Many men have what has been referred to as “performance-based self esteem.” We measure ourselves based on how well we are doing; how well we are performing at work, or how we perform athletically or sexually. We often have a measure of our success, and I try to look at what is each man’s yardstick? How are they measuring themselves? Often, the yardstick is how much money they are making, how many sexual conquests they’ve had, or how they’ve competed in a physical test of strength or stamina.
When we experience an “injury” (i.e., job loss or demotion, a relationship failure, a rejection or humiliation), we may have a crisis of confidence, and we are overwhelmed. We don’t know quite what to do with the emotional fallout of a set-back or loss. More often than not, as men, we tend to get angry as opposed to expressing our sadness or acknowledging our fears. We tend to externalize and blame others rather than own our “stuff”. This tends to alienate the people closest to us, which creates further relationship problems.
Men’s issues essentially are the ways in which we measure ourselves that is mainly performance based as opposed to relational or process oriented.