Can men truly change? Ah, the million dollar question that lingers on every frustrated spouse and cynical single woman exhaustingly swiping left on their favorite dating app.
Some of the most common beefs I hear thrown around about my fellow male hopefuls are:
- We’re emotionally unavailable.
- We can’t commit.
- All we’re interested in are sports, muscle cars, beer and getting laid.
- We’re full of excuses and avoid talking about the real issues.
- Men are losers and never show up.
Though I’m not a dating expert, I’d like to offer a different perspective (both in defense of men and to improve the situation for all the frustrated women out there).
Though it’s true that some men fit into those points like Cinderella in her glass slippers, let me remind everyone that we all attract people that reflect back on ourselves. In other words, we are drawn to those who mirror who we truly are as well. There’s a powerful word that describes this. Projection.
Prior to meeting a secure partner in D, I’ve dated women who fit into most of those points as well (minus the point about sports). What I learned through counselling was that I had some residual pain left in me that remained unresolved. As a child I was often put down, yelled at, beaten, bullied and shamed for just being me. Much later in life, this unawareness bled into my relationships, making me a perpetrator of very unhealthy and controlling behaviors. I was unable to talk about my feelings, often angry, impatient and not very empathetic towards others.
When I did date women who were emotionally unavailable, those relationships (if I can even call them that) lasted only a few months. There were no true connections. Was it their fault? Absolutely not. I was accountable because I chose them, yet there was still an unhealed portion of my inner child. Because subconsciously I didn’t feel I deserved to be loved, I attracted partners who couldn’t give me that emotional piece, so they satisfied my belief that I’m unlovable.
Hence, those relationships dwindled and I realized I needed to withdraw myself from them to work even harder on my inner wounds.
After years of inner work, I found a shift in me and no longer saw myself as a victim of my past. It’s true that the events that took place were unfortunate, and I’m no longer a prisoner of resentment. We’re not the mistakes we make. We’re not our past which is what I remind myself everyday.
The biggest shift was learning to dialogue with my wounded child. Every morning, I’d meditate and get into a present state before I’d draw up an image of my younger self (around aged 10 or younger) and with one hand at my heart centered, and the other gently stroking my other arm, I’d quietly give him the much needed love and compassion that he didn’t receive.
“Everything is OK now, little Jason. I love you.”
“I’ll protect you and you can feel safe now.”
“You’re amazing Jason and worthy of love.”
“Jason, I’ll always be here for you and never ever leave you.”
Author Calvin Sandborn also talks about giving yourself the gift of compassion in one of my favorite books Becoming the Kind Father.
Also landing in my inner space of confidence and self-worth, I give myself the self-love that is paramount before loving someone else. When I gave myself permission to love, I was rewarded with the most incredibly loving and stable partner in D.
And though we all like to think of ourselves as unicorns, pure awesomeness and 100% perfect (which are all true from one perspective), if we find ourselves in a space of resentment and frustration, most often times, there’s a core wound that lingers inside and needs us to dig deeper.
Instead of asking Can Men Really Change? The more accurate question becomes Can I Change?
For myself and millions of others who are on a personal development journey, the answer is a resounding, yes!
The road to change takes courage and motivation. Do the work. Be patient. Let things be and set the intention that the only time that matters is now.
So let’s get to it!