A man’s self-worth should not be inextricably linked to the health of his romantic relationship. Imagine how horrible it must be if the value you place on yourself as a man is one hundred percent dependent on whether or not things are going well with you and your woman.
Some men won’t admit this, but because they place such a high level of value on their ability to “make a woman happy” the moment their wives or girlfriends become unhappy with them (or even unhappy in general) they lose their sense of self-worth. It’s as if men like this suffer from a limiting belief, one that equates their personal value with the value of their relationship. Once the relationship falters so does everything else in their lives.
This perpetual dependency has the capacity to immobilize them should the woman they love show any sign of discord. This is a preposterously flawed paradigm to live by. No man should place a major portion of his well-being on his significant other’s approval and agreeability.
The limiting belief that the level of perfection in a relationship equates to one’s self-worth can manifest itself in other ways as well. Some men, in combination with their need to please others may link their self-worth to how healthy their relationship appears to the outside world.
In their eternal quest for approval, they’d rather hide the defects of their relationship in order to maintain the illusion of perfection and/or superiority. But little do they know that they’re not fooling anyone. The
moment someone speaks negatively of their relationship they become self-doubting and visibly insecure. The moment someone speaks positively about their relationship they burst with seeming confidence and aplomb.
Again, I speak of such things not from a soapbox, but from my own humbling experiences. A particularly embarrassing example from my own life comes to mind. My wife and I were once invited to a game-night for couples to play a game called Spouse-o-logy along with three other couples. It’s a game that tests your knowledge of your spouse, kind of like The Newlywed Game television show. At first the game started off quite fun, but as it progressed I soon began to seethe with frustration. We were losing. Horribly.
To make matters worse, I couldn’t figure out why the Dickens I was getting so worked up. As the game went on I grew less and less enthused about playing which solidified our spectacular loss against the other married couples. It was not one of my proudest moments, I can tell you that much.
Now, I am a very introspective person and upon deep pontification the following day I slowly realized why I had lost my cool and taken our defeat so personally. I realized that I had so much of my own self-worth tied to what the other couples thought of my marriage that I couldn’t stand to lose at such a game. Ridiculous, I know, but don’t judge me.
I realized that I couldn’t believe that my wife and I were losing to the other couples. Weren’t we perfect, or at least superior to the other couples? How dare we get those questions wrong in front of our friends and thereby remove the illusory veil of ostensible perfection.
Granted, I did take into consideration that I can be hyper-competitive when it comes to knowledge-based games (it’s a writer thing). I also admit that I HATE losing, perhaps even on a cellular level. But even with those considerations I grasped that something was very off about my attitude towards the whole thing.
I took the loss far too personally and this was BEFORE we were even mid-way through the game. It wasn’t logical, and therefore I deduced that my own inner beliefs about how we looked to others as a couple caused the unnecessary frustration. The challenge thereon out was to redefine my self-worth by becoming more down-to-earth. I needed to
give up my need to have others bear witness to my “perfect” marriage, and I also needed to simply lighten up.
It’s important for a man to learn from his experiences, no matter how painful, embarrassing, or humbling they may be. This was definitely one of the more humbling experiences and it taught me a great deal of some of my own inner struggles at the time.
Not taking yourself so seriously helps a great deal to keep your head out of your behind. Besides, in retrospect, no one cared that we were losing.
Each couple evidently had their own issues; issues that they laughed about together and took in stride. Lesson learned, and I’m a better man for it.
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