Banish Indifference if You Want More Sex Appeal

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Sardinian born Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) was a controversial figure because of his political views. He was one of the most important Marxist thinkers of the 20th century and spent much of his life analyzing social and political issues. Imprisoned by Mussolini’s Fascist regime, he filled more than 30 notebooks with his thoughts while incarcerated. One of the quotes he is noted for is his perspective on “indifferenza”, indifference. Whether we agree with his views or not Gramsci risked life and limb for his passionate vision for society, and openly admitted his hatred for indifference. Living, he believed, meant taking sides. Taking a stance. Having an opinion, and standing up for what one believes. Indifference, to Gramsci, meant passivity. Feeling alive was about making decisions and following them through; which was the guiding principle of his own life.

People in general are attracted to those who live their lives passionately. Many find it difficult to make a decision because they are afraid to “take sides”; afraid to commit. If you make a decision and the outcome turns out to be less than wonderful, you may be blamed for it. Those who are closest to people who are indecisive end up feeling burdened by having to make all of the decisions. The wishy-washy personality is quickly perceived as disinterested in the day to day on goings of their own life .No one wants to be around that kind of psychic inertia.

The way to turn this around is to be passionately involved with each day you are given. Turn your passive indecision into active preferences. Start by asserting yourself in making small choices and then move your way on up to more important ones. Tell your friends and family which restaurant, movie or guest menu you would prefer. Voice your preferences regarding which outfits you like best on your partner, what vegetables you want to plant in the garden this year, and exercise your right to make decisions about yourself without asking anyone else’s opinion—how you want your own hair cut, what color suit you feel like wearing, etc. This doesn’t mean you should act bossy or controlling. I can assure you that once you start playing a more active role in your life you will be perceived as incredibly more sexy and attractive .
Here’s to stepping out of “indifference” and into taking a stance!

——–For more on rebuilding  a life after loss, read “Lemons into Limoncello: From Loss to Personal Renaissance with the Zest of Italy”

 

 

Yes You WILL!

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One of the anecdotes often told of Italian opera composer Gioachino Rossini was of how he used to like to compose his musical scores from the comfort of his bed. One day he was said to have dropped his work on the floor. Too “lazy” to pick it up, he started over again, and as it turned out, he created an entirely new masterpiece.  Since it is probably harder to start from scratch than to finish something you are already mid-way through, perhaps what Rossini really displayed was not laziness but the ability to use his willpower. He actually liked the second version of what he wrote even better than the first, so the work he put into starting over could be seen as a triumph over the complacency to accept what to him, might have been just mediocre.

It is time to stop thinking of yourself as lazy and start exercising your willpower.  While it is true that we human beings have the ability to override the voice inside of us that recognizes the right thing to do , we also have the ability to resist the path of self-destruction (eg sitting on the couch and eating doughnuts) and get back on track with what we are supposed to be doing.  Strengthening our willpower is key.

Dr. Piero Ferrucci, Italian psychotherapist and author of “What We May Be”, gives these suggestions for strengthening our willpower capabilities. He warns that will power, like exercising, cannot be approached excessively. You start out small , with one or two of these suggestions and gradually build up. He suggests the following:

·         Make a plan and stick to it.

·         Say no when it is right to say no and easier to say yes.

·         Perform an act of courage

·         Behave independently of what other people might think or say.

·         Break a habit

So this week, make a promise to yourself to step out of the box of inertia, and begin to take positive action for your life each and every day. In small ways, then in bigger ways. Stand up for what you believe. Don’t just say you value your health, friends, and finances—make all of your ACTIONS stand witness to your words. Make your intentions become a reality with the power you have inside of you—the power of your WILL.

In bocca al lupo! (good luck)

Where True Beauty Lies

Rae at beach                                                                           Photo courtesy of Rich Tortorigi

Exaggerated worries over how we look can distract us from focusing on who we could be.  I often hear women comment that men seem to age better than they do. Panicking about getting older,  they rush out and make a rash decision about going under the scalpel. Perhaps what we really need is to stop running from age, and start developing a new perspective on our eternally youthful inner beauty. Italy’s top beauty expert Diego Dalla Palma casts doubt on the misconception that men age better than women. In his book, La Bellezza Interiore, Dalla Palma admits that aging causes many of his clients the heavy burden of bitterness and suffering; especially if they try to deny the inevitable.  Aging also, however, can bring with it wisdom, an unparalleled wealth of experience, and the ability to take joy in the moment—something we can’t always accomplish in our youth. The author encourages his readers to consider the balance one acquires with age, and the gifts aging brings despite what it seems to take away.

As one who wrote my doctoral dissertation on body image, I would encourage my readers to value aging more. Not everyone makes it to a ripe old age, so to have your good health at 57,  67 , 77 and beyond—is a gift that far outweighs the emergence of a few crow’s feet. Dalla Palma claims that two indispensible characteristics that help us to make the most of our golden years are charisma, and a great personality. When we develop those two aspects of ourselves, it matters little whether we are male, female, chronologically old, young, wrinkled or taut- skinned. When we drink the sweet nectar of life’s precious moments, the people around us are uplifted by our spirit, and warmed by our example. We inspire others when we are living our best life at any age.

Sometimes, bitterness in old age reflects a fear of death.  If that is the case with you, it might help to seek a professional to talk to, a religious figurehead at your place of worship, or even some reading materials (philosophical, religious, etc) that can provide you with insights, some enlightenment, and even some peace of mind. Marco Aurelio, the Roman philosopher said “he who fears death either fears the loss of sensation or a different kind of sensation”.  In Meditations, he reasons that if we lose the ability to feel sensations after death, then we won’t feel any harm anyway. If our sensations change, that means we are experience a different kind of life, different than the one we have now, but we would nevertheless be very much alive. Thus it makes little sense to fear the end of this life. It makes more sense to keep on living life to the fullest for as long as we can.

Here are five ways you can reap the joy of each day:

1.       Cook yourself at least one delicious fresh meal every day, even if you live alone. Meals don’t have to be fancy to be exquisite, nor do they have to have 4-6 courses. Nutrient rich foods prepared in Mediterranean-style will help you to feel alive and strong.

2.       Invite friends over once a week for game night. It could be bocce, briscola, or scopa, but it is important to have friends come over to share some laughs on a regular basis. You will feel at least ten years younger if you maintain a rich social life.

3.       Follow your interests. Whether it is painting, traveling, reading, or stamp collecting. Now is the time to really pursue the activities you feel passionate about. You will have more knowledge and also great stories to share, which will draw people into your life.

4.       Do something kind for someone else every day. Altruism keeps your heart young and flexible; whether it is a gratuitous smile, a gracious offer to open the door for someone, or treating the person behind you in line to a caffe’ latte.

5.       Finally, make sure you get enough sleep each night. We all vary as to the amount we need, but keep in mind that the body needs to be rested and restored on a regular basis. Only then can you function optimally, avoid cravings, and erase the word “crankiness” from your vocabulary.

Now walk away from that mirror and towards the adventures in life that reconnect you to what counts!

©Raeleen Mautner, PhD., LLC 2014, author  Lemons into Limoncello