Wild Men and Nice Guys
THE NICE GUY
Are you a Nice Guy? There is a good chance that you are. In fact we are all recovering Nice Guys in one form or another.
Nice Guys are guided by the following three covert contracts:
If I am a good guy, then everyone will love me and like me (and people I desire will desire me).
If I meet other people’s needs without them having to ask, then they will meet my needs without me having to ask.
If I do everything right, then I will have a smooth, problem-free life.
These covert contracts operate at an unconscious level. They don’t work for a number of reasons, but Nice Guys are convinced they should.
Because most Nice Guys believe they have kept their side of the contract, they often feel helpless and resentful when other people (and the world) don’t keep their side of the contract.
Who is a Nice Guy?
He is the man who lets people walk all over him because he doesn't want to rock the boat.He is the relative who lets his wife run the show.
He is the friend who will do anything for anybody, but whose own life seems to be in shambles.
He is the guy who frustrates his wife because he is so afraid of conflict that nothing ever gets resolved.
He is the boss who tells one person what they want to hear, then reverses himself to please someone else.
He is the dependable guy at work who will never say “no,” but would never tell anyone if they were imposing on him.
He is the man whose life seems so under control, until BOOM, one day he does something to destroy it all.
Characteristics of Nice Guys
Nice guys seek the approval of others.
Nice guys try to hide their perceived flaws and mistakes.
Nice guys put other people's needs and wants before their own.
Nice guys sacrifice their personal power and often play the role of a victim.
Nice guys tend to be disconnected from other men and from their own masculine energy.
Nice guys co-create relationships that are less than satisfying.
Nice guys create situations in which they do not have very much good sex.
Nice guys frequently fail to live up to their full potential.
The mythological WILD MAN, or the modern day INTEGRATED MAN
An Integrated Man, on the other hand is a man who is conscious, differentiated, self-soothing, and non-attached. These traits allow the Integrated Man to act with love, integrity, power, and discipline. He is not trying to change himself to get validation from others, but instead he is on a path to deeply discovering himself and focused on becoming the best version of himself. He has an ability to be an observer of himself without judgement. He asks himself what he wants and what feels right, and then holds on to that inspite of pressure from others or from within. He knows how to soothe himself so that he can take action even when he feels fear and anxiety. He is an ascertainer who is conscious of himself and his surroundings and he acts with love and integrity in ways that benefit himself and others.
The mythological archetype of the Integrated Man is The Wild Man as presented in Robert Bly’s book Iron John. The Wild Man is masculinity’s highest expression.
Bly believes that New Age thinking about harmony and higher consciousness holds a dangerous attraction to naive men. Mythology beckons us to enter fully into life as a Wild Man, with all its blood and tears and joy; the way we achieve full realisation of ourselves is to focus on ‘one precious thing’ (an idea, a person, a quest, a question) and the decision to follow it at any cost is the sign of maturity. When we make a clear choice, the King inside us awakens and our powers are finally released.
The Wild Man has been prepared to examine where it is he hurts; because of this he is more like a Zen priest or a shaman than a savage. Bly makes the important distinction between the Wild Man and the savage man. The savage is the type who has wrecked the environment, abused women and so on, his inner desperation having been pushed out onto the world as a disregard or hatred of others. The Wild Man is masculinity’s highest expression, the savage man its lowest.