Let’s Be The Women Our Men Are Craving
And no, I don’t mean let’s compromise who we are to please them. I mean let’s use our feminine power for good and shift the way we show up for them which in turn invites them to do the same for us.
As women, many of us are crystal clear on how we want and think we deserve to be treated…but for many of us, our behavior is actually incongruent with these desires.
Allow me to explain.
A guy I used to date had a theory that women’s behavior in relationships always comes down to daddy issues. I remember him telling me once, “See how normal you are? You have a great relationship with your dad.”
He was right.
We all have daddy issues…good or bad.
And I do have a great relationship with my dad.
My dad is one of the best humans I know.
I choose the word human because realizing he’s human and allowing him to be human was part of growing up, and fully loving and accepting not just my dad, but all of the men in my life.
When I was little, of course, I thought he was a super hero.
- He can build or fix anything.
- He’s hilarious.
- He played minor league hockey before I was born so he’s a super athlete.
- He can paint and draw.
- He was the guy who always got in fights as a kid, not because he was a bully, but because he would jump in to save the kids being picked on by the bullies.
- To this day, I’ve never really seen the man look physically tired, ever.
- He can drive anywhere, anytime. Early morning, middle of the night, any distance. Maybe I see this as a special ability because I hate driving? Not sure, but I’m keeping it on the list.
- Oh, and his name is Patsy. I’ve been calling him Pats or Pasquale since about 7th grade. No disrespect. I say it with as much love as I would Dad or Daddy.
- He’s always been freakishly strong. Like if the man closes a soda bottle, good luck ever getting it open.
- He looks like Super Mario.
- And if I need him, he comes running. Always. As recently as this past September when I was staying in NYC and he was two hours away in PA. I’d totally reached my limit on being the city and I called to see if he could come get me. No questions asked, he was on his way 10 minutes later. It was 2am when I placed that call.
At this point you might be thinking, I get it Liz. Your dad is a real stand up guy. A real man. Yes he is. He’s also made plenty of mistakes which is why I intentionally chose the word human to start this post off.
Here’s something you’re probably not expecting, though -I’ve seen this man cry plenty of times in my life.
Grant it, he was raised by Puerto Rican women so he’s no stranger to wild feminine levels of emotion. (Also – he has no problem picking up tampons for me at the grocery story if I need them. Awesome.)
So what’s the big deal?
I love Brene Brown. She’s a shame and vulnerability researcher, best-selling author and speaker. I think everyone on the planet should read her book Daring Greatly to find the language to speak about the things we are most ashamed of that cause us to hide and keep us to ourselves.
In October I saw her speak at Emerging Women in Boulder, CO and she said that for women, the #1 source of shame is our bodies, for men, it’s being viewed as weak or “a pussy.”
A MAJOR point in her book is that as women we say we want our men to be vulnerable, but most of us really don’t want to see it.
She tells a story of a man coming up to her after a talk and asking where the research was about men. As a woman, until that point, she hadn’t actually considered that men experience the same depth of shame as women.
The man went on to point to his wife and daughters in the back of the room and say something along the lines of “See those women back there? They say they want to see me be vulnerable, but they’d rather see me die on my white horse.”
It hit me as she retold this story that it’s TRUE.
As much as I love everything about my dad, I’ll never forget the way I felt seeing him crumble to the ground, sobbing, when he got the call from Puerto Rico that his grandmother had passed away. I couldn’t handle it.
I literally remember talking to my brother about it and agreeing that neither one of us every wanted to see that again.
How unfair is that?
And also what message did that send to my brother that I felt that way?
THIS is how we as women can empower the men in our lives.
Just as we want them to hold the space for us to experience a full range of emotions, to support us when we are feeling vulnerable and to love and accept us as we are – we need to do the same.
But we also need to understand that the great majority of men have been brought up in a culture that rejects weakness and equates vulnerability with weakness. Comedian Bill Burr hilariously describes this in this clip (warning: don’t be put off by the offensive title/language):
As research for this post, I posed this question to men on Facebook back in November:
Here are some replies on how exactly they experience vulnerability and how we as women can relate to them in ways that will strengthen our relationships:
I love that thought………because it is very true. Each sex has their struggles with being in emotional integrity………men have a difficult time with sadness with a natural inclination to express it instead as anger and women vice versa. I think it is really not about approaching it in those terms…………men want to be seen as strong, capable, and courageous……….and I would argue society and many women want their men to embody these principles to some degree as well. So, speaking in terms of “vulnerability”, is probably not the best term to use as a man…………….emotional integrity, emotional courage might be better terms………..then I think it is about reinforcing behaviors in terms that resonate…………so, if a man opens up to you about something emotional. Instead of saying, thanks for being so vulnerable…………instead saying I really appreciate how strong you are in expressing yourself………or how you always take on your emotions directly………or something like that. It is a small thing, but a big thing…………my two cents. Or you could just say “listen, you are the freaking man!!”………that usually solves all the problem. The male ego is easily manipulated
Foxy Sparkles Pickett (this comment partially inspired this blog post- Thanks, love):
It’s just as important for women to ACTUALLY see their men as being strong when they are expressing doubts, fears, sadness – not just give it lip service. We need to retrain ourselves that sometimes, this is what strength looks like. When you actually receive your man’s “emotional courage” as part of his strength, he can feel your acceptance of and attraction to him – which maintains your relationship’s polarity and sexual chemistry.
For some women, they profess to want an emotive, emotionally brave man, but when they actually experience it, they lose their attraction for him. This is societal programming that needs to be erased.
I think Jade’s choice to frame vulnerability as a form of emotional strength/courage is important.
As men, I feel like there’s some part of me that doesn’t want to back down from any reasonable challenge that I find important, these moments of emotional strength included.
I’m DYING to do that shit , especially in relation to a woman I’m vibing with. Innately I know it’s important and I don’t want to revert to the stoic, locked down “feelings are st00pid” kinda dude. But then old guards pop up – Will she understand? Will she use this against me? Will she think I’m weak?
Foxÿ brought up an awesome point as well. With more women accepting that as an extension of our strength instead of weakness, and Jade’s suggestion that women pump us up and reinforce the behavior they want to see will make us more likely to keep showing up, doing the work and getting that emotional practice in.
I started typing my thoughts and decided to read through everyone’s first. I stopped when I got to Jade Teta’s. He is spot on. Men have no problem being open as long as it’s approached from the angle of them being in control…or at the very least, growing stronger in some way that’s positively noticed by those around them. Especially women.
It’s the equal to women wanting men to just listen, hold, and be there openly without trying to “fix” them or their upsetting situation.
As a woman, if the man is not being that “ideal way,” there are options for bringing out that vulnerability. First and foremost–TRUST HIM. When you put your trust in him being his most awesome self, he will feel that, and it will give him the space to be vulnerable with you. If you find yourself doubting him or nagging him about “your being this way or that,” step back and say to yourself “in this moment, he is awesome and I trust him to be great.” Let go of yesterday, let go of an hour ago, and just trust him to show up as amazing. I promise he will show up. As men, and humans, we have a distinct radar for whether we are being trusted and respected. And, if we feel that you are creating walls and not feeling trust toward us, we will keep our walls up (catch 22 I know).
The next part is that we appreciate being respected for what we do offer you. In the end, we know what you want, and we want to give it to you. Our soul’s desire is to provide for you, keep you safe, and please you. If any man tells you otherwise, he is lying. If you KNOW that in your heart, your reactions to him will show up differently. You will give him respect for that positioning. When you do, he will give you all that you want, and more…
It is all right there. No couples therapy required.
Part of my mission is to empower you, my women, to discover who you really are and allow yourself to be that woman. One of the TOP sources of pain and confusion for us is relationships. It comes up all the time in our conversations.
We have to two choices, complain about it and wallow in the misery of not being able to find the men of our dreams OR we can be the women the type of man we desire would fall in love with and allow living from that place to call him in naturally, in perfect timing.
The BIG Takeaway
It’s way easier said than done though. Being wide open and holding the same space for our men that we want them to hold for us can be terrifying – but not only is it worth it, it might just be what so many of us have been overlooking in our search for partnership.Let’s Be The Women Our Men Are Craving