I’ve been sitting on this though for awhile now, but it is one I think is pretty vital to share it. In fact, right now I am in several conversations where these thoughts are becoming necessary to help the men I want to help. And so I will again interrupt my scheduled posts for this thought.
There is a current in our culture that pushes men to build their identity around the approval of a woman. It comes in a lot of forms, and affects a lot of different men.
For the young boy in a broken home, it comes in the form of poor boundaries in his relationship with his mother. The mother, these days often struggling in divorce often decides that her children come first – which means to her neglecting her own emotional needs. She focuses on her kids to the point where they have no room to explore. Insecure, she needs love, and gets it exclusively from her kids; she feels pushed to be there for them 24/7. In extremis, she alienates a boy from his father, and poisons him against him out of a secret fear that her son will grow up to be “just like him” – that is to say, he will leave here.
For the boy, how his mother feels is a measure of how good a man he is becoming. Eventually he displaces this onto other female relatives, like his sister, and eventually on to a wife or daughter. How happy the women around him are is how he measures his goodness as a Man.
The Traditionalist does much the same thing. He looks around and sees that Men have little role in the world right now. Finding a place in the world is a daunting task: it can look too big. He looks back in time and imagines a world in which Men not only had a place, but were the world. This is, of course, an illusion: Men have always suffered, always struggled with changing roles, and Men have never been the masters of the world, no matter how much you want to believe in a mysterious and all-powerful “patriarchy.”
The traditionalist looks at sources like the Bible and historical accounts of Men, and tries to re-create that in his own life. He obsesses over roles of Husband, Master of the House, Provider, Protector, and Godly Man, because they are a shortcut – he can find a purpose and role in his life without all the messy, hard work of creating one. He is trying to create a pocket of history that never really existed in the first place. And he measures his success on how submissive his wife is, how chaste his daughters are, how protected women around him feel, how he provides for his family. He lives for everyone but himself.
The White Knight is a man in a lot of pain. Something about his early contact with manhood was incredibly traumatic. He decided that Men are evil – easy to do when there is a whole cultural movement out there chanting just that in everywhere form our halls of power to our elementary schools. He sees himself as the vanguard of a totally new sort of masculinity devoted to protecting Women from the brutalization by Men, whether individually, or as part of some increasingly nebulous mental colonization caused by “the patriarchy”, “rape culture”, or “misogyny”.
The White Knight doesn’t actually respect Women: he sees them as helpless children who can be made to think or feel a certain way by others. He believes that they have never had a voice in culture, despite the fact that they are fully half of the human race. He doesn’t believe any woman should be held responsible for bad choices. In fact he defines himself by being a human shield for Women who are helpless innocent victims.
The White Knight measures his decency, nobility, and goodness based on his ability to navigate Feminism. He forever dabbles in Feminist rhetoric, studies the plight, mind, and historical works of Women, so that these Women will look up to him as a noble protector, and accept them into their ranks. The phrase “I hate all men, well except you” is not a backhanded compliment to him, it is a sign that he has fulfilled his purpose. He refuses to believe he will be a perpetual outsider or enemy to the majority of the feminist movement; he tries hard to earn their approval, believing if he just shows how enlightened he really is, he will prove he is better even than other White Knights.
The Nice Guy is a deeply wounded person. He often started as the young boy I described above. Somewhere along the line he was emotionally or physically abused, sexually molested, abandoned, violently bullied, or neglected. He is built around a fist-sized ball of pain. His way of coping with his trauma was to accept on some level that he deserved whatever happened to him. From there on in, he works hard to follow the rules, and get everyone’s respect because he believes that he has to prove that he is worthy of love, kindness, and forbearance.
For the nice guy, any scrap of validation is a drug. It tells him that he has proven – for now – that he deserves to be loved. For the nice guy, Sex, with all of its powerful, primal, intensity, and its ultimate symbolic act of acceptance – a woman accepting him into her body – is the ultimate high. He will do or become anything if he things that will earn him more sexual rewards, which, in our day and age, means he tries to be sweet, sensitive, gentle, and compassionate, because that is what he has been told women want.
The Pick-Up Artist, for all that he understands women, skirts a dangerous line with his identity. Many PUAs are quite emotionally healthy – they strive to do something meaningful in their lives, for a notable majority of them Game is not about being the best man they can be – it is about scoring, plain and simple.
Game can make a man truly outstanding: fit, literate, cultured, high-status, accomplished in a career, and well-dressed. And if he does those things, and sees the attention of women as a fun side benefit, then he has used Game well. But for many men, they measure their worthiness as a man by the type of women they can pull. These Men don’t strive to be fit, literate, accomplished, etc. – they see these qualities as a means to sex with hot women, and their worth as Men is measured by their score, and the beauty of their latest conquest.
Whether you are trying to make Women feel proud, protected, provided for, godly, or safe; Whether you are trying to be rewarded for being the most enlightened man around, get validation that you deserve love, or just get pussy from Women, if you have nothing more than that going on in your life, you are building a castle out of sand.
No one else can make you happy. No one can make you feel whole or validated. And you cannot make someone else feel anything. Feelings are choices other people make for themselves. If you spend your whole life looking to make another person feel safe, protected, or happy you will never accomplish what you set out to achieve. Happiness, validation, safety, abundance, acceptance, love, etc. are all things you must create for yourself.
Nor are feelings a good basis for your life. Feelings are ephemeral, malleable, easily changed, and easily controlled for the mentally disciplined. They are brief visitors to your mind, a brief response to external events that can be banished or fed at your whim. If a feeling persists, you have chosen it. Making a life goal of being accepted or happy or godly is absurd, because you can be any of those things right now, if you choose.
In order to get these things in any level of consistency you must have an identity that is stable in itself and not built on the choices and well-being of others. You must create a Core Identity that is not based on how you feel, or how you make others feel. It cannot be based on what Others do. Instead it has to be on what you can accomplish.
I speak of passion a lot in my writings because when a man sets his mind to a great goal that is congruent with his beliefs, puts him in a community of peers, and challenges him, it creates a powerful rush of energy. A man who is on a path that meets his needs for challenge, purpose, creative expression, and victory is healthier, better in control of his feelings, and making the most of his incredible potential. This doesn’t just benefit him, either it benefits people around him by raising the bar of accomplishment for those who are willing to consider his life.
Understanding this leads to a lot of wisdom that goes against the grain of our current culture. One important lesson I have learned that I think all Men today need to hear first and foremost is this: There is an order to Love. If you love things in the wrong order, you are setting yourself up for pain and failure. I believe our forefathers understood this order, and benefited from it.
First, love Yourself. Second love your Mission, then Third your Family, and then your Woman. All other loves come beneath those, in the order in which you find wisdom.
First, love Yourself. Because if you love yourself any later, then you will put other needs before your own. This will make you weak, and unable to give those other loves all the care and attention they deserve. Men are capable of great sacrifice, but we often fail to sacrifice responsibly. Clear you head, master your emotions, care for your body, and know your mind. Only then can you give your other loves their all.
Second, love your Mission. When you are little more than a name and dates chiselled onto a crumbling stone, what you have accomplished will endure. The changes you make to this world are forever. But more importantly, when you are pursuing those changes, you are making yourself a better, stronger man. The challenge of righting some great wrong in the world, or building a legacy will drive you. It will give you a reason to be strong, fit, and driven.
Then Third your Family. Your parents, your siblings, your children. These people, if they are whole and healthy, will love you without reservation. Your bond with them is unbreakable, however much it has changed. They are the people you know you can rely on, so long as you and they are decent human beings. If you have a mission, they are an incredible support, but if you don’t, they are the comfortable rut you can lose yourself in, because families, by nature, are often too kind and too compassionate. That is what is best and worst about them.
And then your Woman. This one is hard to swallow, but any man who respects Women understands that you can’t make a woman be happy. That is their problem to solve, not yours. If you love a woman more than yourself, her happiness will become your focus, and you will never accomplish anything.
Anyone who respects Women also knows that their love is conditional; a woman cannot love a drunken bum, an abuser, or an emotional wreck. Love is easy to find for a woman, she chooses a man who doesn’t just fall in love with her, but also has something to offer, something she respects, beyond love – courage or strength, status or safety. Your passion is what gives you that something else to offer. If you put your love for your woman above your passion, she will have no reason to respect you.
The love of a good woman can make your Mission easier. Her admiration and sex can motivate you to keep moving forward when you are exhausted. She can help you take your energy and refine it. Her intelligence will likely complement your own, and she will be able to help you find the smartest way to pursue your Mission. But your Mission is your Mission, it will always be a part of you, and she is another person with her own agenda. She may not always be there. She can’t always be the support you need.
All other loves come beneath those, in the order in which you find wisdom. Anything else will shift based on how your loves and passions dictate. Their order will shift and change over time. I will say this however, that I will call a fool any man who puts his country before his friends, and who puts God before his country. But that is your business… you need to figure it out for yourself.