THE BLOG
08/11/2014 03:22 pm ET | Updated Oct 11, 2014

The Secret I Really Love About Men

Carmine Salvatore via Getty Images

I love men!

They aim to please.

They are human, not superheroes, though at times they try to live up to some ideal.

We tend to believe we're a different species, but the truth is, we're much the same.

They first want to be respected, then loved and understood.

I don't speak for all men or the perspective of all women -- just my own. In my work, I've found men, in time, become okay with vulnerability. They stick with what can be grueling self-exploration leading to deep change.

Men can change.

To some, it may be a secret that men are human, that they can change, do have deep feelings and are courageous enough to be vulnerable.

Once a man changes, some women don't know what to do with the man they've been haranguing for years. He may be more open, available and able to communicate what had been difficult in the past. He wants to work together, but the woman wants to change him back to their old painful comfort zone. The woman feels she is owed something, which can never be repaid; I've witnessed it end relationships.

When men desire true happiness, fulfilling success and well-being, they commit (and stick with it) until results show in their lives.

When a man commits, no one has to question it; they have a goal.

A man who has gotten real with himself, embraced his humanness and practices self-awareness, finds it important to seek women who share that reality with him.

Men like to fix -- they are wired for being solution-oriented and they are strong. Many times they are shamed for their innate desire to help.

In many cases, they start to feel bad about themselves and stop fixing; instead they hide, back off or pretend nothing is wrong.

Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

Now some men have a drive to be a paragon of "perfection" to the world: "The Nice Guy." They say yes, when they wanted to say no, so they look like a superhero and come through for others. No one can say anything bad about this man on the outside and he derives his sense of value from their validation. The problem is the weight of this world strangles him, because there's no real reward for the extra burden. He won't receive fulfillment from living up to the expectations of others.

And as others see him taking on their burdens, problems, etc. they will offer him more of the same, after all, he's the guy who does it! And when he disappoints them... watch out! The shame train is coming!

What can this guy do?

He doesn't want to disappoint anyone, because he'll feel a sense of shame of not being good enough.

I've found men are more hurt, than they show when they disappoint someone, so some stop trying -- or never do -- in an effort to avoid possible shame from not being enough. If we see a man who doesn't try or seems to not care, it's a man who has disappointed someone and he can't deal with that rejection again.

Perfection is a painful place to live. It's to be filled with fear and the anxiety of receiving the possibility of criticism or failure in being a man. It may seem extreme, but fears can keep a man in a pattern that destroys his ability to trust himself to create happiness.

Some say fear and pain are drivers to make us better, or improve. Men may prove something from being driven, but they lack the passion of true desires in their heart and soul.

The pain of living for the validation of accomplishing what society or others think is right, doesn't fulfill anyone! Men may admit to this pain of what drives them, but may cover it quickly with saying how it creates an adventure or that it's what they're supposed to do.

The reality is those are words meant to block vulnerability.

Many are taught they must assume responsibilities and always show strength, be stoic, proud and win!

Except the definition of strength is a little confusing. Strength is not ego, nor does it stand for over-the-top, pumped-up, hollow words that sound threatening. Strength is not about competing or harming anyone.

Strength for a man means getting to know himself, standing respectfully for his own truth, his authenticity or trying to figure out what that is if he doesn't know; it's the ability to be vulnerable. This leads to admitting to chinks in his armor, opening up and if in a relationship, to being there for his partner.

The secret is strong men know vulnerability is the key to their soul.

They listen, engage, connect with intimacy, are playful, cry, talk and have fears -- but show up anyway -- because to them to deny or hide is to be a host to more regret.

Men get beat up as much as women, if not more, when it comes to being told they are bad, wrong or not worth it.

Why would a man want to be vulnerable?

From my perspective, it stops heart attacks, loneliness and a lot of stress. It leads to a more authentic lifestyle and hopefully stops the drive for outside validation to a certain degree.

Sometimes men think being a loner is an easy way out of vulnerability, but they miss the gift of truly living in an authentic connection with another. And for those dating, if they remain invulnerable, they attract exactly the same thing to themselves, which creates a relationship of struggle.

If a man remains invulnerable, and meets a vulnerable woman, sooner or later the cost to this woman will be too high. She'll seek a man who is strong enough to be vulnerable. Any man wanting a good woman, should know vulnerability is his true strength -- it's admitting his flaws and passions to himself -- being honest, about what he wants and his humanness and let me say, if a man shows up wearing nothing, but vulnerability, a woman can love him forever.

Men want to be heard. They want women to listen. Don't judge him. Let him talk and talk until he starts to open up; until he touches vulnerability and there is nothing to fear in what is said, it's just his truth -- and no one is abandoned or ridiculed.

By seeking true expression, men gain real confidence.

Confidence keeps a man from believing he must settle in life or make the best out of a life he doesn't want. I watch as men, just as often as women, will tell themselves stories, because they are afraid, too.

Fear is part of the human experience.

When a man admits that he is afraid, he clearly has more balls than a dude who can bench press his body weight. Half the battle for a man is recognizing his fear, then stating it and the other half is to take action -- to do something about it, which takes him out of his comfort zone.

In Latin, true courage is strength of heart.

For men more than women, they have to detach from the outcome or fear of failure; it's difficult because they are so goal driven.

Men want to please. They are enough. Always.

Even when he can't give his mate or others what they want -- and even when he fails.

We should all tell the men in our lives that he's enough, as is... no different, no worse, no better. No one is wrong so don't make him wrong.

Share with him. Be honest. It will not bring anyone closer to another to strategize, manipulate or force to get what we want.

Men will listen. Just ask kindly. We must speak from our heart. Ask open-ended questions, which require a real answer, that we must promise not to take personally. No one needs to purposely destroy the other; there is no right or wrong, just two different people.

If we want intimacy. It will bloom between us, if we allow men to be vulnerable. If we support his true strength and allow him to grow confident -- he will deliver happiness, unconditional love and a deep bond.

Men want this as much women do... they may just have a longer road to the same destination.

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