My Life as a Dog

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Confidence: The Need for Love

My brother was embarrassed for me when I posted on Facebook that I was reading a book called Confidence: How to Succeed at Being Yourself. So I'm sure he'll be even more embarrassed for me when I blog about it. So here I go... :)

First of all let me just say this: Who could not use more confidence? Oh sure we all know people who seem to have too much confidence. But is that confidence or is that just cockiness covering an inadequacy? I'm not entirely sure. I only know that this book was full of great skills for living to your best ability. McGinnis covers several topics related to confidence but in the end it seemed to come down to one topic, that of love. The need to be love and to loved. This section was my favorite from the book and I hope I'm okay to share it here:

The Need for Love

Human beings are made for love, and I find that many of my clients forget that. They scramble to shore up their self-images with various techniques, without giving sufficient attention to the source from which they will get help most readily -- good friendships. They make all sorts of protests -- that they're too busy, that they've learned to live without needing anyone, that they can't trust people, that they are really loners and prefer solitude. But it is all a smoke screen, and underneath lies a powerful aching to love and be loved.

Many people make the mistake of supposing that they will be happy only when they find the right man or the right woman to marry, neglecting the essential arena of friendship. Few of us are ready for a sexual relationship until we have learned to sustain a friendship. We do not have to marry to be happy, but we do have to have some love, and that can be found in the right type of friendships. The irony is that the persons who begin to relax in some solid friendships with people of the same sex -- and stop worrying so much about meeting the man or woman of their dreams -- begin to be much more attractive to the opposite sex. Friendship appears to be the best springboard to romance.

There is another reason to put more emphasis on friendship and less on romance: with the realities of divorce and death, most of us will have to spend at least some part of our adult lives unmarried, so it is a poor strategy to put all our eggs in one basket. We could find ourselves entirely bereft of love when something happens to our mate. When a man says to me, "I don't need any other friends -- my wife is my best friend," I do not applaud. He is putting too much pressure on his marriage, for there is no way any one person can meet all your emotional needs. To expect your mate to do so is to ask an impossible thing. Moreover, I fear for the man when, God forbid, he finds himself without his wife. Your mate should be your best friend, but not your only friend.

How does one go about building a circle of sustaining relationships? Most of my clients think the problem is in finding a place to meet new people. But the basic answer is not in meeting more people, it is in deepening the relationships we presently have. Many of us have acquaintances who could be promoted to friends, some friend who could be promoted to a good friend. It may seem easier to begin with someone new, but the best source of love is probably in your present circle of family and friends.

Alan Loy McGinnis
Confidence: How to Succeed at Being Yourself
Pages 155-156