I still have the basic sensory apparatus these days that would cause me to respond so strongly to these young women's flirtations in the past. But, I had a thought the other day about that. I remembered reading a passage in Intimate Connections by Dr. David Burns. He talks about how the reader responds to "some little morsel of attention as if it were the whole banquet," or some such phrasing as that. He encourages the reader to refrain from latching onto any one person at the stage where others flirt with them. A lot of that book seems to involve an encouragement by Dr. Burns for shy sensitive people to steal from the playbook of more worldly types. I think that taking little flirtations such as the ones I've cited above more in stride constitutes stealing from a more successful dater's playbook.
In Dr. Burn's book Feeling Good, an illustration shows a person taking in outside stimulation through their eye, processing the stimulation with their brain, and then responding to that somehow. Dr. Burns emphasizes that depressed people will interpret a lot of outside stimulation in negative ways, and that accounts for why they feel so depressed so often about so many things. Like I said, I still have the same sensory apparatus I've had for years in regards to the flirtations of young women, but how I ultimately interpret such flirtations reveal a change in me from before. My first reactions to such flirtations these days remind me of the reactions of my youth, but then, it's almost as if new pathways have been carved in my brain, and a more realistic interpretation of such flirtations forms my concluding thoughts.
The other day I submitted a book for an awards competition. I had to get a PDF of my latest comic book and upload it to a website. After I did that I went on and on in my head about whether I even qualified for the competition, or whether I submitted the book correctly. I concluded that pleasing some gatekeeper sufficiently meant less to me than continuing to work on my recovery from love addiction and all of its pitfalls. I probably couldn't produce the art and music that I do these days if I still processed the flirtations of young or youngish women in the same ways I used to. Two out of three of those examples of flirtations from young women that I cited in the first paragraph proved pivotal to the crash and burn episodes the followed.