They are human.
Their heart beats wildly, trying to live up to some ideal.
We tend to believe we are a different species but the truth is, we’re much the same.
And I don’t speak for all men or the perspective of all women—just my own. In my coaching practice, I’ve found men stick through what can be grueling self-exploration and deep change, at times, while vulnerability becomes the norm for our sessions.
Men can change.
When they desire true happiness and well-being, they commit (and stick with it) until results show in their lives.
Once a man changes, some women don’t know what to do with the man they’ve been haranguing for years. The man is ready to communicate and work together, yet the woman wants to change him back to their comfort zone. In these cases, the woman feels she is owed something, which can never be repaid; I’ve witnessed it end relationships.
Fulfillment, respect and inner peace become more important and women who share that goal are who will show up in the lives of those single men.
My clients have taught me a lot, as have men in and around my life; they want to be understood, respected and loved.
Men like to fix—they are solution-oriented and they are strong. They are equipped with an innate desire to help and yet, many times are shamed for doing what comes naturally.
So, some men stop fixing; instead they hide, back off or pretend nothing is wrong.
Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
Some men have a need to be a paragon of “perfection” to the world; “the guy.” The weight of that world strangles them, because there’s no real reward for the burden; fulfillment doesn’t come through living up to expectations.
I’ve found they are more hurt than they show when they disappoint someone, so some stop trying—or never do—in an effort to avoid possible shame from not being enough.
Perfection is a painful place to live, filled with fear and the anxiety of possible criticism or failure in being a man. This may be an extreme but fears can keep a man in a pattern that destroys his ability to trust himself to create future happiness.
Some say fear and pain are drivers, instead they fuel activity having nothing to do with true desires in their heart and soul. Pain doesn’t live in the heart and soul…love, creativity, passion, excitement and boldness live there. Men may admit to pain but may cover it quickly with saying how it creates an adventure; the reality is those are words meant to block vulnerability. Many are taught they must assume responsibilities and always show strength.Photo by Agilitynut
Except the definition of strength is a little confusing. Strength is not ego; nor is it pumped-up, hollow words that sound good, competing or harming anyone.
Strength is getting to know oneself, standing respectfully for his own true meaning, the vulnerability of admitting to chinks in the armor and being there for his partner.
Strong men know vulnerability is the key to their soul.
They listen, engage, connect with intimacy, are playful, cry, talk and have fears—but show up anyway—because to them to deny or hide is to be a host to regret.
Men get beat up as much as women, if not more, when it comes to being told they are bad, wrong or not worth it.
So why would one want to be vulnerable?
Well, from my perspective, it stops heart attacks, loneliness and stress.
Relationships teach us more than being alone; being a loner is an easy way out of vulnerability. When you are invulnerable, you attract exactly the same thing to you, which creates a relationship of struggle.
If the man is invulnerable, a vulnerable woman will sooner or later realize the return on investment is at a cost to her, so she’ll seek a man who is strong enough to be vulnerable. If you want a good woman, vulnerability is your true strength…show up wearing nothing but that and she will love you forever.
A gift to men is for you to listen. Don’t judge. Let him talk and talk until he starts to open up; until he touches vulnerability and there is nothing to fear in what is said—and no one is abandoned or ridiculed.
Confidence is born from the expression of what is true for him, no matter if it inadvertently hurts or is hard to hear. Confidence keeps a man from believing he must settle in life or make the best out of a life he doesn’t want. I watch as men, just as often as women, will tell themselves stories, because they are afraid, too.
And fear is part of the human experience.
When a man admits that he is scared to anyone, it shows he has more balls than a dude who can bench press an elephant. Half the battle is saying it and the other half is to take action, which takes him out of his comfort zone.
In Latin, true courage is strength of heart.
For men more than women, they have to detach from the outcome or fear of failure; vulnerability is a way of life, it’s the goal.
Men want to please. They are enough.
Always. Even when you don’t get what you want—and even when they fail.
Tell the man in your life that he’s enough, as is…no different, no worse, no better. No one is wrong so don’t make him wrong.
Share. Be honest. Don’t strategize, manipulate or try to get what you want.
Ask your man to listen. Speak from your heart. Ask open-ended questions, which require a real answer, that you must promise not to take personally. No one needs to purposely annihilate the other; there is no right or wrong, just two different people.
Watch intimacy start to bloom, strength and confidence invigorate—and bring happiness, unconditional love and a deep bond.
Men want this as much you do…they may just have a longer road to the same destination.
Editor: Bryonie Wise
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