Men’s sense of self is more often tied to abilities, they are more into what they can do. Whereas a woman can get a quick boost from a personal compliment, for a man, a compliment about a skill or talent is likely to lead to that same boost quicker. Please don’t mistake this to mean that men are not in tune with their inner selves, because many of them are. Many men have gone through the process of exploring the depth of their souls and come to appreciate who they are greatly. For those men, being able to see, appreciate and acknowledge that inner peace and confidence in him can go a long way. Of-course that would in most cases require knowing this person on deeper level and taking time to see those innermost qualities.
There are a few on the surface things that can help. Making a man feel needed is on that is often a sure fire way to get there. Unfortunately, today’s independent women have been chipping away at this little tool. You pay your own bills, can change your own tires or call Triple A, and you will hire someone to mow the lawn on the house that you bought. Every now and again, though it would not be so bad to let him help with some of the manly stuff, like the car or something with the house. You know you could take care of it, but it’s nice to have him do it for you and he relieves you of the pressure or responsibility of having to handle it. One less thing to worry about.
This brings me to my next point. When a man does something for you, whether it is because you could not do it or because you allowed him to help, be appreciative. People want to help, but no one wants to feel unappreciated. No matter how little or how big the deed, it’s important that he knows that his efforts are appreciated. Otherwise he has no incentive to want to help again, and you will both be denying him the opportunity to step up and do more of these things that should make him feel great.
Rewards are great at any age. The last thing I asked of a man, was to come tighten the lug nuts after I changed a tire. Do you think after he came to do this in the middle of his workday that I planned something special for him? You better believe it! He needs to know that he is appreciated. Sincerely telling him is one ay, but it’s also nice to do things for him as well. And this does not mean going all out. It could be as simple as a special dinner that is planned with his preferences in mind. This is simple enough that it could be done for a friend or your man.
Treating a man special is something that is too often overlooked but is such a great tool. Many men will say that this is not their thing, but a spa day is such a great gift. The massage, the facial, the mani/pedi can all be tailored for the manly man (in my immaturity – I still laugh at the clear polish on the nails though). In today’s tougher economic time, it may not be as easy to afford the day at the spa, but providing all the services for him at home may work just as well.
Game day preparations are also a big hit for the sports aficionado. Whether you get everything ready and leave after you get his boys to come over, or it’s a party for two (if you’re WATCHING The game too); when you plan it with him in mind he will feel it.
Taking him to the game is one that can work with your man or any other male in your life. A day about him, where he is picked up (you do the driving no matter how far) and you take care of everything until you drop him home. When you go through the trouble of making a day about someone, that says “I think you are important”, and it validates this person’s place in your life. He will also be thinking “I must really be important for someone to go through all the trouble of planning a day for me”, and that will have a positive impact on his views of self as well. Everyone wants to feel that they matter.
Looks are important too. Just as a woman likes to hear that she’s beautiful when she gets all dolled up, and man will enjoy that too. Men also put forth the effort to smell nice, so when he does smell nice that should also be complimented. Smiles, teeth, eyes and whatever else comes up are also good targets for compliments as well. The catch to making the most impact with a compliment is to lead with it. When a person compliments you first, there is that rule of politeness that you feel the need to return it. No matter how genuine the returned compliment, sometimes it can feel less than heartfelt or you run the risk of the person thinking that you were just returning their compliment. When you lead with a compliment, there is not as much wiggle room for the interpretation of your intent – It’s a compliment.
During the harder times, things get a little tricky. For instance, in these economic times when there are many men who are unemployed. If yours is one of them it’ll be hard on both of you. To start, you may need a book of affirmations (I’m only partly joking with this one). If your man is at that stage he may need you now more than ever, because when he doubts, he needs you to believe in him. He needs to know that you are behind him no matter what. These are the times for the SILENT sacrifices; when you have to pass on something you want, and not complain about it. This is when you don’t go to the concert and plan a nice romantic evening at home instead. It will be hard to work the extra hours and then come home to look over his new cover letter, but your devotion will motivate him to keep trying.
It is true that actions do speak louder than words, but words can also be very powerful. As a therapist, when working with children who were aggressive and getting into fights, I remember teaching them this statement “hands are for helping, not for hurting”. They would memorize it and eventually we got to where they would say it either out loud or just think it when they were angry and wanted to hit someone. This technique took time but once mastered had a good success rate. Adults do get into the physical altercations as much but they can be hurtful with their words. Sometimes it is out of anger or just a purely unintentional slip, but once the words are out they cannot be put back in. The best measure is place a filter between the thought and the verbalization.
Try this exercise that can be used with anyone in your life. When you get ready to say something take a moment to evaluate the potential impact of the words you are going to say. As you do this you will remind yourself “words are for helping, not for hurting”. If you find that the words you were ready to utter are not going to help the person, take a second to find a more positive response before you speak. Use words to empower him. The intent should always be to build him back up, not bring him further down.
Five things you can do:
1. Tell him you believe in him.
2. Show and tell him that he is appreciated.
3. Acknowledge his successes.
4. Wish him well when he’s down, if you pray tell him you pray for him.
5. Remind him how great he is.
© 2009 Judi Cinéas
I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to thank you, my faithful readers for visiting our site and reading How to Boost a Man’s Self-Esteem . I truly appreciate you!