Handle With Care: The Male Ego Explained
By Courtney Edwards
The male ego is probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of the male persona. Just enter the phrase “the male ego” into your search engine and you can see from the first few entries that the male ego is not always looked upon favorably. Immediately, the words “fragile,” “complex” and “sensitive” stand out poignantly like a gardener’s prickly thumb. And as much as a man might be turned off by articles that seek to castigate one of his most-prized attributes, some men – like me – would not be able to resist the temptation to see what people actually think – positive or negative – about the male ego.
Upon reading a few of entries, I began to wonder – can a man’s ego really be bruised as easily as these authors suggest? We know that men get their self-esteem from their mothers. During the earliest years of development, they work as hard as they can to make their mothers proud. So, it’s not surprising that as adults they place so much value into the opinions of their significant others, or the women whom they look to spend the rest of their lives with. Naturally, men want the women who are the most important to them to hold them in the highest regard. And they’ll work feverishly to gain that type of respect and admiration from them. However, if these men perceive that they are being unrecognized or undervalued by the women whose opinions matter to them, they could, ultimately, become disconnected from these women, feeling as if they have failed in a role that is essential to their existence – being anything and everything to the women whom they care about the most.
Certainly, I have felt on numerous occasions – whether warranted or unwarranted – the sting of a bruised ego, and there is no doubt in my mind that the majority of men have experienced this feeling as well. I never quite realized, though, how much this perceived bruising of a man’s ego by a significant other could dictate the relative success or failure of a relationship until my best guy friends began confiding in me about their relationships. In all of their issues, there was one very interesting commonality. This commonality was the fact that they felt as if their egos were being severely damaged by the women in their lives. They felt that they weren’t being needed or wanted by their significant others, which affected their overall ability to be the loving and caring men that they wanted to be for their partners. Regrettably, lack of communication ensued, arguing commenced, and ultimately, these men became disconnected from these women as a result.
Now, men and women can both relate to this feeling of being wanted and needed. With men, though, this is a feeling that’s mostly connected to our self-esteem, or our egos, and the value that we place on our existence. Men are purpose driven. They work hard to provide the best possible lives for their families, and they work hard to be successful in the eyes of their mothers and, ultimately, their significant others. They value the affirmations of the women whose opinions matter the most to them. These affirmations confirm that they are doing a good job and make them feel as if they have satisfied a purpose.
In many regards, the male ego is the counterpoint to a woman’s feelings and emotions. Just as much as women like to be loved, cared for and appreciated for their femininity; men like to feel as if they’re being valued for what they bring to a relationship, whether it’s being the breadwinner or being the ultimate handyman around the house. A woman’s opinions of a man definitely matter to him. Now, I’m not saying that women should give unwarranted affirmations to their guy, but when he does something good, a good pat on the back definitely won’t hurt. He’ll appreciate it, and he’ll do all that he can to prove himself worthy of your affirmations.
Relationships are absolutely a two-way street; men have to be considerate of their lady’s needs just as women have to be considerate of their man’s needs. I know from experience that there is nothing like a black woman’s love, and if a black man honors and cares for his woman, she’ll travel the world for him ten times over. Similarly, if a black man feels like he’s appreciated and he’s serving his purpose, he’ll give a black woman the greatest love of her life.
So, keep your expectations high, but never forget to uplift your guy. Uplift him and I guarantee that he will uplift you.
Love. Peace. And keep the faith.
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