Are you a “nice guy” – or are you in a relationship with one? While there’s nothing wrong with being nice, it can create problems – especially when you’re so focused on pleasing others that you move further and further away from your true, authentic self. How do you reclaim masculinity without becoming a stereotype? How do you consider others, while still maintaining healthy boundaries? In this episode, we’re talking with Dr. Robert Glover, the author of No More Mr. Nice Guy, about how to find a healthy way to uncover your true self – and to bring your authenticity to your life and relationship.
Are you a Mr. Nice Guy? Do you find yourself frequently frustrated in your relationships or wondering why they just don’t seem to be working out? It could be that you are in fact, a Mr. Nice Guy. You may be holding onto an internalized belief that in order to get what you want in love and in life you have to hide or alter who you are. Nice Guys tend to 1) struggle to make their own needs a priority, 2) avoid conflict, 3) have difficulty setting boundaries, 4) have unsatisfying intimate relationships. Many of their actions and ways of relating are influenced by a need to protect themselves from possible rejection due to their foundational insecurity.
Connection to masculinity Some of this male insecurity is the result of a discomfort of how masculinity is defined and represented in our culture at large. Many men find themselves cutting themselves off from their masculinity in order to differentiate from the models they may have grown up with. In doing, these men end up rejecting masculinity in general as they are often without other role models to look toward for another way of being.
Here is the paradox Ironically, ‘nice guys’ are in general anything but nice. They spend so much of their energy avoiding conflict and trying to conform that they do not have real authenticity or integrity. In trying to please others, these men actually experience a lot of defeat. They do not ask for what they want, they do not take responsibility for getting their needs met, and they are not good at setting boundaries. In this avoidance, resentments can build up. Furthermore in avoiding disappointment and confrontation many ‘nice guys’ turn towards dishonesty and hiding.
Victim Pukes: In order to maintain this outer appearance of acceptance and patience, many feelings have to be ignored and shunned. Inevitably, however, these experiences accumulate in the psyche and resentment builds as more and more is held onto. This fuels passive aggression, and the release of anger in indirect ways such as criticism or hurtful humor. For many, they hold and hold and hold until something finally sets it over the edge and all that which has been stored comes spilling out in one big ungraceful release- also known as victim pukes.
Fill your own bucket- make your needs a priority: Want to become a man that other people want to be around? In order to live an authentic and integrated life, it is critical that you begin to make your needs your priority. The ability to ask yourself what you authentically want is a courageous and necessary process. Consciously choose and create a support network (groups, hobbies, meetups, doctors, therapists, friends, etc.) to help you work through the resistance and inaccurately internalized beliefs that somehow your needs are not important. This process is going to require you to face deep fears, and will inevitably be a long process with many layers to work through.
This is not about becoming a jerk: As you work through these layers you will be more and more capable of living with truth, passion, and direction. While turning towards your own needs may at first feel selfish, you will soon realize that you taking responsibility for yourself will, in fact, attract people to you and be excited to spend time with you! Not being a ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ is not about becoming a jerk, but rather, an integrated male.
Same-sex friendships: Developing healthy same-sex friendships will help you learn to relate to the parts of yourself that your friends embody, as well as to support you in the full breadth and richness of your own growth.
Toxic Shame: So many of, ‘nice guys’ especially, are carrying around an enormous amount of toxic shame. Much of this was internalized at a very young age through various messages and experiences in school, society, religious communities, and especially in our families. When we are young we are neurologically wired to be narcissistic in the sense that we interpret and believe that that which happens around us is our fault. How much of the insecurity you are holding onto is even yours? To begin unravelling shame share your experiences with safe others. While it is important to allow those in your community to be there to support you, you want to be sure you don’t turn your partner into your therapist! In tandem with this sharing, begin to challenge yourself to commit to telling the whole truth in situations. This will not only grow you into a more transparent and authentic version of yourself, it will also begin to build the confidence needed to shed your old stories.
Seesaw of growth: As you make these tectonic shifts in yourself it WILL change your relationships! If you are in a committed relationship, be patient and present with your partner- even if they are supportive of your changes, it may be scary for them as it is unknown. While there are many relationships which may not weather such a shift in the core foundational relational pattern (especially when your partner is also dependent on your being a ‘nice guy’), many relationships will flourish. As one partner grows it triggers a sense of anxiety in the other partner as they feel the impetus to develop so they do not lose the interest of their partner. This mutual, if not always in tandem, personal growth can become a powerful and incredibly positive reinforcing pattern.
Read Robert Glover’s book No More Mr. Nice Guy
Take classes and read more about Robert Glover’s work here
Check out Robert Glover’s blog
http://www.neilsattin.com/niceguy Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide to this episode with Robert Glover
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