Why Do Men Have a Harder Time Being Alone?
Why does it seem men have a harder time being alone than women? For one thing, it might be that women socialize with each other and share more than men do. They share both the good and the bad. This may actually be the very reason that makes the experience of being alone so much more painful for men.
Men do not tend to share their pain, but rather try to share their feats and accomplishments in an an attempt to posture or create the impression of strength amongst other men. No man wants to be on the losing end of a competition.
The problem is that it’s an imaginary competition. The rat race is nothing more than a social construct made up by some other person who is no better than you and I. In fact any person who would create such a competition seems like somebody who suffers from an inferiority complex who needs some measuring stick to use against others in order to feel better about themselves.
The template for this is part biological or phylogenetic, but it is also due to the social conditioning we subject boys to. I’ve heard many men, some close friends of mine, talk about the “wussification” of boys that is happening in the U.S. What they mean is that there is a push to teach boys that having their feelings and expressing them is ok, while discouraging competition as the primary outlet for boys to channel these emotions. Does it have to be either or? Can’t we do both?
As a father I have definitely preached to my son to put his best effort, to try his best, and to work hard for the past 13 years. Despite my best efforts the manner in which sports are marketed to us has made it’s indelible impression on his mind, with the constant emphasis on championships (particularly here in Boston where the fan culture revolves around it’s sports teams winning as an eternal all or nothing ultimatum). To counteract this I share with him some of the mistakes I’ve made and how those mistakes have helped me grow as a person. I also openly show my feelings at times in front of him to model that it is OK for men to be vulnerable. There’ve been times that he’s seen me cry. When he cries I support him and tell him that it’s normal to have these feelings and that is normal openly express them. When he doesn’t win or gets in trouble at school I have taught him to always ask himself this question, and I encourage all of you to always ask yourself this question as well (particularly if you feel down on yourself about something that did not go as you had hoped). What did I do right? Or What did I do well?
Always always… I cannot emphasize enough… ALWAYS ask yourself this question, because there is always something you did right, even when it feels that you’ve done everything wrong. Learn to nurture and forgive yourself so you can be open to others again. Teach your children to nurture and forgive themselves. Create this as a daily habit. In this way we may begin to counteract men’s tendency toward isolation, particularly in the face of one of the most difficult emotions men grapple with… Shame. Isolation as a way to secretly deal with shame is the source of many problems for men and this exercise may begin to help short circuit that nonconstructive pathway.
There are not a whole lot of things I can imagine to be more emotionally painful than stewing in shame alone, in secret. This is one major reason I started a men's group this past year... So that men don't need to feel alone in their pain. This first group I have going is for men like you who have felt inadequate, not good enough, undeserving, or reluctant to be more assertive about going after the things you want out of life.
If you're a nice guy who is tired of being left in the dust, not getting the girl, or feel like you keep getting the short end of the stick in relationships, I am running an in-person and online group called Self Respect for Nice Guys. I'm here to coach you how to use your authentic personality to your advantage to get you where you want to be in life, and the type of attraction you want and find a happy, healthy relationship or turn the tide in one that is not making you happy. No more getting walked all over by women, no more seeing only other guys get the girl. It's your turn now... It's time to make it happen! This is for motivated men who are willing to take the next step, but need some direction. If you want to sign up for this group, do so here: www.selfrespectforniceguys.com. This is more than the regular email list. This group is for men who are ready to be active in the next step in their personal transformation.
Make sure to reserve your spot in the group! Availability is limited... www.selfrespectforniceguys.com
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