is that women were indeed, and still are in fact, more respected and cherished by men and other women when they keep their work to the confines of domestic endeavors. Single, hard-working women are often looked down upon or become emotional prey to the very men that seek them. Married mothers who keep a career often find their time away from home and their children is the brunt of accusations, rendering them responsible for the decline in attentive parenting and thus the rise of insubordinate, attention-deficit riddled children.

Throughout history some percentage of women have always worked, as servants, housekeepers,  ladies’ maids, governesses, teachers, and tutors. And their children were not viewed as neglected, certainly not any more than the children of nineteenth century high society women whose merits rested solely in their needlepoint skills or their aptitude at the pianoforte, hence spending much of their time at home, and who rarely attended their children, surrendering the brunt of the child-rearing to the governesses. In the working classes the children often were expected to work, sometimes the same grueling hours as their adult counterparts. The Donna Reed era came at a time after women were not only a viable commodity in the professional workforce, but had single-handedly filled every male shoe from the factory to the baseball field during World War II, and can be viewed as an obvious attempt to restore “order” to the family. It is the product of this generation that now comprise the majority of the authority figures in the United States.

Also consider the women today who do not work at all and rely on government subsidy and child support for their income. These women are theoretically all stay-at-home moms, and the presence of this demographic is entirely counterintuitive to the theories that working women are the reason for modern parenting woes.

It seems to be a modern stigma, then, that neglected children are the result of women who choose employment outside the home, a mindset that has come about only since the entrance of women into professions previously only open to men, and a journey that was thwarted when society seemed to say, “Whoa, slow down, ladies…” in the 1950s and early 1960s. Thus, the only difference in the attitudes towards modern women and their parenting skills can be extrapolated, albeit accurately when a close observation of societal progression has been made, to be the result of a subtle but powerful backlash against women’s rights instigated by inane societal standards that lack accurate definition, consistency, and credibility. Furthermore, it is often those who perpetuate and condone a lifestyle of living outside ones means who rail against families who quite simply must have two incomes in order to survive, when said survival is finitely contingent upon two vehicles, a mortgage for a house you hate but a school district you love, five cell phones, a 42 inch television, 895 cable channels, and $4/gallon gas.

Thus we have infused modern culture with two innately opposing ideas: it is acceptable for a woman to hold gainful employment, yet she is still encouraged in her “duty” to breed, and it is the clash of these two evident but ignored social stigmas that have actually made women themselves guilty of discriminate feminism. Many women and couples have children before they are truly ready because it is a socially acceptable notion, but then the wife and mother realizes years later she wants the career, she wants the income because it is her modern right as an empowered woman. Indeed it is, but it is now tinged with the reality of motherhood, which has the distinct capability of transforming either into resent or indifference.

Women mature faster than men, but they also mature longer and as a result become more complex beings much more capable and desirous of change. Thus amid the spectrum of married women battling the intricacies of modern feminism there are, as in most cases, two sides to the story, both equally resplendent in their contributions to a convoluted and confused sense of modern female identity. There are the conflicting standards set by the proverbial They*, and then there are the women that conform to them.

Returning now to the world of the single woman in the 21st century, the ramifications feminism has errantly doled out to this breed have intensified, and the edges of this sword cut deep because they too are cleverly disguised within the oxymoron of  several societal implications. In some regard, the attitudes toward single women have softened significantly, for it is indeed a quite recent phenomenon that choosing to remain single is viewed as an acceptable alternative to being unhappily married or checking the “divorced” box on your tax return. It is, but it isn’t. It is because the term “Old Maid” has been politically cor-rectified to “Cat Lady,” and because women are able to financially support themselves and not doomed to either surrender their fortunes to their spouse if they marry or die alone in their parents’ house if they don’t. It isn’t because despite this outward display of acceptance there is still a powerful undercurrent of disdain and disapproval that rages beneath the surface, and it is revealed, ironically, in attitudes, actions, and admonitions that have evolved out of the minds of single men and married women. But again, responsibility also lies with the women themselves, and whether or not they respect their independence and  thus respect themselves.

Feminism has made men lazy and filled them with a sense of entitlement. At first, because they have to, men seek the strength of a woman that supports herself and they respect her ambition. But then after the contempt of familiarity sets in it is almost as if they think to themselves, “Well if you’re so strong and tough and in control then you do all the work.” But this thought is cleverly translated as it makes the journey from a man’s brain to his mouth, and when he actually speaks these thoughts the words that come out are romantic trappings and empty promises and well-calculated seductions. And the women respond beautifully. They rearrange their schedules and go out of their way, they cater to the men and think they are reacting in a fashion suitable to the current male/female dynamic. It is acceptable for a woman to make the first move or buy a guy a drink. It is acceptable, because she is an empowered woman, to be open about her feelings and generous with her own finances, time, and attention. But the truth of the matter is this male reaction is a blatant retaliation against a feeling of a loss of masculinity,  not an acceptance of a societal shift.

By all accounts she is lured in with pretense that plays on the heartstrings of her own innate desires for love, acceptance, and family, and then when the woman does what she thinks the man wants by his apparent permission given her to proceed, his reaction is the same. He retaliates again, but this time with boredom. He is in his nature the aggressor, the victor, the conqueror, and when that role embedded in the primitive strands of his genetic code is usurped, he does not respond with increased strength as he ought, but rather gives in to his subconscious, though undeniably narcissistic, hatred of the current “system” and responds with indifference and apathy. This is his only course of revenge, because the innate views of the less evolved male are now archaic social prototypes tucked safely away in the volumes of Jane Austen novels. And it works, because actually women love Jane Austen novels and so are eager to be the own makers of their ideal instead of facing the agonizing wait for letters from a suitor, and this often leaves a woman pandering in the dust who had no need for the man in the first place.

When it comes to married women’s view of single women, there are most certainly exceptions to the following rule, including women who are indeed married to their true love who may or may not have children, women whose destiny it is indeed to have children and raise them, and married women, usually much older, who are too wise to care. But the married woman that sold out is the arch nemesis of the confidently single woman and has always been prominent in the social strata, but unfortunately in a world of mystique-weary men who choose the path of least resistance, this group is sufficiently expanding in its cruelty to the single lady.  At least in the nineteenth century when a woman sold out she was either having her honor rescued or her fortune increased, either way she was finally en route to obtaining at least a semblance of personal freedom, and at the very least it was an escape from her parents’ home. Today the majority of sell-out brides are entering into marriages from a place of lack. Instead of truly desiring a home, a commitment, a family, the strains of opposing feminist views confuse them and they take the matrimonial step because they don’t want to be lonely, they don’t want to pay all of the bills by themselves, they don’t want to be ostracized for being single. Then single women refer to them as sell-outs. And so is cleft a veritable divide between the female race that is nearly as inescapable as it is damaging.

Then flips the coin to the other side, the second edge of the sword, the other variety of single women, who have exploited the acceptance of public affection and cleavage, those who have taken an increased tolerance of sexual freedom and turned it into their absolute only basis for personal identity. Under the self-made guise of independence and detachment these women offer themselves and their bodies to men completely indiscriminately, and the problem is that the results are far from the progressive nature of those that propel a cause, or a people, forward. Namely, the result is a complete lack of respect, although the methods used to obtain them were born out of a movement that gave women the right to dress, act, think, or marry in whatever fashion they desire. Thus, this side of the problem rests not in the initiative, but in the women’s ability to carry out its purpose correctly. Ladies need no longer fret over the accidental revelation of their ankles, they are no longer required to wear a dress or high heels, they can talk openly with a male about the female body’s functions (if they so desire…), but just because it’s a woman’s right to dress like a whore and let men grab her ass and give it up too easy does not mean that  she is necessarily taking the most advantage of being an empowered, independent woman by doing so. In fact she is ultimately thwarting progress, because the seeds and the fruit of this behavior are both a low self esteem that perpetuate disrespect. There was a time when women were not even allowed into libraries. Instead of celebrating the rights of women with a mini skirt, a tube top, and a purse full of condoms, read a book.

The keys to true feminine power and progress lie in unity, solidarity, consistency of beliefs, and most importantly in the throws of self respect, for it is the responsibility of the individual woman to make choices in her life that speak to her and that move her, from a place of response and inspiration, not from the shallow grave of societal expectations, no matter which way they swing. A woman’s determination and dedication to her powers of intuition, compassion, and multi-tasking must be put to the use that She sees fit, in concordance with the One who made her to be no more a man and no less a woman than she already is.

When a woman demands equality she is in essence denying herself of the power inside her. Women are not men and they should not be treated like men, women are not merely capable of competing with men they are capable of beating them, and the ineffectiveness of this push for equality is evidenced by the growing yet cleverly disguised contempt for her efforts. A woman should first, and always, earn the utmost respect to which she is undeniably entitled, and then she will not have to concern herself with playing the game, because she will have already won.

 

 

 

*’They’ is the most quoted source for irrefutable fact in the entire course of human history. “Well you know what They say…” ‘They’ can also refer to the collective powers that be, whether natural or supernatural, that reportedly control the tides of modern existence. They want you to think a certain way (their way) or not think at all.

How to Lose a Debate with a Liberal… On Purpose.

This will probably come as a huge shock to many who know me now, but I was once, not too terribly long ago, a hardcore conservative. The only channel I watched on TV, ever, was Fox News. I even had this little poster that said “Republican Girls Are Hotter.” Now to shock and amaze the people who knew me then, I am not a Conservative Republican anymore. But neither am I a Liberal Democrat. I’m not Independent, either. I Am Aware. Aware that the only purposes labels serve are to divide and cause dissension; aware that what goes on behind the closed doors in this country is much deeper and darker than the watered down propaganda that assaults us daily. I am aware that this country was founded by people who had the courage and tenacity to do something that had never been done before, yet I am all too aware that this legacy has been bastardized and we are now a country full of lemming-like people who only want to do what everyone else is doing, while simultaneously condemning those who do not uphold a standard of “normal,” which in essence does not even exist, except of course, as an arbitrary and unattainable standard.

So to the conservative front I ask, how is it that you can say you believe in small government, yet believe at the same time it is the right of the government to judge sexual preference and what women can do with their bodies? Morality, it seems, is simply a breeding ground for intolerance. And to the liberals I ask this. How is it that you can promote personal identity and far-reaching social ideals, yet believe that the government and the self-made rich have an obligation to help people who will not even help themselves? To everyone, I exhort the notion that our entire view of our country today is disillusioned, and we perpetuate the confusion by insisting on discussing the solution without even knowing what the problem is.

***** (Click here to learn about the problem)

I can teach you how to lose a debate with a liberal, it is simple. I can’t teach you how to lose to a conservative, because in their eyes there is no reason to debate, “that is how they were raised!” and they have no time to pretend like they are listening to you. But with the other side of the aisle, the policy-driven intellectual elitists (that’s a compliment, well, at least the last part is) are ready at a moment’s notice to dissect and analyze the logistics of the proposed “solutions” and how they make logical sense and are a good move for the country and the betterment of everyone. They also want to know what exactly it is within the law that induces your dislike for it, and that is why, and how, I lose. Every time. Because I don’t give a rat’s stinking ass what is in the policy, the only thing with which I choose to concern myself is what is behind the policy, and the implications and danger it suggests for the future of our country.

I would not even attempt to tell anyone which specific line and paragraph I do not like about certain policies, and I am not at all afraid to admit that I do not spend my time with my head buried in convoluted legislature and mind numbing newscasts.  I have a general distaste for the operations of the modern federal government as a whole, and I do not care to listen to the guy who gets paid by the guy paying the government to tell me what he thinks I need to know. I am unable to debate the merits or shortcomings of the law because I have no decisive, factual information and absolutely no desire to obtain it. This is not to say I do not have well thought-out arguments or opinions based on fact, my facts simply come from sources that retain a blanket view of the outside perspective, sources that are not always considered viable by those who choose to merely believe anything they are told instead of searching their own head for common sense analysis. Someone asked me why we have a certain inane and ridiculous traffic law that no one knows and much less abides by, and I replied “I dunno, they probably just have laws like that so they can pull over black people.”  My opinions and theories are just those, opinions and theories, but they are viewed and expressed from an unbiased, philosophical perspective of human life and our purposes, duties, and responsibilities as individuals, and those within the ranks that “govern” us, a perspective I have been cultivating and pursuing for over fifteen years. Perhaps it is also a result of having read way too many Nancy Drew novels as a child. The most famous literary female detective of all time always found her who by following the why.

Let me put it this way, in the light of our most recent policy crisis: As I see it, Obamacare is duct tape on the Titanic. It is not a long term solution; because it reeks of a desperate attempt to further enslave a country’s people to a system that is corrupt but profitable, and therefore now a modern American Institution. The problem is not that Americans need insurance to receive medical treatment, the problem is that Americans have to have insurance to receive medical treatment in the first place! There would be no need for insurance, except catastrophic perhaps, if the medical industry was regulated and not allowed to price gouge any more than a gas station during a hurricane evacuation. But we turn a blind eye to the fact that the Titanic is sinking, and rather prefer just to put a piece of duct tape on this hole that we found. And look how pretty the duct tape is, what’s your favorite part of the duct tape? What don’t you like about the duct tape? Who fucking cares?! It’s duct tape!!!

Furthermore, I believe the debates over this issue are meaningless and insubstantial because all they do is divide us as a people, pit one side against the other, red against blue, my opinion, your opinion, yada yada yada. All those “yada’s” do nothing more than serve as a veil over our eyes and as a car-wreck-like distraction which aligns our focus on the conflict, and not the solution… the ugly, deadly show, and not the beautiful wide road up ahead. The true and only solution will not arrive until we unite and open our eyes to the fact that the We the People are giving the American government way too much power over our lives and our destinies, and we have relinquished our cultural identity to its private interest pandering. Instead of fostering and perpetuating intelligence and free-thinking like it was designed to do, it has now become a horrified and paranoid wreck, thrown into a tumult by the possibility of unity among those who choose to see its decay, its demise, and its close-to-irreparable disintegration of the Individual. If we were all to cease with the labels and the dissent and the enraging need to be right, we could spend more time empowering ourselves and our minds and less time succumbing to the mass marketing, brainwashing consumerism, and fascination with financial debt. When you free yourself of that label of which you are so proud, when you refuse to succumb to the frenzied need to live up to an inane social standard, when you realize that the only two things you need to live a healthy and prosperous life can be found between your ears and growing in the ground, you will open your perspective and begin to see the motives behind what our government is doing. And when you cease to consume yourself with the logistics of their actions, when you stand up for yourself, as an individual, to live your why with an unrelenting determination that you have a specific purpose to fulfill with your life, more beauty unfolds: You realize that nothing “they” do really matters, anyway.

Always Be Prepared to Walk Away, Part 2

The ability to always be prepared to walk away is found in two places. First and foremost it is found in an unwavering faith that your needs will always be fulfilled. You must know and believe that God and His Infinite Universe are there to surround you and protect you, guide you and bless you. No, this does not mean you can sit at home and wait for a million dollars to knock on your door. But if you are inspired into action, such as a date or an interview, it is not always because, to quote myself, “This is it! I just know it!” At times we are only being guided into a certain situation to receive a blessing or to learn a lesson, or to take another step closer to where we are actually supposed to be. So do not think that these occurrences are God “teasing” you or testing you. They are, however, teaching you. We must enter these situations not with a mindset of making something happen, but in a mindset of being open to receive a blessing, with no expectation what form that blessing will take.

The second place the treasure hunt with take you is the garden of Detachment, where you wander alone. The word “detach” has gotten a pretty bad wrap in modern society. When we describe someone as being detached, it has the connotation of being aloof, or stuck-up, uncaring, or unkind. Get this into your head once and for all. Detachment is good. You must remove yourself from the influence of other people, places, or things, and to do this you must detach. When you do, you will immediately liberate yourself from any control “it” has on you. This is even true of relationships. In her book Why Men Love Bitches [the author] tells women, “Don’t give away the pink slip!” (This particular pink slip to which she refers is not the one referred to when getting fired, rather it is the title for an automobile, like in Grease, “We’re racing for pinks. Pinks? Ya, pink slips. Papers?”) What she means is hold on to your ownership papers. If you put full dependence on whatever is on the metaphorical table during the proverbial negotiation, your desire for it controls you and your emotions.

Dr. Erwin Lutzer, the pastor when I attended Moody Church in Chicago, said once, “God will continually allow Man to disappoint you, so that you learn to put your trust in Him, not in Man.” And humans will, indeed, continually disappoint you. But do you know there is one reason and one reason only for disappointment? When you expect something you do not get. One cannot have false or exaggerated expectations if one is detached. Therefore, there is little opportunity for disappointment. Why? Because you came to the table prepared to walk away if the terms or the people are not beneficial to your life.

Think about Facebook for a minute, I know it’s not hard, that is probably how you got to this page in the first place. Don’t worry, I am not judging, I was there just before you to post a link to this page so you could get to it. If you are anything like me you do, however, give the premise of Facebook a bit of pause, thanks to all of the big brother and privacy conspiracies floating around out there which are all but too believable. My use of the social media tool has not waned, however, because I have justified it with the realization that it really is nice to keep in touch with everyone.

As Hamlet says, “Aye, there’s the rub.”

Maybe we are not meant as humans to be that connected, has anyone ever thought about that? In the past if someone was a bitch to you in high school, you graduated and never thought about them again, but now, all of the sudden same bitch who is still a bitch wants to be your “friend,” and it is okay because you are more concerned with what she is up to and whether or not you turned out prettier or more well off than you are concerned with the fact you are letting negative energy into your life. Then add to that the immediate dismay if you post a status and eight people don’t “like” it right away, and that my friends is a recipe for a severely detrimental attachment. Some of your friends on Facebook are people that you would not even recognize if they were walking down the street, yet you daily air your grievances to them and even worse, you have to read what someone had for lunch that day or how much more awesome they are than you because they went to the gym. Then you don’t post that hilarious picture because some people may not approve, and you don’t ever say anything about smoking weed because God forbid anyone know you smoke weed. All of these worthless attachments, zombie-like interests in, and concerns for the mundane are harmful and they wear away at your soul. And they further distract and detract from two fundamental truths: that you can be anything you want to be and f*@% ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

Not all who wander are lost.” -J.R.R. Tolkein

“Why does everyone in my life always worry about me?!” She thinks, humored by the bold truth that provoked a mischievous laugh.

That she was me. And everyone in my life is worried about me. And that makes me laugh. Not a mean laugh, just an if-they-only-knew-how-okay-I-really-am laugh. Life is pretty straightforward for some people. Then there are the 3% like me that twist and weave and turn and bend and go with their gut, not their head. I trust my intuition, I look for God everywhere and that is how I discovered this amazing Universe of His. It has taken me some amazing places, and it has taken me some mind-numbingly boring normal places, and it has taken me to some deep, painful, gut-wrenchingly awful places. Guess  what? I will go to all of those places again. That does not mean I will be afraid. That does not mean I will sacrifice my freedom and my dreams in order to avoid them. And I speak not only of the painful places, there are many who fear the amazing. I was one of those people. A martyr mindset, an inability to truly believe that I was worthy of what I wanted, and therefore completely unable to make it manifest.  Still the dream held fast, and I would not let it go. At my lowest points it was the dream that lifted me back up. Yes, indeed, I may have taken the long way, but the destination has always been the same.

Paulo Coehlo calls it the pursuit of your “Personal Legend.” I like that term. It feels so regal. That is exactly how it should feel. We are all children of God and heirs to His kingdom. Freedom, peace, abundance, prosperity are all within our reach. Open yourself up to receive them.

The first step in realizing this is being aware that Everything is a Sign. Get the words random, coincidence, and mistake out of your vocabulary, and start looking at everything. Read the labels, look at numbers everywhere, always look at the moon, observe nature. Take time to stop. We all hate stop signs, I hate stop signs with a passion, so perhaps that has something to do with how we are so conditioned as a people to go, go, go. And going is not just going, constant mental and audio stimulation is going, too. Seek silence. Seek solitude. Seek still. No, I do not mean you must spend an hour amid the lilies and the tulips, at first just take small opportunities throughout the day to take a moment, get out of your head, and look around you or even better, look up. See how everything around you moves together, it is then that you will begin to open yourself up to God’s teachings. You can read, yes, you can go to church every Wednesday, but I believe that you will never truly know God until you begin to see Him in every last facet of your life.

I was raised a Christian, and on my spiritual quest to shed religion and truly find God and only God wherever or whoever he was, I discovered the Universe. At first I wrestled trying to reconcile this seemingly New Age term “Universe” to what I knew of God thus far. Was it a contradiction or an anomaly to believe in a Universe and also in God? What I realized eventually was no way Jose is it at all at odds with a belief in God, because it’s God’s Universe!! Then I began to understand how nature and the forces of the Earth played their pivotal role in creating this undying, unwavering energy force that invades every last microscopic atom of anything and everything in existence, and even the things that are not. Einstein taught us a hundred years ago that time is an allusion, everything exists at the same time it is only a mortal experience that we see one thing at a time. The last thing I saw referring to Einstein was accompanied by a grossly exaggerated caricature that made him look like a fool. Blasphemy. No wonder the underlying themes of his teachings have been so utterly lost. And do not think for one moment that is a coincidence, either. When you open yourself up to the beauty of the Universe in all of its order and brilliance, you will also begin to see the evil. This was intended and designed: know your enemy.

It is with this knowledge that you gain true freedom, for you remain steadfast in your belief that not only does everything and everyone have a purpose, we also have the power within us to be anything that we want to be and do anything we want to do and have anything we want to have. No outside forces, no government, no economy, no oppression, no suppression, no red tape can keep you from accomplishing your goals and living the life you can imagine. But it has to begin inside.

I was debating with a quite practical man this evening and he said to me, “95% of people out there don’t like their jobs and aren’t happy at work.” That was quite simply one of the saddest things I had ever heard, and if that person believes that then it is no wonder why he is miserable at his job. Because he thinks that is the way it is supposed to be.

I am not advising, yet, that everyone should aspire to more and go look for a new job. That again is a detrimental mindset because it still puts too much importance on the job. The issue I am addressing here is that the job has nothing to do with it. You must learn to be grateful for what you already have before you will ever be able to have what you really want. Gratitude emits joy. Joy is not happiness, happiness is derived from the external surroundings, but joy is the real pursuit, because joy is permanent. Joy begets peace and peace is also permanent. Someone remarked once of feeling peaceful around me, and I replied, yes, well, isn’t that the ultimate goal? Peace? And so it is. Joy and peace work harmoniously together within you to produce an unwavering assurance and faith that every step you take is in the right direction, even when it appears to everyone else that you are dancing a jig.

 

Always, ALWAYS, Be Prepared to Walk Away, Part 1

In my two years as a car salesman I attended countless seminars, training sessions, and “inspirational” meetings. And by inspirational I mean a bunch of great sounding mumbo jumbo that really made no sense to me whatsoever. I sucked at negotiating, I knew it, and I had no idea how to fix it. I listened intently to every trainer, every manager, and in theory I understood what they were trying to tell me, but none of their instruction made any sense until a mere two days ago, many moons from my last tour of duty as a “cement soldierTM.” Train all you want, but battle is the best teacher. This particular instance was a negotiation for which I was not at all prepared. Despite the ample dose of wisdom God has given me, I never cease to maintain an even more ample stash of naiveté, blindly whistling along and looking at the clouds thinking everyone desires peace and harmony and beauty as much as I. You know how two dudes can get in a bar fight and five minutes later sit down at that very same bar and have a beer? Unlike women, with whom the slightest conflict results in utter and absolute decimation of the relationship, and an expectation for all mutual friends to do the same. In this instance I prefer to approach life like a dude, with an insane capacity to forgive and a refusal to hold a grudge. When a conflict is initiated and acknowledged, my thought is, “now we can all be adults and move on.” Enter Kimber, with her faithful sidekick innocence on one side and a beer bottle flying towards the other.

My humble and most critical opinion is that I made an incredibly poor showing, but I got home and realized that I had won. I may have gotten a little too emotional (shocker) and there is a sliiight possibility that a little of the “ghetto chic” came out in some of my delivery (yes, I have a little ghetto in me, I listened to a little bit too much rap music when I was in high school). But I won. And the moment I realized I had won came, not coincidentally, immediately after my remembering that at one point during the negotiation I gathered my things and began to walk away. I said, “You know what? You are right. That was our agreement and I’ll take it on the chin, I don’t want your money.” Well something happened when I did that. The person on the other side of the table suddenly wanted to give me the money. It was not as much as I had asked for but it was way better than nothing, which is where he started, and it was double his previously purported opinion of the market value. But the amount did not really even matter; it was that I had made him want to give it to me, when he had previously not wanted to give me anything at all. How did I do that?! Oh yeah! I started to walk away.

My first thought was how the behavior on the other side of the table is a good indication of human nature and how we like it better when things are our idea, and how paradoxically we would much rather help someone that doesn’t need help.

But let’s go back to what was happening on my side of the table when I decided to walk away. It certainly was not a strategic maneuver, as mentioned early I am (was) a horrible negotiator and such a “trick” would never enter my mind, my brain simply does not work like that. I despise manipulation and I have enough trouble trying to monitor my own actions I have no need to try to control someone else’s. What I realized was that something clicked in my head that said this conflict is not worth the money. My decision was twofold. On one hand I just decided to take it like a man and be the bigger person because I was done letting these people make fools of themselves by tripping over their own lies and inconsistencies and simultaneously piquing my outrage at their ignorant arrogance. On the other hand I just decided I didn’t want the money. And I really didn’t want their money. And guess what? As soon as I didn’t want it anymore, they wanted to give it to me.

Of course the obvious deduction is that one must enter into any negotiation or interview as if they are not worried about the money. But as I imagined the many negotiating tables in my future, most of which will concern much more than the paltry sum of this transaction, I realized that money has even less to do with it than that.  In fact, negotiation in a business deal is not about the money one single bit, not at all, the numbers don’t even matter forget the numbers. Negotiation is about learning the people and deciding whether or not you even want to do business with them. So had I known in the beginning what I was being set up for, and had I learned this lesson prior (impossible of course), I would have walked in like Al Pacino and just sat back and listened to them talk all over themselves and then said you know what, (in my best Scarface voice) “I’m not buyin’ your story, sonny… I’m just not buying your story…” But instead since I went in emotionally and financially vested, I had a stake in what was going on and I weakened my position. The same lesson applies to interviews. You are fabulous, you are wonderful, and they already want you. You don’t need this job you have eight other interviews lined up you just want to know how this place does business and if you like it. If not, you can walk away no problem on to the next.

The sad truth is that many do not feel they have this luxury, to act as if they do not need something, or even someone, and almost no one is prepared to walk away. Especially in this “economy crisis” where everyone has their heads all twisted about how hard life is, they want that job, they need that job, they have to get this job! Since the beginning of time the majority has looked awry at people who make the choice to stay single, so we swing like monkeys from trees, not letting go of one monkey until they can grab another monkey. People smell need like a dog smells fear. Remember the guy or girl in high school that wouldn’t stop calling you even though you made it very clear you were not in the least interested? Sure you do, they sat right next to the guy or girl that you were bonkers over that never even gave you the time of day. Be the high school quarterback, be the gorgeous cheerleader, be Al Pacino. Gain control over your emotions and your reactions by making what is on the table worthless. What is on the table truly has no value. The money has no value; the logistics of having a warm body around are meaningless. The people hold the value. The people you will be working with, or supporting, or to whom you give your time. That is who you want to know. Only after you make a detached, observant deduction of what kind of people they are can you make an educated decision on how to proceed with what’s for dinner.

These decisions matter in life, they matter in your world and in your happiness and in your ability to pursue what you love.  Stop looking at the paycheck, stop looking at what qualities you are attracted to in a person, and start looking at the people. I assure you—  Ramen noodles, eaten at a table with someone you love, taste a lot better than a filet Mignon eaten with an a$$hole.