Q: How can you know if a Nice Guy is a Quality Man?
A: He’s self-aware.
This is the second in a series of three posts giving ways you can identify the good guys around you. Number One was spend time listening. Number Two? Look for clues that he’s self-aware.
Everything Was About Me
Reflecting on my own journey, I went through self-obsession to self-awareness. But this could only occur from working on myself, and taking action. Perhaps obsession in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it can become a drive to improve, create, or move things forward. But turning all those thoughts and energy inward made me less aware of how I truly felt, because everything was about me.
One of the ways this showed up was endless comparison. I still fall into this trap sometimes. I see other people – specifically men – and check what they do or have. I then compare it against my own life. I then feel like I need to do something, or think about why I haven’t, or think even more about what I should do, and then end up upset about the difference.
This concept really kicked into gear during the inevitable teenage years at 17 years old. I was walking out of the school gate, towards the bus stop on my usual way home. I saw another pupil (I only knew him vaguely) walking ahead of me. He met what was obviously his girlfriend (I went to an all-boys grammar school in deepest suburban London) and began kissing her enthusiastically. The media at that time in the mid-nineties had presented me with plenty of opportunity to understand what my teenage life was supposed to be like – but I didn’t identify with the people on screen. Seeing this person from my school made me aware of the gap in where I was and where I felt I should be. I remember thinking, “I wonder if I’ll ever know what that’s like?” Pretty standard teenage boy thought.
What it set up in my experience was the comparison of life that social media had heightened and enhanced. It now has a name – FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. And at that point in my life, the fear became real.
A Shield Of Arrogance Hid My Insecurity
The comparisons multiplied: intellect, body shape, family…interactions became an opportunity for me to demonstrate my superiority rather than a connection with another person. Having discovered early on that I was intellectually able – and that doing well at school was easy for me – I used this to construct a shield of arrogance behind which I hid my insecurity.
Even worse, conversations with me would descend into a monologue about my thoughts at best, and a self-centered melodrama at worst. The self-obsession I had was an endless well of ideas for self-pity, and thereby getting people’s attention by having them feel sorry for me. Tiring work.
The shift happened after I started telling the truth, but also as I started working and thinking about doing cool stuff in my life. I found that as I participated and enjoyed myself, the moments where I turned inward got fewer. It was almost as if doing more things that I enjoyed meant I was present to life happening rather than thinking about what I would enjoy. Growing hobbies was a vehicle for developing my self-awareness, but also prevented self-obsession.
- Think about your commitment to be in a relationship – are you self-aware or self-obsessed? Now consider the way the men around you talk – is it about themselves or about others? Make an appropriate choice to act differently.
- Notice where you get inspired in a conversation with a guy. Self-awareness shows up with the willingness to listen, to contribute and to think about others. An inspiring conversation about a passion or hobby can be linked to self-awareness. Great Guys share themselves and their passions.
- Look out for “shields of arrogance” – don’t spend time trying to break it.
Have you ever asked yourself ‘Why can’t I meet good men?’ Discover your ‘Natural Dating Strategy’ and find out the answer.