Ever danced with a partner who wanted to lead, even though that was your job? It doesn’t work.
It’s like having a conversation with someone who thinks you need to be nagged, when you’re already hard enough on yourself, by yourself!
Most guys shut down or seclude in this situation. And women don’t get it, because we’re not as clairvoyant as we think we are!
A woman recently told me how glad she is that I work with guys whose intellect has painted them into a corner because, she said, “sometimes all these guys need is for someone OUTSIDE their situation to give them some ideas they never would’ve thought of on their own, and they see more options!”
I don’t know about you, but I hate advice.
I told her: “Well, if that’s what they want, that’s definitely something I can deliver, but I’ve been told that something pretty unique I offer them happens to als o be far more helpful: I help men hear their own ideas and stop bashing themselves as if self-criticism were the only way forward.”
I do this by JOINING you in the dark. I ‘crawl into the hole’ WITH my guys — where no one else has ever gone before. Where you’ve always been alone.
I do it just when they expect me to pull them out by force of will, or tell them they should ‘just’ pick themselves up by their bootstraps, like when they say
“But it’s my own damn fault and I shouldn’t complain,” and expect me to agree.
I might respond with “I’m hearing a well-hidden desire to complain, as if part of you feels like complaining but that’s been deemed destructive by another part. I have some of my best ideas after venting or complaining to myself, and I don’t want you to miss out on the discoveries available through grumbling and mumbling and taking notes while you do it.
Now, if you try to adhere to an absolute, you’ll get into arguments with yourself. If you treat an absolute like it can be true/false, yes/no, you’re in for a long debate with no winners and no losers)
“Complaining never works” is an absolute idea because of the word “never.”
That argument could go on for quite a while!
If your willpower only chides, shames, and nags the part of the brain what wants the privacy to just “hide out in a hole and complain until it’s safe to come out,” the cave-dwelling one is going to stay stuck in there… all alone. Worse yet: the bright ideas that follow a good, long rant… never come.
I think your willpower has a goal. Not to fall in the hole, and not to stay there when you do.
Paradoxically, this goal can be accomplished by someone more patient, like me, sitting in the hole WITH you, on purpose, so you don’t keep getting pulled in by accident and seemingly being left there to rot.
There’s a lot of macabre, malicious, dark stuff you can accuse yourself of. I keep astonishing guys by going there and coming out unscathed… and as proud as can be of their courage.
I actually join these guys, and by doing so, help the dark aspects of their mind become less frightening to the rest. I help them un-isolate these brain circuits. “Broken record”-type thoughts are transformed to astute, responsive intelligence by linking the circuits up to the guy in charge — the central operating system, the whole brain, the nervous system that DOES know what is realistic, why a mood is cropping up, and what to do with signals from the unconscious.
Dark moods are no longer inescapable spells, feared and blocked by other out-of-touch or hard-ass parts of the brain. They’re not as dark, only brief, and come bearing gifts of insight ever after.
I have a great sense of rythm and can lead like the best of them. But I am also a good Follow. I follow even the ‘worst’ dancer, because once he’s confident I absolutely will follow even the slightest move… he comes to life, bursts into the best moves I’ve ever seen, flings me in the air, and shows the world he’s absolutely got rythm… he just needed to be valued while marching to his own drum.
There’s a time and a place for tough love. I am well-versed in tough love and can take it as well as I dole it out. The value is in knowing when that is and is not what’s called for.