One of the most common complaints that I hear from women is that they feel totally powerless to a man being or not being in his masculine energy; and exhibiting or not exhibiting those traits that make her feel good in a relationship. And while ultimately the choice and ability for a man to step into his power lies with him and not with her, there is something that women can do in order to feel less powerless in this scenario as well as to play the role of an ally to a man’s masculinity. And doing this is one of the most powerful tools you have for creating a successful relationship with a man. That thing you can do is: Caretake a man’s confidence.
Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance that arises from a person’s appreciation of their own abilities or qualities. This makes people feel good about themselves (like they hold value). This also gives rise to a feeling of self-trust, and personal empowerment. Most women don’t think about the importance of making sure that a man feels confident. Also, because so many women feel powerless to men, the idea of having a huge impact on a man’s confidence is not really something that occurs to women. On top of this, many women have huge fears about a man being confident. We will touch on that later. But it is critical to understand just how important confidence is for a man. Don’t get me wrong, confidence is something that both women and men need. But it plays a very special role in a man’s life. You can think of confidence as being like the necessary precursor for him being in his power and masculinity, which is where those things you love about being in a relationship with a man come from.
Those awesome things that you love about being in a relationship with a man… things like protection, containment, positive ownership, responsibility, leadership, initiative, action, commitment, direction, movement, strength, focus, fatherhood, generosity, encouragement, material abundance/provider-ship, and growth usually depend heavily on confidence. Therefore, if you haven’t noticed already, when a man’s confidence goes down, so do these things. He often ‘flips’ to become the opposite of these things.
It’s important to know that one of the more doomed dynamics that occurs between a man and a woman is that both perceive the other to have “flipped” on them. Usually in this dynamic, the man perceives that in the beginning the woman is positive about him and likes everything about him. Then, suddenly she becomes negative about him and critical. He usually feels confused as to why she’s not happy anymore. To the opposite, the woman perceives that in the beginning he exhibited all of those awesome character traits and then suddenly (or gradually) became the opposite. She usually feels duped into a relationship with a man who is actually the opposite of who he sold himself to be in the beginning. This becomes a ‘which came first the chicken or the egg’ type argument.
Regardless of whether it is the woman’s negative feedback or some totally unrelated thing that negatively impacts his confidence (such as something at work), it can easily become a downward spiral where the confidence decrease causes a man to behave in a way that invites negative feedback from a woman, which decreases his confidence further, which invites even more negative feedback, which decreases his confidence further and so on and so forth, until the relationship becomes nothing but pain on both sides.
The bottom line is, if you want power relative to having a feel-good relationship with a man, find out what makes your man feel confident and put energy towards those things. For a man to be the most strongly in his power, he needs to place his confidence on things that can’t be taken away by others. As much as possible, he needs to make sure that his confidence is not in the hands of others. But people influence each other. No matter how much confidence a man might have, you influence the confidence of the men around you! So, figure out what makes men in general and your man specifically feel confident and be an ally for those things.
I will start you off by listing some general things that tend to cause men in general to feel confidence.
- Having a defined and important role/place where they are useful and needed and wanted. This includes an important place in a woman’s life! Because this point is so important, it would benefit you to watch my other video titled: What Every Woman Should Know About Men.
- Achievement/accomplishment/completing something
- Power (feeling like they are able to bring about what they want)
- Feeling important
- To feel like he is making things better wherever he goes and whatever he does
- Social status (this is why men tend to feel confidence with the certain type of car, the beautiful wife, that certain house, that job etc)
- The recognition of his authority where his authority exists
- Being believed in and feeling like others want him to succeed
- Being encouraged
- Having knowledge
- Having skills
- Practice and repetition
- Feeling strong physically, mentally and emotionally. With this, I must say that it is critical to a man’s confidence for him to feel strong physically and able to move, be active and respond to any given situation, threat, or call to action.
- Taking Pride in things
- Being trusted, especially when he is in a position of leadership
- To see that he has grown/improved
- To have autonomy without losing connection
- Feeling able to protect others and to make others feel safe
- Knowing how to do things and how to solve problems,
- Being able to provide
- Being prepared (ie: being ahead of things and on top of the situation)
- Being active
- Having a sense of purpose/mission
- The ability to please a woman. A man feels incredible confidence when he feels that a woman he is with is happy with him. The reason this is so important for today’s topic is that this is where a problem often happens in a relationship between a man and a woman.
A real relationship is based off of honesty and reality. This means, it is critical for a woman to be able to voice when she is unhappy with something in a relationship. So, caretaking a man’s confidence does not mean that a woman should be silent about her complaints so as to not make things worse. But often, when she voices that she is unhappy or when she gives negative feedback, it serves to only make things worse because instead of the negative feedback leading to an improvement, it further corrodes his confidence, leading to even worse behavior. And if a man feels like he is not making things better, he feels like he is not in the right place. This means that a) how to fuel confidence in a man in general and b) how to caretake confidence in a man while expressing a potentially confidence crushing truth, are two separate things. And certain men have much shakier confidence than others. Some men already have such low confidence and high shame levels that a seemingly small thing can cause a collapse. And with men who have super low confidence and high shame levels, it can easily turn into a “you hurt me so much by telling me how I’m hurting you” scenario. It’s a difficult thing for people with low confidence levels and high shame levels to discern between when they are actually being shamed or are simply feeling shame in response to something that someone is saying.
As a woman, you must understand something about men. Many men in the modern world today have much less confidence than men did in generations before. Many men in the modern world have been stripped of their masculinity and therefore stripped of power. The shadow of the feminist movement went in the direction of: “Because you are a man, you hurt others and are bad. And we don’t need you”. If you look through the list of things that makes a man feel confident and think about the many messages of modern feminism, it is easy to see the contradiction. Essentially, a man who is stripped of his place and role and who is told he is not necessary, is a man with low levels of confidence to start. This means, many men especially need the opposite message and special fueling of their confidence in order to heal. Women must admit that they need and want men in order to help re-establish confidence in men.
All this being said, the key here is not to be silent so as to not hurt his confidence. The key is also not to only shower him in only positives that would build his confidence; or worse, lie to him so his confidence increases. The key is to communicate the truth to him in a way that considers his confidence. Can you fuel his confidence at the same time as telling him something that might negatively impact his confidence? For example, telling a man directly what you want from him, instead of just how he’s messing up. Or for example, focusing the conversation much more on your own vulnerability and on how things are negatively impacting you than on criticizing him or telling him negative truths about himself. Or for example, explaining how the negative feedback is intended to benefit him or is intended to be helpful. Make him aware of how the feedback enhances him, as opposed to how it takes away from him. Or for example, letting him know what he’s doing right as well. Positive feedback is important for men. Just make sure it is an AND communication, not a but communication. And is inclusive. To say “I like that you are being super responsible, and I feel ignored by you” is very different than “I like that you are being super responsible, but I feel ignored by you”. And doesn’t take something away from a man. But does! It negates or diminishes the initial statement. How could you communicate or re-phrase things or act in a way that makes you seem more like an ally than an adversary to his confidence? To learn some more about this in depth, you may want to watch my video titled: Criticism (How To Give and Take Feedback).
Once you know what causes a man to feel confident, consider how you can be an ally to/support for those things.
Some women have serious fears about the idea of caretaking, putting energy into or fueling a man’s confidence. For this reason, I highly suggest that you look deeply into what your specific resistance to enhancing a man’s confidence is. Some common things that women say are:
- That if a man gains confidence, he will become narcissistic, cruel, obnoxious and heartless. And become unresponsive and un-caring of the feelings and needs of others (most especially her). In essence, he will begin to play zero-sum games. Women have thousands of years’ worth of trauma relative to a man having more power than she does, and that causing her to get hurt. So, naturally if confidence increases a man’s power, this might terrify women that it will happen again.
- That if a man gains confidence, he will choose another woman.
- That if a woman has to give a man confidence, he’s more of a boy, not really a man and therefore pathetic.
- That if a man depends on her for his confidence, he is weaker than she is. That means she has more power and control and is therefore bigger than he is, which is both a total turnoff to most women and makes most women feel like they have no containment and are therefore, totally unsafe. Many women become very insecure relative to their own safety when they feel that the man they are with is fragile.
- That if the responsibility for his confidence is in her hands, it is a flip in polarity and she can’t be ‘in the feminine’.
- The “I don’t want to be expected to give what no one ever thought I should expect to get” fairness dynamic. Some women feel that they had to step up regardless of all the discouragement they (and women in general) face. They feel they did it and had to do it, despite no one supporting their confidence. Therefore, some women feel repulsed at the idea of a man not stepping up regardless of discouragement, like she had to. In other words, it feels super unfair.
Most women need a man to be “large” but are afraid of him being “large” at the same time. Large in this sense means all kinds of things like confident, strong, powerful etc.
Aside from resolving your specific resistance to fueling a man’s confidence, the first thing you need to do is to separate confidence from a man’s character, desires and needs. This is the same as separating power from character, desires and needs. You’ve probably heard that power doesn’t change who someone is, it simply reveals who they are. This is absolutely the case with confidence. If a man’s truth is that he wants to sleep with lots of women and not just one, confidence is likely to make it so that he will act on that. If a man’s truth is that he wants to provide for a woman, confidence is likely to make it so that he will act on that. Therefore, it can be said that confidence reveals who a man is, it does not change who a man is. Metaphorically speaking, confidence makes one man turn into a white knight and the other into a black knight because he already was underneath it all. Confidence enhances both positive and negative qualities. And here’s the thing, as a woman you care a great deal about safety. Safety is about being in reality. You’re safe if you know who a man really is. You don’t really know a man until he has confidence. So, fuel a man’s confidence not only to make him feel good in the relationship and act in a way that is conducive to him being in his strength (which makes you feel good in the relationship). Fuel a man’s confidence to see who he really is. But remember, if he begins to exhibit negative behaviors once he gains confidence, it isn’t about the confidence itself. It’s about whatever underlying thing always existed that is either being enhanced or showing itself because of the confidence.
On top of this, it might be interesting to know that a man not only tends to relinquish his masculine traits when he is not feeling confident. He also tends to go into the shadow expression of his masculine traits when he is not confident. For example, he might become controlling, passive, irresponsible, disconnected, immature, destructive, tyrannical, manipulative, passive aggressive, jealous, self-centered, dishonest, unreliable or greedy.
It is not your responsibility to create a man’s confidence. In fact, men will be much healthier and also more attractive to you if they derive their confidence from many things, not just what you say and do. But the reality is that you have incredible influence on a man’s confidence. And confidence is that key that not only reveals who a man really is, but that unlocks all those things you want from a man in order to feel good in a relationship. So, this information is intended to give you a sense of empowerment relative to your relationships as well as a greater chance at relationship success. Try it out for yourself!
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