Saturday, February 13, 2010

Men Are Not the Problem

Nailed. Completely. I started reading the 2 chapters of So Long Insecurity, and it was painful but compelling at the same time. So much of her reflections could have come from my journal over the past months...insecurity just seems to be a root of so much. Grrrr...

On her site, Beth combines two chapters into one. I think I may split them, just because there is so much there and a few of you may not read the book but are along for the ride (and you are totally welcome to do so!) - so I'd like to include some excerpts without making each post a novel.

Her first point in chapter one is that really, insecurity is a CHRONIC problem among women. It is more the rule than the exception. It expresses itself different for all of us, but most of us can trace our symptoms of a particular issue in our lives to the root cause of insecurity.

She really begins by saying that we, as women -part because of our culture and part because we are a little 'broken' inside - look for our validation from men. Biblically, men should be validating us, true. But here is the questions she posed that I thought was thought-provoking:

"What if no one tells us that? Can we still find a way to be okay? Or what if he says it because he's supposed to, but to be honest, he's not feeling it? Are we hopeless? What if a man is not captivated by us? What if he doesn't think we are particularly beautiful? Or, understandably, maybe just not every day? Are we only secure on his 'on' days?....Or what if you're single and there's not a man on the horizon you want to take home to Daddy? Honestly, is there no validation for our womanhood apart from a man? (5)"

She then goes on to say:

"Men are not our problem; it's what we are trying to get from them that messes us up. Nothing is more baffling than our attempt to derive our womanhood from our men. We use guys like mirrors to see if we're valuable. Beautiful. Desirable. Worthy of notice. Viable. We try to read their expressions and moods in order to determine whether it's time to act smart or hard to get or play dumb and needy [Oh, man! Guilty as charged!
....we're attempting to get our security from a gender that doesn't really have much to spare. Our culture is just as merciless on men as it is on women. Their insecurities take different shapes, but make no mistake: they've got them. You know it. I know it. ...Let's face it. Men want us to get a grip anyway. They don't like the pressure of being in charge of our sense of value. It's too much for them (7-8)"

This really made me think. Yeah, I do this. A lot. I try to act more secure, but as much as I try to suppress my insecurity, it squeezes itself out in some shape or form. It won't be denied; it just has to be conquered. And it made me ask, "Why does it matter so much what he thinks???" I'm not saying it shouldn't matter at all, but why so much????

The part that really made me think was how she used the analogy of using a guy as a mirror to see if we are valuable. It's like his view of us is, for us, the real picture of who we are. Why does what he think of us get to be the deciding factor of the truth of our value and worth and beauty?

His opinion is the bottom-line, absolute truth of who we are??? I'm not saying we shouldn't strive to be our best for the men in our live, but we are giving them a lot of power in that their opinion of us becomes absolute truth and the final verdict of who we are. That is kind of scary. But I do it all the time. And it begs the question: Did I just make him God in my life??? Whoa....that is really scary...but I think I do it all the time...

So, that thought has been resonating all weekend with me. Every time I feel that surge of insecurity start to rear its head, I start thinking to myself: "So this person's opinion of me is now the truth of who I am?" And it has helped to remind myself that it is, really and truly, only God's opinion of me that is the truth of who I am.

OK, so hopefully you found something thought-provoking in our start! The question Beth posed for chapter one is this:

Chapter One: When was the last time you came face-to-face with our gender’s massive struggle with insecurity? Describe the setting.

Feel free to answer in the comments below, comment on your thoughts, the reading - or not comment at all! :)


  1. To fully participate in my own blog discussion (is that self-negating??), here is my answer to #1 - When is the last time you came face to face with our gender's massive struggle with insecurity?

    I struggled with being single for a looooonnnnnnggggg time. I am 36 and just getting married. I spent a lot of that time single with a few short, insignficant and/or painful relationships sprinkled in. Not much success, but trying to find my value in God, trying to deal with normal human female desires, and trying to find contentment. Prior to meeting James - actually the 2 years prior- I made a lot of headway in that area. I finally felt free from a lot of all that stuff. But when I met James and the relationship became a real possibility, then probability - then reality - all of those insecurities I thought I had conquered came out again. And honestly, it's been about 2 and a half years, and I am still waiting for myself to level out emotionally a bit - I can see this issue goes a little deeper than I thought. I finally felt secure WITHOUT a man - but WITH one, my insecurities just started to flair up.

  2. I didn't marry until I was 31. I suppose my awareness of gender insecurity came mostly through church. There I was, a 20-something working on a doctorate, yet my local church thought the best Sunday school class for me was in the college-age class. The young adult class was dealing with marriage topics and how could I possibly relate to that? During that same decade, I lost a couple of very good friends who told me that we could be friends again when I got married. BOTH of those examples hurt deeply.

  3. I don't have time to read it all right now. I've got to get the puppy to the shelter for a vaccine, but I did skim. I TOTALLY agree. I'll be back tonight probably to read it thoroughly, but I do know & admit I'm one of the most insecure persons I know! It plagues me every day. I hope to buy the book today but it is going to pose some problems having the dog w/ me on that side of town. Arrrgh. Be back later!

  4. I have a friend who is dying to be in a relationsip and I keep telling her men can't validate her...and that no man can make you happy unless you are happy with yourself. The statments you made are so true.

  5. When was the last time I faced our gender's issue with insecurity? The last time I breathed. It's chronic, all right. I think the most common scene for me to deal with this and to realize that it's a "female" thing is on Saturday nights/Sunday mornings, when I'm trying to pick out clothes for church. My insecurity labels everything as "too WHATEVER" to wear, and I end up with a MOUNTAIN of rejected clothes and shoes all over our bedroom. I'll be on the floor in tears, and my husband's desperately trying to make me see that any of my choices look great. I, however, can't stop thinking about how terrific the other girls will look at church, and how awful I'll surely look in comparison.

    Sad. So sad.