Self-Esteem Is For Sissies
I’m all for male empowerment. In a society that minimizes the good qualities of masculinity and demonizes the rest, more and more men seem to exist without a connection to the skills and instincts that make them who they are.
Labeling everything that isn’t tender “toxic” and everything that isn’t feminism “patriarchal” isn’t doing men or women any good.
But there’s a sub-sect of the #MasculinityMovement that’s counterproductive to the goal of helping men. It’s what I call the Sissification Doctrine.
The barometer for any idea — new or old, Left or Right, male or female — should be utility. I’m open to anything that’s useful, but Sissification doesn’t actually work, and it doesn’t work for the simple reason that you can’t convince men it’s okay to be pussies any more than you can pray for a Ferrari to appear in your garage.
There is this insistence in society today that every new idea that comes out of university psychology classes has to be forced down the throats of the entire populace, who in turn gags and smiles lest they get cast as ignorant, backward, anti-science.
But you cannot erase two hundred thousand years of evolution in a generation, which is why men are miserable after their sissification makeovers. And women too.
I understand that men need a friend sometimes. There’s shit we need to talk about, to rant about (this, for example), to cry about even. The world is too big for any one man to figure it all out, and yet there are aspects of life only men can relate to. There are things men have to discuss, explore, question,and get off their chests without being persecuted for imperfect logic or imprecise articulation.
While there are Sissificationists who pretend this type of relationship or interaction is exactly what feminist man-haters and Alpha chest-thumpers don’t want you to have, don’t think you should have, and argue you don’t need, this isn’t what I mean at all. Have it! Just don’t pay for it, and don’t seek refuge in female approval.
What’s dangerous isn’t talking about our problems now and then, but talking about talking about our problems, as if talking solves a goddamn thing.
NEWSFLASH: It doesn’t. Not for men it doesn’t.
At the end of the day…better yet…at the end of this entire life you’ve been given, 80 years of talking won’t fix a damn thing, because whatever you’re trying to convince the world of — whatever you’re trying to convince yourself — isn’t believed until you prove it, and to prove it you have to do it, to live it, to walk the walk.
Part of Seth Feroce’s All American Roughneck brand contains the slogan, “No Problems, Just Work.” It’s catchy and looks good on T-shirts, but it’s not just four neat little words. It’s a truth you discover after a good stint at hard living. It’s a fact (and you know it’s a fact because Feroce can’t keep the fucking T-shirts in stock) that the more you work, the fewer problems you have.
Go ahead. Name a few problems you have. Run them through the No-Problems-Just-Work grinder and see if they survive.
Don’t have girlfriend? No car? No money? No job? Sad? Lonely? Depressed? Do you drink too much, smoke too much, game too much, sit around eating too much shitty fast food scrolling shitty meme pages on shitty social media apps that contribute absolute fuck-all to humanity except a way to pass the time until you bite the bullet? Are you obese? Impotent? Bored?
Every one of these “problems” is made better by work. And the reason that’s so is that each of these problems is caused by not enough work.
“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” — Samuel Goldwyn
Nobody ever succeeded sitting on their ass, and nobody was actually handsome just because their mama said they were.
Hard work is satisfying in and of itself, but it also leads to better jobs (every business owner wants hard workers), and higher wages (same). Chicks dig dudes who give a fuck about what they do, even if what they do isn’t rocket science. It shows expertise, passion, and the will to provide for more than themselves.
If you exist to earn a paycheck to pay the rent and eat, your misery is no mystery. I can’t speculate about how many women out there are looking for a project — a depressed loser to fix up into something presentable to their parents — but I can only assume your odds of being chosen for that particular assignment are low.
Depression, alcoholism, obesity, boredom: these are pity problems, modern manifestations of ease and nothing more.
And that’s the part about these “Masculinity Masters” or “ego influencers” that’s such bullshit. They’re not in it for you — if they were, they would tell you to get off your ass and work so hard you have no energy left to complain — they’re in it for themselves, and you can tell not by what they say, but what they do.
Man Rule: Nobody talked you into your pity problems, talking won’t get you out of them.
Guys who don the title “coach” without being in sports aren’t gurus, they’re entrepreneurs. They talk a good game about “self-acceptance” and “inner peace” and “personal healing,” but what is it they’re actually selling?
They’re selling themselves. To you. For money.
This is not unlike the Instagram girls with book review pages who post thousands of photographs of themselves reading books, holding books, leaning over books — tons of books, books everywhere! And a little leg, a little ass, a little cleavage, and that seductive twinkle in their eye.
Man Rule: The pitch is not the product.
Beautiful people sell themselves, and online “coaches” are no different. They may be charming, handsome, and smooth-talking, but they wipe their ass just like everyone else, and they probably spend more time editing selfies than your little sister.
I don’t hate the player, I’m just embarrassed by all the paying patsies.
There’s no secret knowledge for solving your specific kind of pain, no trick to unshackling your “inner peace,” no Buddhist chant to discovering whatever self- problem you think you have — be it -esteem or -acceptance or -love.
Man Rule: If you paying for a service, let it be material.
The reason all of this is bullshit — if you can’t already tell by the sheer number of people trying to cash in on it — is that it’s destined to fail for the simple fact that the mind cannot overcome 200,000 years of evolution in 30 days, or 5 days, or however many days they promise to have you fixed.
Men did not evolve to be sissies, which is why you can’t talk yourself into accepting versions of yourself that aren’t productive. You may not be very smart, but you’re smart enough to know that calling yourself “king” does not make you one.
“Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.” — Tyler Durden, Fight Club
Neither memes nor conferences nor a lifetime of therapy will “build” self-esteem or convince you that you’re worthy of all the wonderful flowery things the Masculinity Masters say you deserve. You actually have to put in the work.
You can repeat the mantras every day — “I am worthy,” “I am lovable,” “I am a strong sexy beast of a man” — but verbalizing it doesn’t make it true, any more than telling yourself you’re a comedian will make people laugh at your jokes if they’re not funny.
None of this is to say that every self-help coach is a charlatan. Some are, and they know who they are. Some want to share their stories, and when their story proves useful, they monetize it. David Goggins is not a charlatan just because he wrote a best-selling book. Nor is @ElliottHulse or @Jordan.B.Peterson, though some will argue otherwise.
I am better for hearing and reading other men’s stories, of fatherhood and fitness and life philosophies that carry them through hard times. There are books and podcasts and social media pages run by awesome people sharing truly empowering messages, but they’re usually offensive, difficult, and brutally honest.
That’s the difference. The Sissification Doctrine capitalizes on laziness, when the only real solution is doing all the shit you know you should do but won’t.
An honest man would also tell you there are some problems you can’t solve. Emotional problems, problems of love, abandonment, abuse, insecurities — talking about this stuff once in a while is fine. But there are two reasons you shouldn’t make a hobby of self-pity.
One is, you become what you fill your mind with.
“As a man thinketh in his heart so is he” — Proverbs 23:7
The more you dwell on the immaterial and incorporeal, the more real these “problems” become. Meditation can make monsters out of minutia. Do not gossip about yourself, and do not pay someone as a “guide” into the darkness of self-gossip. This is the real “toxic masculinity,” this hypochondria of the mind.
Secondly, you can’t fix everything. There’s nothing you can do about a woman who doesn’t love you or a father who doesn’t like you. Life hurts, and that kind of pain shakes you at your core. It will take away years of your life and cost you relationships. And it will never go away, even if Bob Stubbs of the Stubbs Institute for Manly Empowerment claims it will.
Man Rule: Friendly strangers want your money.
At a certain point you have to accept that you are who you are and move on. You should strive to be a better man, a better version of yourself, but dwelling on what someone else finds lacking accomplishes nothing. Talking about it won’t make her love you. Having a friendly stranger with a PhD tell you your father is “missing out” on what a great guy you are won’t make that cold shoulder any less crippling.
No woman is attracted to a man who sulks, and no father respects him. Accept what is, and get back to work.
We evolved to be workers, to produce, to protect, to provide. If you’re not doing that — the stuff your entire species evolved doing — you’re denying your nature, and that’s your real problem. You’re suffering a deficiency of purpose. No self-esteem or inner peace training will fix that.
Only work will.
“Self-esteem is for sissies” — Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates