There are two core fears that run constant with men and women…
Women have a deep seated fear of not being ATTRACTIVE enough
Men have a deep seated fear of not being SUCCESSFUL enough
For women, you’re conditioned from a young age to believe how you look is who you are. The billion dollar beauty industry is well aware of the poor body image that plagues the female population and continue to produce countless products to help you “improve” your looks, further perpetuating the fear of not being attractive enough.
For men, it’s rare to experience a pat on the back for everything you produce out in the world. Society takes it for granted that you’re role is to produce and provide – which you enjoy doing – but the lack of accolades for all your efforts feeds into your fear that you’re not successful enough.
Women, in a continual battle with their self image, develop low self esteem and often end up settling for less then what they want in relationships. Lately I’ve been coaching many women who are completely confident in business, but are frustrated that their business smarts have not helped them experience success in their romantic relationships.
For men, many of you are coming out of relationships where you received very little acknowledgement for everything that you did or have done for the women in your life. Without someone telling you what a great job you’re doing you’re feeling less motivated to produce more for a woman.
Let me offer two examples from past clients I coached:
1) Lisa needed some last minute things picked up for the party her and Peter were hosting on Friday night. Peter, exhausted from a hard day at work, but knowing how important this was to Lisa, picked up everything she needed and, knowing how stressed Lisa’s been about this party, buys flowers for her at the last minute to make her happy. Peter arrives home holding the flowers with pride and as Lisa looks through all the items in the bag, freaks out because he forgot the lemons!
2) Shelly was excited about her first date with Ron. She got a sassy new haircut, had a great workout at the gym and bought a sexy new dress to show off all her curves. Ron picks her up and immediately plunges into a conversation about how bad the traffic was getting over the bridge, not saying one word about how Shelly looks.
Have you had an experience similar to this? I’m sure of it!
Observing this from the outside, you can see what kind of impact this would have and how easily it would ignite the flame of each other’s deep seated fears. Lisa, by ignoring all the other things Peter produced, left him feeling like a failure and not wanting produce another thing for her. Ron, being more focused on the traffic then on Shelly, deeply hurt her feelings and left her feeling like she wasn’t worthy of a man’s attention.
In my quest to start making the world a better place for men and women, I’m providing an action exercise for each gender to put into practice over the next week: