There is little accommodation, culturally speaking, for not feeling self-confident or in control.“The man your man could smell like,” a recent video from the popular Old Spice online marketing campaign, stokes that low-self-confidence, from an olfactory level.One man confessed that he can only hold that facade up for so long, that image that tells others “everything’s fine and that I’ve got it all under control.” But it’s often the emotions that take control of the men on the inside, not the other way around.
It tells us we’re not worthy, we lack confidence, we’re weak or we’re simply not mastering our lives.
As a psychotherapist in private practice in Phoenix, I specialize in working with men, and the issue of healthy self-confidence attaches onto most other issues men seek counseling for.
We know how we “should” be, and it seems everyone’s got an idea of what it means to be self-confident. Our head is swimming with millions of other people’s messages all clamoring for mental airtime, and it’s quite distracting when we need to be trying to tune into our own inner knowing instead.
We’ve gotten messages (or a lack of them) from so many different sources—parents, schools, media, women—saying we don’t measure up in some way. Inside our heads, we may intellectually feel secure knowing she loves us, or that we’re killing it at work, or that we are indeed “good enough,” but our gut pumps out another kind of message.
“For all our technology and comforts,” Gilbert writes, “he found us a people in conflict with ourselves.” Validating and supporting yourself is a critical element to increasing your self-confidence.
Many men didn’t grow up in an environment that was supportive or validating of their aspirations, or of themselves.
So, learning to tune into this deeper knowing may not always be pleasant, and it may be contrary to other people’s messages, but it can bring insight where your mind has been unreliable.
Sometimes, negative emotions come up for us when we sit with them, such as in meditation, journaling, therapy, private time or other contemplative practices.
These kids grow into men who lack self-esteem, and can’t develop the tools they need to function in the world, including self-confidence.