Getting past the hang-ups and insecurities that make men feel scary or hostile.
I will admit it. I have had the following thoughts on not one, but multiple occasions:
Guys are such assholes!
Guys are such dicks!
All guys think about is sex!
Guys are so superficial. All they care about is looks!
I cannot trust them for shit. They are going to eventually let me down.
The world would be a much better place without guys!
I fully admit I have not only said some of these myself, for years I might add, but I found them amusing. I am also not the only woman who found them amusing to some degree and thought they were pretty damn accurate in describing the entire male population!
Not too long ago, a friend of mine made a huge realization around her version of these statements. She said she saw how her ‘man-hating beliefs’ had her putting herself in the friend zone with guys on more than one occasion. These were her beliefs:
You are either someone a guys wants to have sex with or you are not and it stops there.
Any guy I find attractive will NOT find ME attractive.
Men just like skinny minnie manic pixie dream girls.
Men just want to talk to me to get to my more manic pixie dream girl-like friends.
I have definitely had those thoughts as well. Or a version of them. On loop. Most of my life. It was ‘low grade’ man hating, but it still was a disdain and distrust of anything that had a penis.
The way it showed up in my life, in addition to constantly friend zoning myself, was as follows:
Slightly overweight most of my life
Avoided sex or felt uncomfortable about it
Dressing in an unflattering way
The list can go on….
All of these things I did to keep guys away because I did not trust them. Here I thought I loved all human beings on the planet like the good hippie/free spirit I was. But I did not. The lack of love for guys came from a general lack of trust, towards all guys.
Understandably so when I consider the trauma of having my dad leave me and his entire family in the most traumatic way possible at 9 years of age. Or at least understandable as an adult. As a kid, I decided with such a conviction that men are not to be trusted.
Over the course of my high school and college years, I was miserable when it came to relationships. As hard as I tried to play it cool or act like nothing ever happened, that mistrust would not go away. It caused some unnecessary suffering in my life. My stereotyping all men as capable of doing evil things was hurting me more than anything.
A huge problem I found with the ‘all guys’ classification is that anytime you make sweeping generalizations you stop seeing the individual for who they are and only relate to the stereotype. It was a conscious, almost daily effort, to train myself to quit it with the stereotypes. My mantra essentially became:
Not all men are ‘sex crazed shallow douchebags’, just like not all women are ‘catty gold digging self centered bitches’.
Are there people out there like that? Sure. But do they represent their entire gender? I am pretty sure they do not.
It was as if I started seeing the truth of my actions and how unfair it was. I realized that if a majority of women truly feel this way, guys do not stand a chance. They are fucked! We get all huffy about men being women haters and misogynists, yet I (and a lot of women I know) are doing the same exact thing to them. SAME EXACT THING!
What is worse? I felt completely justified in my accusations. It was as if guys ‘deserved it’. That I would not be saying ‘these things’ if they were not ‘true.’ ‘Guys are such assholes. Isn’t it obvious?!’
Luckily I became aware of the following as well: If we as individuals do not look at our beliefs, figure out where they are coming from and do something to shift them to a more positive perspective, then we perpetuate the hating cycle. What’s scarier is we do not even realize what we are doing is a subtle form of hate.
It definitely took some work for me to not only realize my beliefs, but begin to undo and/or replace them. I have gone from a mistrusting, scared person to an open and loving one.
Here’s the kicker though. I am not cured. Not quite yet anyway. I am still very much in recovery.
Just the other day I had an incident that triggered me in a way that was both unexpected and disturbing.
The person I had been dating for months stands me up. He doesn’t mean to. Never does. I remind myself of that constantly because I know it is never intentional. But the fact is he did stand me up. Still feels shitty on this end. Does every time. And I guess it had been one too many times on this occasion. Because I got pissed. Like slamming the countertops style angry.
A few hours later, when I was in rationalization mode, I was furiously working to ‘get over’ my anger. I wanted to cuss him out, yet felt almost wrong for feeling like that. Like I shouldn’t get angry. I was afraid to ‘go there’, i.e. to the dark place. Voices started shouting in my head as if they could telepathically communicate their angst to my boyfriend:
“Why do you do this to me!?”
“Don’t make me hate you!”
“I don’t want to feel like this.”
That last statement caught my attention. So I began to explore why I don’t want to feel like this. This anger, this pissed the EFF OFF, was so foreign for me. Probably because I had done a good job of turning it off most of my life.
Because when my dad left, my first feeling experienced was anger. Then the guilt came soon after. It put a lid on the anger. A pretty tight one for years. Yet it was always there, bubbling underneath the surface.
So this feeling of not wanting to hate my boyfriend, was a fear of going back to hating men in general. To the times I felt insecure and untrusting. Where I wanted to have nothing to do with men. At all. Because my life was better without them.
That is how extreme my thinking would be. Yet that is absolutely not the the space I want to live my life from.
I love men. Ask any one of my closest friends. I am a big advocate for people’s happiness – regardless of your gender. I stick up for guys as much as I do for girls. I mean, I love you guys to the degree of being in an open relationship.
Thankfully, coming back to this conclusion, of my absolute love for guys, did not take a long time. I can catch myself quicker these days. This is what I mean by I am recovering.
These moments of mistrust and fear do come up. Most times they catch me by surprise. But I am getting better. Better at recognizing them for what they are and remembering what I know to be true.
Guys bring so much to the table.
Guys have such drive and focus and that’s hot.
At their essence, guys are protectors and lovers.
Guys are fascinating in how different they are.
Guys are sexy mofos.
Basically, guys RULE!