Although this is a shifting attitude, women are most frequently brought up to invest in love and relationships and men are brought up to invest in achievement. It therefore follows that a women assesses her value on how love and the relationships in her life, are going -and a man assesses his self worth on what he is achieving.
I am certainly not suggesting that women don’t get great pleasure and satisfaction from achievement or that men don’t need to feel and give love and have good relationships …..just that these are the elements which are the strongest influences of self worth for the different sexes.
An appreciation of this, by both partners in a man/woman relationship, can lead to greater understanding and better feelings. A man spending a lot of time and effort investing in his achievements may be leaving little time to invest in the loving element of a relationship which may result in the erosion the woman’s self worth because she feels the loving element in their relationship is not going well. A man may be frustrated that his partner is wanting more loving time together when he is busy or he may feel that she is investing too much time in their children, ageing parents or her friends because he may not realise how important these relationships are to the woman’s self worth.
By understanding the differing ‘feel good’ needs of men and women and what is behind the consequential actions, could this us be more accurate in the ‘stories’ we tell ourselves? And maybe with this understanding, the sexes can better support each other. Acknowledging the importance of achievement to men and the value a woman places on love and relationships reflecting her self worth may help people in relationships to get it right for each other. It may raise our awareness of tough times for each other ……a man facing redundancy, not winning a promotion, loosing a match or just not achieving what he is happy with ,or a woman facing a relationship break up or children leaving home……. whilst these situations may be emotionally tough for both sexes they may also be key times of erosion of self worth for one or other.
When we love somebody, do we want to support them to be their best self and feel as good about themselves as possible? In a healthy relationship, the answer is surely ‘Yes’.