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Navigating Masculinity: Overcoming Low Self-Worth Struggles for Men

Low self-worth struggles are one of the less–talked–about issues commonly facing men today.

We see a lot of mention on social media about having self-confidence and “being yourself,” and some men might be able to find some validation there....but what about for the average man?

What about the man with low self-esteem in a world that expects him to be strong?

What about the man with a shitty job in a world that demands he be a top earner?

What about the man who was just broken up with, in a world that doesn’t care?

What about the man who is worried about things, in a world that demands he be confident?

How can these men be masculine and brave in the face of every-day struggles?

Traditional stereotypes and expectations surrounding what it means to be a man—often called “masculinity”—can take a toll on our mental health and overall well-being.

However, masculinity is not inherently good or bad.

And it’s certainly not a metric by which a man should judge his self-worth.

Furthermore, “masculinity” is not a rigid concept and it has changed through time (and continues to change even today).

So if you are struggling with self-doubt or low self-worth and you think part of it is not living up to expectations of masculinity, this article explores some new perspectives on the topic.

By challenging perfectionism, embracing self-compassion, developing emotional intelligence, finding balance, and seeking help and support, men can overcome their struggles and find a path to an improved sense of self-worth.

Breaking Down Stereotypes: Redefining Masculinity

Stereotypes have long influenced our perception of masculinity.

The idea that men should be strong, emotionless, and always in control has created immense pressure for many.

The “perfectionist model” of masculinity leads to fear of failure, black/white thinking, and negative impacts on our relationships.

However these societal expectations are dated, and rooted in a different time.

The modern man has agency to be who he wants to be—and to create value for his own life in a way that has meaning to him.

Modern masculinity is the transition from external validation to internal validation.

We are often seeking external validation instead of internal validation.... For instance, the job you have, car you drive, clothes you wear, opinions you say, etc... how would they change if no one else knew about them? What job would you want to have if no one ever knew what you did for work? What car would you want to drive if no one ever knew what car you drove?

What clothes would you wear if no one ever knew what clothes you had? What would your opinions be if you knew no one would ever hear them?

When we value what others might think about us over our true values, we set ourselves up for low self-worth because the source of our value no longer comes from within, it is dependent on others.

Forget any notion you have of what is “masculine” and what is not. What is you? What are your values? What is important to you? When you find this, create structure around it. Live your life according to these values and notice your life having a foundation and substance from which self-worth can regenerate.

It’s time to start building a paradigm for yourself where feelings of inadequacy turn into moments of learning. Where frustration turns into motivation. Where loneliness turns into connection.

The Role of Self-Compassion in Your Journey to Self-Worth

Self-compassion plays a crucial role in overcoming low self-worth struggles for men.

Many men struggle with being overly critical of themselves, constantly striving for perfection and feeling inadequate when they fall short.

However, by cultivating self-compassion, men can break free from this cycle of self-judgment and develop a healthier sense of self-worth.

Self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance, even in the face of failures or setbacks.

By practicing self-compassion, we can learn to embrace our flaws, forgive ourselves for mistakes, and recognize that we are deserving of love and acceptance.

This inner resilience not only benefits mental health but also enhances relationships and overall quality of life.

To start, next time you notice feeling frustrated or critical with yourself, ask yourself, “how would i treat a friend in this situation?"

Then do or say those things to yourself.

Finding Balance: Work, Relationships, and Self-Care in Men's Lives

Finding balance key.

Men often feel pressure to excel in their careers, maintain fulfilling relationships, and prioritize the well-being of those around them—all simultaneously.

When we fail to meet these (assumed) expectations, we may engage in negative self-talk, or neglect to set boundaries that protect our own well-being.

Men with high self-esteem are not perfect.

But they strive to create healthy relationships with themselves and with their friends, families, and partners.

What does this mean?

It doesn’t mean putting yourself last.

It means accepting imperfection and limitations, and communicating clearly with those around you.

Because when you feel the pressure of the world on you, and nobody knows what you need, it’s normal to have negative thoughts.

But defining what balance looks like to you and then owning that in your interactions with others is a key pillar in building stronger self-worth and health in your life.

If the Captain falls, the ship stalls.

You are the captain.

Your crew are depending on you.

This doesn’t mean that you need to exhaust yourself.

On the contrary, you need to take care of the captain so he can continue to be what the crew need him to be.

He needs to sleep, to eat, to move, to have fun, to rest, etc. in order to be the best captain he can be for his crew.

Don’t forget to give your captain what he needs and let him ask for it.

Addressing the Stigma: Seeking Help and Support for Men's Mental Health

One of the biggest challenges for men in navigating self-worth struggles is the stigma surrounding men's mental health.

Some men assume seeking help is a sign of weakness, preventing them from accessing the support they need.

But is a team not more powerful than the individual?

It is crucial for men to challenge this stigma and create a culture of openness and support.

Seeking help, whether it be from friends, family, or professionals, is a courageous step towards self-improvement and should be celebrated.

Navigating masculinity and overcoming low self-worth struggles is an ongoing journey for many men.

By breaking down stereotypes, cultivating self-compassion, developing emotional intelligence, challenging perfectionism, finding balance, and seeking help and support, men can navigate these struggles with greater resilience and improve their sense of self-worth.

It is time to redefine masculinity for the better and create a society that celebrates the diversity of men's experiences and identities.

If you’re looking to talk to somebody about overcoming your dissatisfaction, book a 15-minute risk-free phone consultation to see if Key Psychological is the right fit for you.

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