If you were raised in a dysfunctional home (and most of us are to some extent), you probably observed some poor behavior between your parents. They may have been disrespectful to each other and to you. Perhaps they were verbally or even physically abusive.
Unfortunately this means you are carrying some negative baggage. When we are children we don’t know how to filter the behavior we observe. We don’t have the knowledge of what is good and reasonable. We may assume our parents are right in the ways they behave. Even though we don’t like their negative ways, we still absorb them. And as a little girl, if you saw your Dad, uncles, or brothers acting like jerks, it is easy to believe that most men are jerks.
So, at this point my clients and I discuss how to recognize good men. I give them an assignment to observe men behaving well and document it. Often they will say, with a doubtful tone of voice, “Like what?” They can’t even imagine what good behavior looks like. So I give them some examples:
- When you see a man carrying a baby in one arm and holding a woman’s hand with the other, and he’s smiling….that is good male behavior.
- When you see a teenage boy pushing his younger sister on the swings, while she laughs….that’s good male behavior.
- When you see a man exiting the grocery store, carrying flowers, with a smile on his face….that’s good male behavior.
- When you see an elderly man and woman holding hands while they walk down the street….that’s good male behavior.
- When you see a man holding doors open for others…that’s good male behavior.
- When you see a child crying in the department store and a man is down on his knee talking patiently to the child….that’s good male behavior.
- When you see a man jogging while pushing a stroller….that’s good male behavior.
It is important to start observing these positive behaviors. You need to know that good men exist, before you will believe you can find one (or more). If you are not used to looking for this kind of good behavior, you may skip right over it.
Recently, my husband, Dixon, bought a Prius. Before he bought it, I couldn’t even identify one, and didn’t notice them on the highway. Now that we have a Prius, I see them everywhere! My brain is tuned to recognize its familiar shape.
It is the same with good men. If you don’t know how to recognize them, you won’t see them. Instead, you will just see the negative types of men you observed in your childhood. Or you will see the types of men that Hollywood portrays with their surface good looks. You won’t know how to look deeper.
So start making a note of men behaving well! Get those images implanted in your brain!
This is an excerpt from my book, Gorillas Make Great Lovers! which is being published on March 9, 2016.
I love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts and comments below!