Benevolently Sexist or Chivalrous? Whichever, More Please!

life coaching los angeles

I have missed you and am so excited to get back to writing you!

Let me preface by saying I know for some; this post might stir up big emotions. My intention is to offer you a wider lens with which to view some well-meaning men that live by a set of traditional masculine morals. I won’t be focusing on what I believe to be the exceptions; men that pay for dates expecting sex in return or those that offer to carry heavy grocery bags implying we are too weak to do it ourselves.

I’m speaking of gentlemen. Yes, I know, they actually exist! The well-educated men that respect women’s professional drive and accomplishments but simultaneously feel good about taking the initiative of asking a woman out on a proper date, paying for most and making sure she is safe by walking on the traffic side of the street.

I can hear some of you thinking “great Irene but what the hell is benevolent sexism?” I’m glad you asked because I had never heard of the term before last night, but felt inspired to learn more. It refers to a theoretical framework developed by social psychologists Peter Glick and Susan Fiske which reinforces traditional gender roles signaling women need to be protected by men.

One study posted on Journals.sagepub.com published by Kathleen Connelly and Martin Heesacker explains that even though previous research proposes benevolent sexism as an ideology that sustains gender inequality; some very much support it, as it has also been linked to greater life satisfaction. Besides these findings Connelly is against it as it presumes “women are wonderful but weak.”

Although the second- wave feminism movements overarching goal was to achieve gender equality, it confused the hell out of many men that value more traditional behaviors. Gentlemen in the baby-boomer generation knew how women expected to be treated. They had a more courteous approach towards women. Men wanted to lead and believed it was their role to provide a certain type of security; financial and physical towards women they loved. Today roles are undefined both men and women aren’t sure how to act, what to say and what is actually desired by the other.

I had such an interesting coaching session last week with a charming Gen-X male entrepreneur whose topic of conversation sparked my curiosity and moved me to dive a little deeper on this subject. He said he was raised to believe it was common courtesy to open doors for women and pay for dates but sometimes felt torn to act with integrity as he didn’t want to be viewed as a sexist ass.

As a result of this conversation, what really sparked my interest was, what do women, especially devoted feminists feel about men that express some old school courting?

A study of 782 women in 5 experiments conducted by Pelin Gul a post-doctoral research fellow in the Dept of Psychology at Iowa State University found that women were more attracted to benevolently sexist men than their counterparts, despite knowing these men were more likely to be patronizing and controlling.

The findings show women interpret men who confidently go after what they want and cherish women as signs of a partner that will commit, protect and provide. The reality is, women want men who make them feel physically, emotionally and financially safe, period. This is the case no matter how professionally successful they are.

Drinking the Kool Aid of women don’t need men and we can have and do it all on our own came with the cost of believing we should be doing everything on our own. This led to a whole lot of high-achieving but lonely women.

There has never been a time in history where women had more pressure or expectations on their shoulders. We’re juggling building businesses, managing employees and doing whatever it takes to keep up with the ridiculous cultural beauty expectations while simultaneously taking on twice as much on child care and housework. How much more fulfilling would our lives be if we released some of our control and allowed these men to take the lead and do more for us?

Wishing you a wonderful rest of your day!

P.S. I would love to be connected with you on Instagram and see what you too are up to.

You can find me @Irene.abbou

XOXO,

Irène Abbou

3 Relationship Hacks for Real Love Right Now!

Hello Beautiful,

I hope you are staying healthy and remembering to believe in big things!

The below blog is on how to build your character and confidence to bring in your perfect partner.

Harvard’s longest running study proved that the quality of our relationships are the single largest predictors of the quality of our lives. After nineteen years of marriage and relentlessly examining the findings of relationship experts; I can say without hesitation and a huge dose of gusto that the most important relationship of our lives is the one we have with ourselves. Taking the steps to creating the most irresistible version of our self is the portal to being ready for the magical and meaningful love story we desire.

Nourishing our inner child, being responsible for our happiness and letting go of the sexual patterns that do not serve us, play an essential role in the satisfaction of our romantic relationships. We make more insightful partner choices when we’ve invested in our personal development bank account. Settling for crumbs is no longer an option when we know who we are and feel enthusiastic about the trajectory of our life.

Instead of wondering what it takes to stop repeating unhealthy relationship cycles put your focus on the three fundamentals for real love right now, and watch what real transformation looks like!

  • Embrace your inner child’s needs. Often, we dive into relationships wide eyed and bushy-tailed expecting this new romance to be the missing link to the life of our dreams. In the movie Jerry Maguire Tom Cruise’s famous quote “you complete me” was a perfect depiction of how so many of us expect our love interest to transform our lives. This will usually end up looking like a Picasso painting. I know since I’ve shared many not so romantic evenings with spatulas of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream before acknowledging that I had to do the uncomfortable inner-work. Prior to feeling emotionally safe in any relationship it was necessary to learn to love myself and meet my needs so I could stop repeating painful love patterns. Maybe your inner child’s greatest fear is losing your freedom so you perpetually sabotage relationships when things get too close. This is a classic. Whatever your pattern, it’s worth paying attention to what situations and emotions trigger (an emotional response that is not equal to the event) you most. These are great indicators of childhood trauma that hasn’t yet been resolved. Awareness, belly-breathing, witnessing your reactions as an observer and listening to the messages of your body are great stepping stones to finally ending unsatisfying relational loops.
  • Be the sole provider of your happiness. Happy women are irresistible! Women who are intentional about creating a life they feel excited about are radiant and confident. According to Martin Seligman, one of the founding fathers of Positive Psychology, the five building blocks to happiness can be remembered by the acronym, P.E.R.M.A; Positive Emotion, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment. Make a conscious effort to show up from a place of abundance by loving your life prior to meeting your one. Schedule weekly recurring time for activities that evoke positive emotions and get you into flow state (pleasurable experience’s that seem to stop time and shuts down our inner critic). Even one hour a week of in real life time with friends or family has the power to transform your emotional state from black and white to technicolor. Accomplish small goals daily that will move you closer to your long-term dream. Add meaning to your life by being of service to a cause greater than yourself. Performing acts of kindness, volunteering for an organization you feel connected to or creating fun, non-tech rituals with your children can be hugely gratifying.
  • No sex before commitment. This fundamental is especially for heterosexual women that desire a monogamous long-term relationship with a masculine man. I know, I know, I’m going to get a lot of resistance here. There is a real modern-day treasure in Dr Pat Allen’s old-school teachings on “no free sex.” This encourages women to avoid being sexually intimate with men prior to a commitment. Dr. Pat Allen is a sought-after transactional analyst, relationship expert and author who has made four appearances on the Oprah show, need I say more? On a physiological level, when a woman has even just one sexual encounter with a man, the hormone oxytocin is released which causes her to feel the magic bonding high of falling in love. This will keep her emotionally attached and ruminating about him, sometimes for years despite him having no intention of pursuing anything more than that single evening. Dr. Allen’s definition of commitment is, an agreement that you are both sexually and socially monogamous (it is clear to friends, family and social media that you’re not single) and you have negotiated continuity (how often you’ll see each other and talk that is comfortable for both of you). Sharing our bodies this intimately, too early in a relationship is like offering our most feminine gift to someone that has not proven they are worthy of it yet. This takes our power away and never feels good the following morning. In a world where everything is instant maybe there is something to be said about waiting and really getting to know each other. Maybe old school should be new school.

Sending you love and light!

Heres to taking our own breath away,

xoxo

Irene Abbou

 

 

Irene is the creator of the Happiness Within Reach program which coaches ambitious women to open their hearts to self-love while forming meaningful interpersonal relationships with others. She is an ICF, ACC Certified life and business coach who holds two certifications from the University of Pennsylvania on Positive Psychology and is trained in the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy. This integrates forty years of scientific research, based on the Sound Relationship House Theory. Irene has helped hundreds of women get reacquainted with their hearts most affirming personal and professional desires and supports them to take action despite their fears. Her mission is to remind women of their indisputable worthiness and capability of creating the extraordinary soul on fire life that is their birthright.

How to Prioritize to Reach your Soul on Fire Goals Fast Broadcast


Hello, My Gorgeous Ones!

If you’re anything like I used to be, you may start each morning half past dead, on your third cup of almond milk latte anxious as all get out to confront the boxes of your never-ending to-do list. Then you may take an extra 20 (mixed-up minutes) to determine what it is you need to tackle first to make it a productive day. The truth is, there really is an easier way. Setting aside 20 minutes each evening to determine our highest priority for the following day, would allow us more free time to do what we love while making real progress to set our goals on fire.

There are various schools of thought for prioritizing our time, but I’d like to share the one method that has made my life so much easier. Let me repeat …sooooooo much easier! Here it goes.

Think of all of the items on your to-do list as little pockets of excess fat stuck to your body. I apologize for the visual, but stay with me. Some of these pockets are fifty pounds of saturated fat, while others are just a measly two or three.Your goal is to identify the two most substantial pockets of fat (your most dreaded, difficult essential tasks) and get that done first thing in the morning before allowing yourself to begin on any other project.

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and someone I have great respect for, often speaks of The Ivy Lee Method. This is a method formulated in the early 1900s by a successful American publicity expert named Ivy Lee. The story is that one of the richest men in this period, C. Schwab hired Lee to help him increase productivity in his steel corporation. When asked how much he was going to charge him, Lee responded, “nothing, unless it works. Just give me fifteen minutes with each of your executives. If after three months it works, you can pay me what you think it was worth.”

Ivy Lee’s suggestions to the executives for optimal peak productivity was the following:

1. At the end of each workday write down no more than six tasks you need to complete the next day, to achieve your objectives;

2. Rank these in order of importance;

3. Each morning, begin with the most important task and DO NOT MOVE ON TO THE NEXT UNTIL THIS ONE IS COMPLETE;

4. Work your way through the rest of the tasks from the most important to the least;

5. At the end of the day, move any unfinished tasks to a new list for the following day; and

6. Repeat this process daily.

The Ivy Lee Method worked so well that Mr. C. Schwab ended up writing Ivy Lee a check of $25,000 (the equivalent of over $400,000 today).

If You’re Not Sure of What Your Priorities Should Be:

(Answer the following questions and keep them as clear as possible.)

  • What are your soul on fire goals personal/business for 2020?
  • What are your values (these should align with your goals)?
  • What will your future self thank you for accomplishing?
  • What are your responsibilities?

Extra Hacks to Succeed:

  • Set an evening reminder, so you don’t forget to write your list;
  • Do Not Disturb: Put your phone in another room and turn off the pings and digs until your tasks are complete;
  • Set Time Blocks: Buy a kitchen timer and set it for an hour before beginning task one. When it rings, take a 10-minute break then repeat timer until you are done. This will provide your brain the break it needs to be diligent;
  • Print and track your accomplished tasks on a tracker to satisfy your minds desire for immediate rewards; and
  • A small reward at the end of the day if you shed the two most prominent fat pockets is a great way to stay motivated to repeat the following day

My wish for you this week is to utilize the Ivy Lee Method to get your most essential tasks done, so you reach the goals that make you excited to wake up in the morning. Please remember to always integrate self-care or brain breaks throughout the day, so you do not burn out or get sick.

Feel free to email me at irene@happinesswithinreach if you would like me to email you a free Habit Tracker Worksheet to more easily track your successes and feel like you are moving forward.

Irene is the creator of the Happiness Within Reach program, which coaches professional success-driven women to open their hearts to self-love while forming deep and vulnerable relationships with others. She is an ICF, ACC Certified life and business coach who holds certifications from the University of Pennsylvania on Positive Psychology and is trained in the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy. This integrates forty years of scientific research, based on the Sound Relationship House Theory. Irene has helped hundreds of women get reacquainted with their hearts most affirming desires. Her mission is to remind women of their indisputable worthiness and capability of creating the extraordinary soul on fire life that is their birthright.

Do You Need to Grow a Non-Judgmental Attitude?


 

 

Do you ever find yourself knee-deep in a shit show of regret after being overly judgmental with someone? Each day we subconsciously make small critical judgements that can have some very big effects on our overall happiness and our relationships with others. We scrutinize Instagram clothing choices or lack thereof-, the car they drive, how quickly they accomplish a job, their intellect and whether or not they’re worthy of dating.

Even though we genuinely want to respond graciously, personal opinions can quickly veer into the territory of exploding brain matter, boiling blood and hurling slurs. This could permanently damage a relationship. The ego is conditioned to fight with word daggers since it keeps us safe, but it also prevents us from connecting. It prevents us growing.

Below are some ways you could be blocking healthy communication.

  • Looking down on a friend for their choices in (fill in the blank)
  • Criticizing your partner for not perfectly placing the dishes in the dishwasher
  • Second guessing a close friendship due to political differences

These reactions all come from impulses (responding without thought of consequences) rather than responsiveness. Vince Gowmon author of Let the Fire Burn, has a brilliant way of looking at it: “Instead of trying to stop ourselves from thinking judgmental thoughts, an easier way is to look through the eyes of wisdom and compassion”.

It only takes a nano-second pause for awareness to be acknowledged

Leo Babauta in his simple 4-step method to avoid being judgmental, uses DUAL

(and no, that doesn’t mean hand your sparring partner a sword):

  • Don’t pass judgment. We can’t assume what’s best for anyone but ourselves (and maybe our children–and even that’s debatable, just ask a teenager)
  • Understand. What’s their backstory? We can never know what unseen trauma someone has endured.
  • Accept (try to). We’re all doing the best we can. Yes, even your self-centered little brother and or emotionally numb mother
  • Love them…and yourself. This is not a “love is blind” type of thing where you stuff it down with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Loving someone despite the differences changes lives. It diffuses turmoil and leads to a brighter existence without unnecessary frustration. We’re all here to evolve our way back to our true nature–Love.

Here are some common impulsive reactions we’ve all been guilty of, and some response substitutions that are much more helpful:

❌ You aren’t doing this right

✔️This is different from what I expected

❌ If only you would stop…

✔️ It seems as though __X__ might be getting in our way

❌ Why did you do that?

✔️ What motivated you to do that?

❌ You’re wrong

✔️ My experience has been…

✔️ I see this differently…

❌ You’re lying. I don’t believe that.

✔️ I’m confused about…

❌ That’s ridiculous

✔️ I hadn’t considered that. How will that work for both of us?

❌ You make me mad

❌ You’re making me feel…

✔️ I get upset when…

✔️ I feel…

It takes effort to build a communication bridge between two humans especially when we haven’t dug deep enough to find commonality. The antidote is curiosity about the other person and where they’re coming from.

I challenge you

👉🏻👉🏽👉🏿 Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to observe your thoughts and triggers today. Notice when you want to spontaneously punch someone (call them names, push them into traffic) you catch my drift. Then…you have a very small window between your desired reaction and your actual one. PAUSE and take two deep breaths. Only then give yourself permission to respond with compassion or tell them you need to excuse yourself and take a ten-minute break. Release the constriction in your body so you can return to the conversation with poise.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Irene Abbou

Im very interested in your thoughts and any ideas on new topics 🙂

You can always reach me on Instagram

Https://www.instagram.com/irene.abbou/