Someone recently hinted to me that I should write an article about men and their insecurities. I’ve been debating in my head for a while how I should go about addressing this issue. I have come to realise how damaging this issue (of their insecurities) can be to men, mentally and emotionally. Now don’t get me wrong, both men and women have insecurities, but women seem to have an easier time opening up, while men, on the other hand, have insecurities that are thrust upon them since childhood. We are taught that we need to “measure up”.
Sadly, their flawed mindset and limiting beliefs are potentially keeping them from entering into a relationship or connecting deeply with their partners and enjoying their lives more fully. By keeping these fears bottled in, they are crippling themselves and their relationships, too. They assume women judge men for these insecurities and it is no surprise that they sometimes allow their insecurities to manifest in unproductive ways such as indecisiveness, jealousy, controlling behaviour and even withdrawal.
Here are seven common insecurities of men:
This is a big one with complexities on many levels. Many men wonder if they are financially secure enough. Men of our generation grew up seeing their fathers as the primary breadwinners. It may be inconceivable to some of them that they might not be. However, women’s entry into the paid workforce has lifted barriers and shifted family dynamics.
Although there is significant work to be done to level the playing field, many women earn as much as, or more than, their partners. Men have a notion that they need to be financially stable before they commit to a woman.
For example, many men may think, “What if we get married, have a family and I’m not really able to provide for a family? I don’t want to be that guy with the baby crying and the bailiff calls,” or “My friend’s wife left him for a wealthy financial advisor.” Men are afraid to tell their partner when they’ve hit a rough patch financially. I know of men who are scared to tell their wives that they have lost their job or had a significant expense that has set them back. However, hiding something so important can start unravelling the relationship. Women interpret withholding information as a lack of trust in them.
Real talk: Women want to be in a partnership. Do you think you have to lavish your lady with expensive gifts and earn enough to show her a good time? Maybe someone who is solely out for your bank account but not your average girl. A woman worthy of you will value your time, not your money. Do you think less of your wife for making less than you or is what she contributes to your life so amazing that you couldn’t do without her? If it is a partnership and each person is getting what he or she needs, there should not be an issue. Trust her and let her be there for you, too, occasionally.
Men worry about perceptions that their careers are boring and going nowhere. For example: “I dread telling the women about my job. They think that by my age, I should at least be a manager by now.”
Real talk: Organisations are flatter and jobs are broader than they once were. Besides that, everyone has a unique set of skills and talents that they bring to the world, and that includes you. Think about your career less than a series of progressive steps up the ladder and more in terms of a set of rich experiences, relationships built, contributions made, and accomplishments celebrated. When you do what you love, you shine and nothing is more attractive than that.
Men worry about how they look compared to the ideal and how women will judge them for it. There seems to be a perception that the ideal man is tall, dark and handsome or a “redman” with a six-pack and a full head of hair.
Real talk: Women don’t want a Ken doll. Some women like tall men; others like shorter men. Some like trim men; others like men with more meat on the bones. Some women prefer bald men while other women prefer more hair on men.
Still, if you’re unhappy with how you feel in your body, do something about it: take a daily walk, take up a sport, eat better, or take a fitness class. If your receding hairline is getting you down, keep your hair short or shave it all off. Overall, what women want is a real man: one that is comfortable in his own skin, attractive in his own way, who is reasonably healthy, and who loves and cherishes his woman. Accept what you have got because attraction comes in all shapes and sizes. Anyone worthy of you will like you just the way you are.
Many men wonder if they are smart enough. For example: “I get nervous every time I have dinner at Cathy’s parent’s house.” Her parents are doctors, and her brother is a lawyer, I just cannot compete with that. I end up being silent the entire night.”
Real talk: There is book smart, and then there is street smart. Women don’t really care about the letters at the side of your name. Sorry to tell you, MBA is good but not attractive. Emotional intelligence, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management are increasingly becoming factors in relationships.
What is essential in love is your ability to look into the mirror and see your self-worth. Then, it is your willingness to grow as a person and in the relationship, along with her. Remember, you were brilliant enough to pick her and that counts for a lot.
Men worry about whether or not women will like them for who they are. They wonder if they are confident enough, funny enough, charming enough and suave enough to get the girl and keep her. Despite getting a bad rap in popular culture, guys, you need to know that nerds are cool and super sexy.
Real talk: Ditch your pickup lines. Many girls grow up dreaming of marrying prince charming. But seriously, name one princess who was ever truly happy! Women want what’s real, not what’s imaginary. She’ll be more impressed by your life experiences and genuine nature that your made-up lines and image. She wants someone who puts her first, respects her, encourages her, celebrates her successes, and makes her feel beautiful inside and out. Be yourself and you can’t lose.
Am I ‘manly’ enough?
Men feel pressured to win, build, fix, and save the day. Boys are brought up to believe that they must be invincible, physically fight off the villain or swoop down like Superman to save the girl from danger. Men think they need to do it all well to impress a woman.
Real talk: It is not the skill or superpower that matters; it is the resourcefulness and the intent. Girls do appreciate a little chivalry now and then but, guys, you do not have to be Tim the Toolman to score points. Your partner just wants you to listen to her. Find out what would really make your girl’s day and deliver more of it. Make her say, “I couldn’t live without you.”
Performance and endurance
Men seem to be preoccupied with thinking about; “Too little, too much, too fast, too slow, too small or too big.” It is as if somehow size is a measure of performance.
Real talk: Women want an emotional connection. You do not have to be a dynamo.
Remember this golden rule: lots of physical and intellectual foreplay.
If you are suffering in silence, thinking you do not measure up, then stop suffering and rest assured that these typical male insecurities are mainly myths. Don’t let them hold you back from finding that special person or experiencing the relationship you have always wanted. Get out of your head and into your heart. Awareness is the first step. So, now that you know you have these limiting beliefs, what else can you do to stop sabotaging yourself?