Today I am going to talk about the nice guy syndrome, a concept introduced by Dr. Robert Glover in his best-selling book, No More Mr. Nice Guy. You heard me ask the guests on this podcast about finding the balance between being a “macho jerk” and a “nice guy“. So let’s find out what’s wrong with being a “nice guy” and how we can show up in the world as gentlemen.
Well, “nice guys” believe that if they are “good” and do everything right, they will be accepted, loved and get their needs met. That is why they are givers – they fix and caretake. The problem is that they are constantly seeking approval from others, they believe they must hide their perceived flaws and mistakes in order to avoid conflicts, they repress their feelings and have difficulty making their needs a priority.
And that is why “nice guys” usually end up feeling extremely frustrated. They cannot see that the reason why their needs remain unmet is precisely the way they show up in every interaction.
And the reason I ask my guests about the balance between the 2 extremes, the “nice guy” and the “macho jerk”, is that “nice guys” usually see things as good or bad. And there is nothing in between. That is why, in their mind, the only alternative to being nice is being a jerk.
So what would a good alternative look like?
Well, the alternative is to become an integrated male, a good guy.
The good guy acts according to his principles. If he doesn’t feel good about something he’s going to say “no”. Without being a jerk, without being aggressive, he will speak his mind. If he sees something that he knows is wrong, even if he knows that someone is going to get upset, he is still going to do what he feels is right because he has integrity.
A good guy is a leader who understands how to set healthy boundaries. He’s able to work through conflict. He feels comfortable in his skin because he accepts both his positive and negative sides. A good guy expresses his feelings clearly and directly.
If you are wondering how this transition can be made, I want to share a few steps:
1. Stop seeking the approval of others. Accept yourself for who you are because you are enough.
2. Stop hiding your mistakes; instead, use them as opportunities to learn, to improve, to become the best version of yourself.
3. Learn to set healthy boundaries.
4. Learn to express your needs with clarity.
5. Experience giving to others with no strings attached. Stop being a matcher.
6. Join a men’s group. That is probably the most powerful tool that can help you on this journey.
7. Find a mentor or a coach. If you feel that things are getting out of hand, find a psychotherapist. There is no reason for you to do this journey alone.
All right guys, these are my thoughts on this topic. Hope it’s been helpful!
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