Where's the Line Between Acceptance and Narcissism?

A commenter to an earlier post about loving yourself asks important questions: "Where does one draw a line between acceptance and narcissism? How does one begin to accept themselves when doing so feels wrong and narcissistic?” In my latest post, I try to offer an answer.

Why So Cynical About Valentine’s Day?

As the Valentine's Day hype machine roars on, so does the Valentine's Day cynicism. Here's why you should resist both.

Why Everyone Should Try Being Invisible

In The New York Times, Akiko Busch heralds the virtues of invisibility, contrasting with trends of increasing narcissism. I add my own personal perspective, drawing on Taoism as well as some of my favorite superheroes and comics.

My 2015 New Year’s Resolution: Find Out What I Can Do

About a year ago, I wrote about my goal for 2014: to stop disappointing myself. How did that go, what have I learned, and how has my goal changed for 2015?

The Other Thing You Need to Look For in a Partner

Not long ago, I talked about the "one thing" to look for in a partner. But there might be something important to look for before that...

How Much Does Political Affiliation Reveal about Character?

Jonathan Chait, a Democrat, says that he would not want his child marrying a Republican, because political affiliations reveal a lot about a person's character. I argue that there's much more to the matter than that...

Why Self-Control Is Only Half the Answer

In a profile in The New York Times, famed psychologist Walter Mischel talks about his legendary work on self-control and his new book "The Marshmellow Test." In it, he makes a important point that is often ignored but is crucial to many who struggle not only with self-control but also with the direction of their lives.

Could a National Happiness Policy Ever Work?

Happiness is a wonderful thing and is what most of us strive for in our personal lives. But is it the proper basis for government policy? There are many reasons to be skeptical...

A Question for Readers: What Do You Mean by "Attractive"?

I'm asking for my readers' help to find out what different people mean when they say they find someone "attractive"—how literally do you use the term?

Marvel Comics Explores Postpartum Depression in "Daredevil"

In the latest issue of Marvel Comics' "Daredevil," the hero's mother reveals to him that she suffered from postpartum depression when he was young. As my good friend Lauren Hale of #ppdchat and "My Postpartum Voice" explains, the creators behind this issue did a terrific job showing, in words and pictures, the nature of this disorder and the stigma that accompanies it.

The One Thing You Need to Look For in a Partner

Many articles offer advice on what you should look for in a partner, usually containing lists of good qualities that you can assess in a person fairly quickly. But there is only one quality you need to look for, and though it may take a little more time to see, it's well worth it.

Why You Might Not Want to Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain

Why do some people have more trouble starting back up after breaks than others?

Is Divorce a Failure?

Some studies define "stable marriages" as good and ones that end in divorce as bad. But is it really that simple? Do marriages have to last forever? Does divorce represent a failure?

The Pros and Cons of Dating Deal Breakers

Many of us have deal-breakers when dating, ranging from pet peeves to serious character flaws. Do deal-breakers protect us from the wrong people, or do they keep us from finding the right ones?

When Your Partner Doesn't Meet Your Needs, What Can You Do?

In the first part of this post, we asked whether a person has an obligation to have sex with his or her partner given that the partner cannot go outside the relationship to get sexual needs met. In this second part, we get to the question of whether dissatisfaction with sex in a relationship justifies going elsewhere to find it.

Does a Sexless Relationship Justify Infidelity?

Many articles discuss relationships that have become sexless and propose ways for partners to overcome this. But what are the ethical implications of refusing sex within a committed relationship—particularly when fidelity is expected? Is there an legitimate expectation of sex, and if it's not met, does it justify adultery?

The Real Problem With Adultery

A new article in "The Philosophers' Mail" discusses "The Pleasures of Adultery," emphasizing the sexual aspect but neglecting the most important part.

How Captain America Can Help Americans Reclaim Their Unity

In a recent comic book, Captain America, the Sentinel of Liberty and fictional defender of the American dream, said that "we’re becoming swaths of red and blue on an election night map. Welcome to the Divided States of America." Can Cap help Americans in the real world become united once again?

Do Men Need to Feel Desired—and Should They?

In an earlier post I claimed that most men don't feel the need to feel desired because they've never experienced that feeling. But an exchange with a reader made me think more about the issue...

What Can We Learn About Love From Captain America?

Captain America has had a rocky love life, always caught between his responsibility as the Star-Spangled Avenger and his longing for a private life—and a romantic one. Can his fictional adventures show us anything about balancing duty and responsibility with love and happiness?

My New Year's Resolution: Stop Disappointing Myself

I usually don't make New Year's resolutions, but I have one this year—and it has to do with disappointment, expectations, and self-respect.

Can a Little Jealousy Be Good for the Self-Loathing?

One of my friends is fond of saying, “I never feel good enough for a woman I like—but I know I’m a hell of a lot better for her than any other guy!” This may be a bit extreme, but the basic feeling is common when we watch our crushes date people who are even less worthy for them than we are! Can this feeling help self-loathers overcome our feelings of inadequacy?

Are the Self-Loathing Also Self-Centered?

Recently, a friend suggested to me that self-loathing is very self-centered. I denied it at first, but the more I thought about it, the more truth I saw in the idea—especially in terms of the things self-loathing people often say to their romantic partners.

Does Everyone Find Confidence Attractive?

The common wisdom maintains that the one thing everyone finds attractive in others is confidence. But is this really true of everybody, particularly those who lack confidence themselves?

How Deep Is Your Love? Another Way to Look at Commitment

At its best, commitment gives romantic partners a "buffer" that protects the relationship from mistakes and other disruptions that could threaten a less committed relationship. Can a marble and a bowl help us visualize the usefulness and the limits of this buffer? Let's see...

Of Course Men Feel Threatened by Successful Girlfriends

A new report shows that men suffer a loss of self-esteem when their female partners enjoy success. While this may just be simple envy—which is regrettable—there may be something else going on.

Why Men Find It So Hard to Understand What Women Want

In his post "What Do Women Want?", Dr. Noam Shpancer emphasized the importance of women's desire to be "overwhelmingly desired." In my follow-up post, I ask how men can understand and accommodate this, given that a) many men have no experience of being desired, and b) many are hesitant to express their desire when it seems to conflict with basic respect and consideration.

Can Captain America Show Us How to Be More Cosmopolitan?

In comics, movies, and animation, Captain America seems to embody the best of what America stands for—but what does this imply about his attitude toward the rest of the world? You might be surprised...

Do the Self-Loathing See the Same "Self" that Others Do?

Self-loathing people see themselves as essentially inadequate, but how well do they really know themselves—and might other people know them better in ways that matter to them, especially where relationships are concerned?

Should We Be So Excited About Lybrido (And Viagra)?

What does the development of drugs to increase libido (such as Lybrido for women and Viagra for men) say about the emphasis we put on intercourse and sex, both in our relationships and in society as a whole?

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