Why Self Development for Men is Good for Women Too
Since I started this whole project to help men improve their confidence and self-esteem, overcome their anxiety in talking to women, dating, and having a great relationship, I have received a lot of support from women. I appreciate those women who have taken the time to read and understand that I am not promoting the brand of male empowerment that pits men as victims of reverse discrimination, and at war with women. That said, I have felt pushback from different female therapists online at different points over the past two years. That criticism has hurt I must admit. It is obvious from their comments that they had not actually read my post and were reacting reflexively to what they thought I stood for. I have also seen some of the comments men have made, which have lead me to understand those women's trepidation (though many more comments from men are sensitive and breed optimism in healing the divide between the genders that does still exist). I decided that I should follow my own advice, and instead of dwelling on the criticism, I could transform this into something positive. What a great opportunity to write a post about the intentions behind my practice in a short manifesto and and make my point of view clear to everybody about how truly confident and happy men are also good for women.
When a man has real confidence which is at the core of self-esteem he no longer becomes angry at women. The reason I believe this is true is because a man who is comfortable and confident with himself and relating to women knows that if one woman rejects him he can move on from that rejection, still content with himself, and try again with another woman who reciprocates his interest. A man who is not confident in this way becomes overly attached to whether the one interaction works out the way he wants it to, and takes it personally when it doesn't. The focus is all on this one interaction that did not go his way, and to avoid feeling this pain again, he avoids any new opportunities to meet someone... and he dwells. Nothing good comes from dwelling on emotional pain. Often with men anger is a secondary, reactive emotion to feelings of a more vulnerable nature: hurt feelings, shame, embarrassment. If a man can be comfortable with himself he can handle rejection in a much better way because his sense of self-worth is not attached to whether a woman likes him or not. In this situation a woman can be more comfortable making her choice without fear that the man will be angry at her or harbor guilt she is not responsible for because her rejection hurt the man's feelings so badly.
When a man can better understand a woman's point of view and not take rejection or something he might not have previously understood personally, there is less anger directed back at women. This leads to a decrease in confusion and frustration with women, and less chauvinistic thinking.
A truly happy man does not blame a woman for his problems, does not harbor a general anger toward women, does not take rejection personally, is ok with a woman making a choice not to date him, can accept when a woman makes a choice to break up with him, does not have to lie to a woman to get what he wants, can be clear with his intentions, and celebrates his partners success (even when he is not experiencing success himself), etc.
I think that the women who are critical of my posts about helping men improve their confidence waywardly believe that this is going to somehow embolden men to treat women badly. What these women don't understand is that the men who are devaluing women, who have a chauvinistic perspective, actually do so from a place of low confidence, poor self-esteem, and a low sense of value of themselves. Anytime any human being treads on another human beings emotional wellness or tries to knock another fellow human being down a peg, it is due to their own low self-esteem, period. So I am not afraid of my approach here leading men on some sort of rampage against women, because when a man values himself he will value other people to, them same way a woman who values herself will value the well being of and wish the best for everyone. Negativity breads negativity. Positivity breads positivity (it doesn't lead to more negativity!)
If a man leaves therapy or a stint of coaching with me, or reads one of my blog posts and goes out and does something to undercut the self-esteem of a woman, or does or says something chauvinistic, or does something to act oppressively toward women (any other group or individual), then I see my job as incomplete. Of course, every client only goes as far in their therapy and self-development as they decide is right for themselves. I cannot decide what is right for their life on their behalf. The concept in my practice is that any person using confidence and self-esteem to hurt or insult another person is operating from a false sense of confidence and does not truly have esteem for him or herself. That is what I encourage and hope men will work toward.
If you're interested in learning more about how men get in the way of the relationships they want sign up below:
Photo courtesy of andrewrennie (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29712408@N02/4374621801/in/photolist-7Ez5DP-dL6jVr-5YVq85-bst32K-4WveZx-4WztcE-8iGppk-8aFzQD-88CNLD-88G4Ao-sjUbb-7HidBB-5Et8PM-5s7NNT-5xU9Yt-8WmFun-bv1WYY-aftWwZ-7QwFF4-dFmnNQ-eewU4H-7QRRDQ-5Se2L9-9o7mLD-96ntzZ-8vEXcj-9eZm4A-eW1xcN-aeswB8-7RYTnr-7npeeC-aejeLL-7n5yfT-7noK5S-7n9xVW-6Xzank-bwRNJ3-6XzVs4-4tP49c-6XzXVK-7KfZXe-7KjT17-7KjYth-7Kk1qb-7Kk2tS-7kV7ux-7kUdRt-7m33eb-7kVbTD-7kXWpb-7kYaHu)