One notorious stereotype about men is that they are “commitment phobes.” This is the number one complaint that I hear from women about men. Does this stereotype hold true? I can’t say definitively. What I can tell you is that I encounter a number of men who have the opposite problem, who try to throw themselves into a relationship (believing ‘she’s the one’) and because of this love dreaming about what it would be like to have a great relationship. However, these two types of men do share one similar difficulty when it comes to commitment. The commitment phobia I want to address is men’s reluctance to commit to counseling or even to self-help.
Unfortunately when counseling or self-help is recommended many men won’t have anything to do with it. Most men snub their noses at any form of self-help, and often at the idea of reaching out for help at all. On a more extreme level some men consider seeking help to be for “wussies.” It can take a tremendous amount of pain or a monumental event before a man decides to take the plunge to accept help. This in large part has to do with social conditioning; men have been conditioned to the idea that they have to always present an air of strength, which is often taken to the extreme of acting as the proverbial ‘macho man.’
In my last blog I demonstrated that the pain and difficulties men experience with women are very real. Cutting edge research using brain imaging makes this apparent in a tangible way, and my hope is that men will read this, see that image, and realize that they have nothing to be ashamed about (http://tiny.cc/4ol92). Identifying the source of the difficulty as precisely as this research does also helps point to what you can do to start traversing these difficulties and live the way you want to live, and be more in control of your emotions rather than your emotions being in control of you.
Once you have:
Identified what is inhibiting your ability to do the things you want to be able to do in your life or be the way you would like to be around women, whether it be approach anxiety, freezing up and not knowing what to say, difficulty connecting/relating or keeping up a good relationship, confidence/self-esteem, and
Made a commitment to yourself to start doing something to overcome these inhibitions
you are ready to take the next steps I will lay out for you.
Even if you have not identified the specific problem or what it is that is getting in the way of doing what you would like to be able to do at this point, doing the 3 things I am going to outline over the next three blogs will help you decrease your anxiety and increase your confidence and comfort level around women or in any other realm of your life you want to improve (including your work life, your social life, your family life, or your life as a parent). Regardless of what is inhibiting your progress, taking the 3 steps I will lay out for you over the next 3 weeks will help you begin overcoming these inhibitions.
Most importantly, to do this requires making not only a commitment to the work, but more importantly means that you make a commitment to yourself. I know that this is not easy for many men. This is why over the next three weeks I am going to give men a bit of a taste of what it would be like to work with me through some self-help exercises targeted toward creating confidence, overcoming social conditioning, decreasing anxiety, and creating a sense of emotional wellness. There is nothing to lose, so give it a try. If you hate it, then at least you can say you tried and can really mean it when you tell people counseling or self-help is not for you.
Over the next three weeks I will provide you my curriculum to test out for yourself, and the week after that I will provide a little bonus information:
Week 1: Creating a Personal Code
Week 2: Emotional Fitness
Week 3: Repeated Exposure to Social Pressure
Week 4: Bonus Info