Showing posts with label can you man down. Show all posts
Showing posts with label can you man down. Show all posts

Friday, April 25, 2014

On "Manning Up"

NOTE: This post has now been published (in a more fleshed out format of course) on the website A Voice For Men. The link is HERE is you wish to read it in its updated format.

-Social anxiety?
-Self confidence issues?
-Struggling with something?

"Just get out there and do it."
"Get over it"
"Just be you and start feeling confident."
"Suck it up."
"Deal with it."
"You're x age and still doing this/feeling this way? Come on/it's time to grow up."

Basically, "man up." 

I was just reading a forum post about anxiety written by someone with really bad social anxiety and of course the replies were full of those quotes above and others like them. Any time anyone ever says something to that effect (which includes me at some points in my life, either to others or to myself) I think to myself "okay, can you do the opposite?" When you say "man up" to someone, what you are basically saying is "be not like you."

Well, I have a question for you. Can you "man down?" If you are confident can you be anxious and insecure instead?


So what makes you think someone else can "man up?" If you are who you are why aren't they afforded the same sort of leeway?

Now, I'm not at all saying that people can't get past things, but sometimes I think people (myself included at times) downplay how strongly other people are who they are in the exact same way they are who they are, but just in the opposite direction. Next time someone acts like "manning up" is the easiest thing in the world to do, ask them if they could just as easily "man down." When they invariably say no, ask what the difference is. I've done this before and people usually get totally stumped because they've never thought of it like that before.

The thing is, the part that everyone always misses with this stuff is that most of the time, the anxiety, lack of confidence, whatever, comes from past experience and past experience is instrumental in making us who we are. If you have good experiences with people, you'll be fine looking them in the eye/feeling adequate socially. If, however, you have had bad experiences with people that made you doubt your self worth, you won't. It's not as easy as "being confident" or "finding your balls." You being uncomfortable around them is as much a result of your genetics, psychology and experience as them being comfortable in those situations is a manifestation of their genetics, psychology and experience.

That being said, this isn't necessarily it forever. A series of positive experiences and some practise can change this for the person affected negatively by their past. I know about this from experience and man; it isn't easy to change but it can be done.

Just not by being told to "man up."

P.S. In some instances, people really DO need to 'man up.' I'm just arguing against it being used in situations in which it's really not at all applicable, helpful and most importantly, fair.