edit update: I’ve updated the title and specific sections to clarify my intent with this article. Thank you all that pointed out how that would improve my message.
Hi Guys (and gals if you’re sneaking a peek!). I wanna have a frank discussion here with you. Manno-a-manno. We’ve got a serious problem. I see it and hear about it from every. single. woman. I. coach. I have heard about it from women I’ve dated. I am even guilty of practicing it myself. And so are you.
Its a lack of Integrity with women.
Yes. Integrity. That nitty-gritty self-accountability that sets a person apart from the shallow players out there.
So, Integrity. What is it? Why are you and I avoiding it? Why do we even think we can? What is Integrity with women?
For me, its taking seriously the commitments I make to women. See, I noticed a strange hypocrisy in myself several years back. I had no problem making commitments with men. It was easy. I respected them. I felt respected by them. I wanted to keep that respect and build a deeper trust relationship. I employed my integrity to achieve this. And it worked.
But I noticed (especially when my girlfriend at the time pointed it out to me quite plainly) that I wasn’t giving the women in my life the same privilege and treatment. I was startled by my habit. Sickened by my realization that I was responding to these incredible people in a passive, disrespectful way. I was being a dick.
I immediately took to exploring and dealing with this, although I would seriously fuck up a few short months later. That mistake helped me really grasp the conditioning I was operating in towards women, towards Integrity, and frankly – myself. This defined the foundation what Integrity really is and how it operates for me.
Kelly Bryson, MFT describes Integrity as “walking your talk” (Don’t be Nice, Be Real). I agree with this definition. Its really about what we do. Our action communicates our intent, and when our words and actions reflect our intent, we’re living and acting in our personal honesty and integrity. Now that I have a solid definition for what Integrity is to me, I needed to ask myself, “what motivates me to treat men differently than women?” This one was a stomach-wrenching realization. Take a moment and ask yourself that question, too. Reflect on it as you take a few deep breathes to let yourself acclimate and listen to your inward guidance.
What did you find?
I found this: Respect.
Yep. I didn’t respect women for who they were. Why? Because I was taught to see them as different from men. I wasn’t taught to see women as whole individuals. Definitely a hard, hard thing for me to own up to. I had been taught and conditioned to treat women differently for the simply fact they were not men. This was a passive, quiet conditioning that spoke to me in quiet whispers in my church, in the relationship between my father and my mother and step-mother, and in how girls were regarded throughout my school career. Women were objects to be revered, pursued, and “cherished”. Women were something to you “got to have”. They were an essential part of God’s plan (which translates to being a utility and not a person).
I wrestled with this for several years. Its mortifying to see the subtle aggression I had displayed towards women in my life when they reached out for connection, or spurned my advances, or shared freely themselves while I selfishly withheld. This forced me to look deeper into my own nature and chosen character. What man would I choose to be for me, and how did I need to grow in relationship to women?
I started with Respect. I suggest you do, too. What does it mean to respect a person? It means:
- We acknowledge them as equals to ourselves in every way
- We acknowledge and honor the differences that exist
- We take seriously their requests, boundaries, opinions, and thoughts
- We hold in esteem their character and practice empathic consideration
- We value their emotions, vulnerability, complaints and contributions
Doesn’t this sound familiar? Isn’t this how we treat other men? It certainly is how I’ve done it.
As I began working out my respect for women, I discovered assumptions and judgments about women that reflect the common misogyny of our social landscape. I found my habits of objectifying them sexually to require examination and release (it was time to connect with a person sexually rather than just for gratification of my body or ego). It was time for me to begin the arduous task of breaking down my wall toward emotional vulnerability and connection. And it was time I take seriously the commitments and emotional connections I forged with women.
This changed many, many things for me. Dating is now a process of connecting with the individual and getting to know her wholely. Courtship and intimacy are spaces for discovery, vulnerability, and perpetual honesty (keep it real and open despite the unpleasant aspects that come with it). Identifying and stopping my habit of making unilateral decisions in relationships (i.e. I’m not feeling it so I’m going to end it rather than I’m not feeling it, lets discuss it). Giving up the belief that strong men have no needs, no fear, no insecurity, and no uncertainty in their lives. Instead, strong men acknowledge, own, and address those things proactively.
Here’s a list of basic points that men with integrity do (taken from this article @ Digital Romance.com):
- Make your Intentions Known: be honest and upfront with your intent and what you desire. If you’re hurt and need space, kindly express that. If you want a date, kindly ASK FOR IT, and then accept the yes or no you’re given (for the love of all that is love – RESPECT HER NO’s)
- Be consistent: say what you mean, and mean what you say
- Own your shit: mistakes are inevitable. Suck it up and own it. Practice empathy and active listening. Share how you feel about your mistake and how it impacted her. Relate emotionally. And when you say you’re not gonna repeat the mistake, MEAN IT. Otherwise you’re just lying.
- Show her you genuinely care for her: Caring for another is about appreciating and valuing how they feel. When they know you care about what they’re feeling, they will feel loved and cared about. Its really that simple. It just requires you to express and act that way.
- Look out for her well-being and consider her feelings in your decisions: This requires you to communicate about what you’re feeling rather than just choosing and dealing with the fall-out.
Now its time for you to take a self-check moment. Where and how are you respecting women? How can you improve that? What are you withholding from them AND yourself because of how you see them? How would taking women as seriously as we take men change your relationships?
Lets share this journey together. Comment below and share this with other men and women you know that could benefit from it.
Your friend in this mess called Living,
p.s. – a link describing the impact women are experiencing due to our unawareness of respecting them as a person: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-reality-that-all-women-experience-that-men-dont-know-about-kelly-jrmk/