I recieved a very thoughtful response to one of my emails (about badboys) recently. It made me think of some profound issues that affect men today and I wanted to share it with you.
Here’s what he wrote:
Thank you for this email, it personally resonated with me at the perfect time.
I am and have been the archetype of a “bad boy” my whole life, at least as far as society is concerned: not afraid to speak my mind, speak the truth, live to and not compromise my higher principals; things that have naturally made me admired by those around me, including beautiful women (game or lack thereof aside).
But here’s the thing, I’m sure you know we have an inherent need for connectedness. No one wants to be alone. A lot of the “bay boys” are either alone, or with few real connections. They’re Lone Wolves. That’s part of their charm, right?
So I told myself some destructive language early on in life that I was a leader, a Lone Wolf, and in being that came a great degree of aloneness (because others admired me, but put me on a pedestal instead of joining me in my sandbox, or asking me to theirs).
So how do we bridge the two ideas?
Anyway, I’m trying to discuss a potentially complicated idea.
Thank you for your email. I needed to read it to reaffirm that who I’ve been is the right person.
Good to feel like I probably just need a few tweaks, not a complete rewrite.
This is a great question.
I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the problem you are addressing is, I think, a massive one. The good news is that the solution to it is in your hands.
Maslow taught that the need for belonging is one of mankind’s core needs, resting just above physical safety and equal with love itself.
And, looking around, it’s clear to see there is a lack of belonging in our society. Materialism and consumerism have displaced community and belonging in our society. The result is the sort of rootlessness that you describe.
At the risk of sounding like some boulshyte artist new-age guru, I really think this is a spiritual problem. I say it’s spiritual because even though it *appears* to be an emotional problem (lonliness), the cause of the emotion lies even deeper.
At the deepest level, I think the problem has to do with pride…. Pride is also known as “ego” in a lot of new-age philosophy, or “narcissism” in psychological terms.
One of the qualities of the badboy type is that they have a proud streak. And pride is one of those “vices” that seems to have two sides to it. Being proud of your higher principles and sticking to them is admirable. Being proud of your weaknesses cripples you spiritually and emotionally. Pride is a kind of stubbornness, a resistance to influence that sometimes is necessary, but often is harmful.
St. Augustine argued that pride is the first and most dangerous sin, because it separates the individual from the truth. Pride can make you rigid, inflexible and defensive with the people around you. Ultimately, pride can prevent you from learning at all.
A lot of my coaching involves teaching guys to toughen up, and to lean how to assert themselves in the face of a world that is trying to drag good people down. I’m proud of that work. But more and more I have realized that the opposite is also important. It’s important to soften up and be humble towards the truth and the forces in the world that are truly trying to make us better more honest people.
When you open yourself up to that, you start to step down off that pedestal. You start to get closer to the people around you – especially the ones who have that spirit that actually wants you to be a better person. You’re not being a mush-cookie or a pushover, you’re being a man who is humble towards what is good.
When it comes to connecting with others, in a serious relationship or in your community, a sense of humility is necessary to create long lasting connections. It can be painful at times, and you may need to swallow a lot of pride, but in the long run it is worth it.
P.S. I will be on vacation for much of December but I still have a few coaching spots available. Click the link below if you want to work with me to help develop a smart strategy to date well and build happy relationships.