“Performance based esteem is robbing Men of their vast emotional experience”
From an early age, boys are praised for how well they do something, a task or what could be categorized as how well they perform a task. This goes from how well they paint the fence, score the goal in the game, and ace the test. All the while this fixation on performance, the vast emotional experience of boys gets drowned out and shut off from what is accepted. From coaches saying you’ve gotta be strong, get over it, be a man, a man doesn’t show their emotions, suck it up and get out there, stop being such a wuss, you’re so sensitive, men don’t cry, and the list goes on and on and on. This stamping out of the acceptance of emotions ranges from the household experience of the boy to the societal experience of the boy, this starts to affect how the boy will show his internal world to the external world. He’ll start to learn to shame himself for having these emotions, and direct anger towards himself as at a young age, boys (any young person in general) doesn’t have the capacity to see that what is happening around them isn’t to do with themselves, and they take on their caregivers emotional needs, and disregards their own and see themselves as “too needy”, “too sensitive”, “weak”, and so on. Many men who have experienced this upbringing, will tend to direct their anger towards themselves into some sort of punishment like overworking, drinking, drugs, really any type of addiction to pull themselves away from the pain of what they feel so shameful about.
Many men are emotionally overwhelmed and have no capacity to deal with their vast emotions that are continually coming up in life. They have shifted their internal focus to a state of disconnection to themselves, and that was simply in order to survive their experiences. A man’s relationship with himself is the most important relationship in his life, and all other relationships will be a direct mirror into his relationship with himself. Men who were raised with performance esteem will link how well they do at something as a direct relation to how well they feel about themselves which often leads to depression, addictive behaviors, and so on. For example, the economy is tanking and the company I work for suffered from things outside of their control and I get let go from my workplace; I will make that mean that I am a failure, that I lost my job because of something that I didn’t do well enough, even though it had nothing to do with me directly. I lack the self awareness to see that I had nothing to do with what happened, and I am totally employable and a good employee and that it doesn’t mean that I am a bad person, or a total screw up.
Starting to build self agency will increase one’s ability to be self aware. To understand that you are no longer the child who was needing to perform in order to feel accepted, loved, and seen.