Show highlights include:
- Overwhelmed with dating advice online? Why ignoring them attracts more beautiful, loving women than any pickup tips ever could. (1:27)
- Why learning more about women, dating, and relationships can keep you from finding a great relationship (2:26)
- How to fix your core insecurities by facing toxic shame from your childhood. (5:51)
- Why working out and getting a 6-pack can reinforce your feelings of unworthiness (13:44)
- Does the “brute force” method work when applying dating advice? (19:58)
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Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the second episode of the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m your host, David Tian.
In the first episode, we explored why dating tips and dating advice don’t work, and how they’re not only ineffective, but they can actually make things worse. They’re actually dangerous. We also covered the one caveat to all of that that applies to a very small percentage of people and we went over the danger of the “just the tips” myth.
That was the last episode. In this episode, we’re expanding on that and moving into this point here, which is the topic for today, which is that what you need instead is the therapeutic process. Okay, we’re going to be going through what that actually means. [01:04.0]
If you don’t apply or go down the therapeutic road, then, instead, what awaits you is a lot of frustration, and you might’ve already been experiencing this by trying to follow all of these tips online, and one of the points I didn’t mention in the last episode was that, not only are these tips ineffective and potentially dangerous, but there are so many of them. The proliferation of them, the explosion of all of these tips, is astounding and can be overwhelming.
I understand that this generation now that’s going through dating advice online can’t decide which tips to apply, and this is a whole other problem and a whole other reason why it’s important not to get lost in that road of trying to just get random tips and staying at that surface level where you’re just attending to surface-level symptoms and not going to the deeper root issues. That’s what we’re going to be covering today that in fact, that what you need instead are therapeutic processes that get to the root of the problem, that go deep enough to the source and origin of why these issues are a problem in the first place. [02:12.8]
The bigger context for all of this is the myth of information, this myth that all you need is more information, that the thing that’s lacking in having a thriving dating life or in solving your relationship problems is that there’s something you don’t know—and part of the thing that is lacking, yes, is knowledge, but the knowledge of the information in and of itself is not going to solve the problem. The knowledge is just the first of a dozen steps.
Okay, so there’s that information, but then, in addition, there’s application, and that came up in the last episode that you have to apply the information and that’s often where you can see—that’s where you can see. It’s like a litmus test—whether you need something deeper, and the vast majority of people, of men who are struggling with dating and relationships will need something deeper and they can tell right away when they try to apply the tips whether the tips are good or not. [03:06.6]
Just trying to apply the tips, is there anxiety coming up? Do you feel and sense this neediness? Are there insecurities that are coming up for you? Do you have the self-doubt and this inner critic mind, in your head? Those are all pointed to something deeper and information in and of itself will not solve anything. In fact, it just gets you pointed in the right path.
Information and application, and then, finally, what really matters is your emotions at the level of your unconscious, what’s happening in your unconscious. Okay, so don’t get sucked into this myth of “I just need more information.” It’s not that you just need more information. You do need more information. You need the right information, but, in addition, you need to have the emotional processing that will actually create the change that’s necessary in your unconscious.
Okay, so now we’re going to dive into the three points. I’ve got three points here for you and the first point is basically a review of the last time, of the last episode, which is—so, I’m going to go do this first one pretty quick—treating surface-level symptoms with repressive strategies. It’s obviously a bad thing to do and that’s exactly what tips, tactics, strategies, and techniques tend to do. [04:14.7]
The first problem is, like I said, in that last episode, they may actually not work. Most of them are bad tips, so they’re ineffective, but even if they were to work, if you had to exert efforts at getting them to work, practicing them, trying them 10 times, 100 times, in the old pickup artist’s way of making them work through dint of hard work and perseverance.
What you end up doing is simply treating the surface-level symptoms with repression—the repression, meaning, those core insecurities that you had, that neediness, you just shove it down lower beneath the surface, further beneath the surface. They don’t get to you and you cover over them with these coping strategies of trying to be more alpha or being more cool, or copy-pasting texts, a response that you looked up online to whatever flirting things, “some tests she gave you,” that kind of B.S., right? Or parodying some line that you read on some blog somewhere about the seven tips to make women chase you. [05:15.5]
Having those is actually not authentic expressions of who you are or the thoughts or emotions that you have, but instead are more copy and paste from these dating tips. That will actually create just more repression. You’re repressing. In case you don’t know what repression is, again, when you’re suppressing something long enough, it becomes repressed in your unconscious. Suppression is conscious and repression is unconscious.
That’s the first point—treating surface-level symptoms with repressive strategies are going to be the results of applying dating tips, so dating tips will lead to simply treating surface-level symptoms with repressive strategies.
Then, the second point is the thing that’s being repressed that needs to be addressed is your toxic shame. Toxic shame is at the root of these core insecurities. [06:01.2]
What is toxic shame? This is a huge topic. I’ve in fact, devoted four modules, or actually five modules, to exploring toxic shame and helping you heal from it and grow from it, and explaining the roots of it and all of that. In my course, “Rock Solid Relationships & Masculine Mastery”—this is available as part of my all-access pass to the platinum partnership—in that course, I go in depth, which is going to be something around 12 to 15 hours of material of seminar and meditative exercises to help you grow and heal through your toxic shame.
Just real quick here, again, just as a caveat. This is just a real quick, very short summary—the much more detailed version of that is in that course Rock Solid Relationships—what is toxic shame? Toxic shame can be boiled down to a belief, an ingrained belief, that’s deep in you that you are not enough, the belief being “I am not enough.” Not that my behavior was not good or that this attempt at doing something failed, but that I am, I am not good enough. I am the failure. [07:11.4]
It is the difference between externalizing something that could be improved versus internalizing it. It’s that you are the thing that’s the problem. You are the thing that’s not good enough. That’s the root of toxic shame, this belief. At the core of it is this rock solid conviction that “I am not enough,” and the reason why that’s so scary, and it might be obvious to you to think, I’m not enough, already seems bad, but the reason that’s actually so bad is because of this other belief that’s even a deeper than that, that if I am not enough, then I will not be loved, or if you were to combine those—and this is what I call the twin terrors, the twin fears of not being not enough and not being not loved—combine those into “I am not good enough to be loved”. [08:00.3]
That is the core fear that we were born with as newborns, because, in fact, if we were not able to be loved, we would die. We are not capable coming out of the womb of surviving on our own without help from others, especially adult others, especially a mother with breast milk or some kind of milk because, as a newborn, you can’t even eat normal food, and, in addition, you need skin-to-skin contact and all kinds of other things. In fact, in that time of our lives, we’re incredibly vulnerable, so it makes sense that, in our DNA, there would be this fear.
Now, as we grow up, if we don’t have the right type of parenting—and the vast majority at 90 percent or more of all of us had suboptimal parenting—that we would then develop these coping strategies to deal with that and it’s normal. I want to normalize this for all of us. It is normal to bear toxic shame. The question isn’t whether you have toxic shame or not. Very, very likely you have it, in that you’ve been living with it for years and decades. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you growing through it? Are you in the process of healing and becoming stronger as a result? [09:08.0]
Part of that process is accessing powerful parts of you that are seductive and it can attract the right woman for you naturally. That’s down the road in this process, down the line. Right now, we’re just getting into it and that’s seeing the source of the issue, which is toxic shame, this core belief that “I’m not enough” and “if I’m not enough, I will not be loved,” and that’s why it’s so dangerous, because it actually relates to our survival. This feels like life and death. When you’re confronted with this belief, finally that “Oh, my God, maybe I’m not enough and, therefore, I will not be loved”—you won’t think of it probably in those words explicitly, but that’s the feeling of it—the feeling will be like life and death.
You might be able to relate if you’ve had some teenage love and a breakup there, and you experienced the neediness of that, or whatever that love relationship that you thought was the one for you when it fell apart and you experienced just how devastating that was. [10:04.8]
If you were to see this from the outside, then you probably could acknowledge this if you see your friend in this situation. You’re kind of like, I kind of get why you’re so hurt, but, dude, just get over it, man. There’s plenty of women, plenty of fish in the sea. But it’s hard for you when you’re in it because, in fact, it’s triggering the toxic shame that finally you have incontrovertible evidence that you are not good enough to be loved, and that rejection from that woman was enough to get you there.
For a lot of guys for whom these core insecurities and neediness are really close to the surface or maybe there are just so many of them, or they’re so strong or the toxic shame is just so strong, that just being rejected by a woman they don’t even know, because they just met her at a Starbucks or, I don’t know, it could just be a woman that you smiled at on the street, that rejection from that stranger could trigger the fear, this primordial almost toxic shame, core belief that you’re not enough, and if you’re not enough, you won’t be loved. [11:01.0]
That’s the second point that these issues in dating, the problems in dating and relationships. If you go digging far deep enough, deep down enough, you’re going to hit toxic shame at the bottom and you can boil it down to the core belief that “I’m not enough and I will not be loved if I’m not enough.”
And that leads to the third point. This toxic shame that we developed and I haven’t gotten into it—I mean, there’s a lot more to say about toxic shame and I’m tempted to go there, but I’m just going to, in the interest of time, just pointing out to you, I go in depth on this in Rock Solid Relationships and lead you through the multiple modules and meditative exercises to heal and grow from this—but the third point being toxic shame leads to what we see as core [insecurities], what we experienced as core insecurities.
You notice we’re not even at that surface-level of crap that these tips address, like what to reply to texts, because that’s useless, right? That actually will probably not work, but even if it does, it’s going to take you down the wrong road and become more dangerous and you’ll have to undo stuff later. We’re already way down beneath the surface of the level that everyone else is doing their analysis on. [12:12.5]
Toxic shame way down below leads to core insecurities, which you probably have experienced. These are the inner-critic voices in your head that manifests as anxiety. You might feel this in your body of when the thought of approaching an attractive woman who is a complete stranger will send you into anxiety of this kind of fear and you have a fear response where your heart rate increases and you start to get some shortness of breath, right, and you want to run, where you get frozen. But these are all signs that these are core insecurities that come from the toxic shame that’s probably well-repressed and hidden in you of the fear that you’re not enough and won’t be loved.
But that manifests as anxiety. It manifests as neediness and you might experience this especially when it comes to phones, messaging, that she takes X amount of time to message you back, to reply, and you’re sitting there trying to calculate what would be a reasonable amount of time for her to reply and when should you, should you feel this anxiety or worry or nervousness because since she hasn’t replied in whatever amount of time. That’s neediness. [13:15.7]
Okay, so there’s lots of other manifestations of neediness. In fact, in a bigger, a more global way, just looking up dating tips means it was very likely driven by neediness, or dressing in a particular way or moving in a particular way to look more alpha, or to be more dominant or to stand out more often are manifestations of a core neediness that you think you’re not enough just the way you are, even getting a six pack.
All of these, they could be healthy motivations, right? You could just like dressing a particular way. You just dressed that way because you like it. Great. But if you’re dressing that way, again, if you’re moving that way or whatever, so that you can be more alpha, so that you can then attract women because you think that if you don’t do that, then you won’t be attractive, that you’re not enough just who you are, you’re not worthy of being loved just in who you are, then, yeah, that’s a reaction out of neediness. [14:08.7]
Same with the six pack. Like I mentioned, the main motivation to get that six pack is that you’ll be enough for the woman that you want, which is normal, right? A lot of dudes. You see this all over the toxic manosphere of self-help, like self-help for men. It’s all of this more toxic energy, which I guess is kind of extreme warrior energy of just being your best self, and if you’re not your best self, don’t be surprised when she doesn’t like you, right?
That’s very straightforward, really simple logic, but it’s actually toxic, because of what it’s doing is, even if you were to become your, quote-unquote, “best self”, then you’re attracting a woman based on this thing, this best self of you, and if you’re not, quote-unquote, “your best self”, then you’re not worthy of her, being attracted and loving you anymore. Gee, that sounds really strange. That sounds like you’re covering over your insecurities with the six pack. [15:02.0]
Do you struggle in your interactions with women or in your intimate relationship? Are fear, shame, or neediness sabotaging your relationships or attractiveness? In my Platinum Partnership Program, you’ll discover how to transform your psychological issues, improve your success with women, and uncover your true self.
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Right, and what if you get into an accident and can’t work out anymore or there’s a pandemic and you can’t get to the gym? I mean, the six pack is a little easier to maintain in a pandemic, but maybe you’ve got these big muscles that it’s harder to maintain without heavy weights and now you’ve come out deflated, and now you’re not … what? You’re not worthy anymore? And that’s part of that. [16:03.3]
Even at the global level, there’s neediness, and obviously on the interaction level of conversations, there’s lots of obvious neediness, right? When you write long paragraphs back to her as texts in response to her one-line sentence or one word or one emoji is an obvious example of neediness, right?
Those are more obvious levels of surface-level symptoms of the neediness that, if you trace it far back enough, that feeling of neediness can be traced back to your core insecurities, which come from the toxic shame.
The neediness comes ultimately from an inability to meet your own needs. The reason that neediness is there versus the way that the pickup artists and other toxic men’s advice approaches it, which is they’ll say, X behavior is needy. Don’t do X. That’s a super-simple level of advice, but, in fact, what really should be done is to figure out what needs are not being addressed there. So, if she pulls back, do you feel like your need for significance or for certainty are not being met? [17:05.8]
Then, ultimately, your need for feeling enough and your need for love are not being met, and as long as you’re trying to get her to meet your needs, you’re always going to be in this situation where your own happiness and fulfillment, and peace and calm, is at the mercy of her, something outside your control and it’s just a cycle. It might be that she does reply in that span of time that would make you feel comfortable. Then you haven’t addressed the core neediness. You’ve just papered over it with a compliant woman.
Instead, what you need to do is to discover the needs that are unmet by you and then learn how to meet your own needs. That comes down the line, but that’s part of the therapeutic process, understanding your needs and then learning how to meet them yourself. Ideally, the only surefire way of doing this is through your higher self or your true self. [18:00.8]
It also manifest, this toxic shame leads to core insecurities, which also manifest as discomfort with vulnerability because of fear, right, the fear that something will happen that will prove to you that you’re not enough and that you won’t be loved, that will confirm your fears, that will confirm the core beliefs around toxic shame, and that’s why it’s better not to even go there, for these parts that are so afraid. But if they don’t go there, they’re never going to grow. They’re never going to heal and they’ll never be able to release their burdens of shame.
Okay, so that’s what’s needed. That’s the therapeutic process, in a nutshell. I haven’t yet walked you through the brass tacks of it, but that’s the bigger picture, which is that instead of treating the surface-level symptoms with repressive strategies, which is what tips and dating advice does and that’s the first point, instead of that, it addresses the core issue, which is toxic shame, which is the second point—the toxic shame and caching that out as the core beliefs that I’m not enough and that, if I’m not enough, I won’t be loved—and then that leads to the third point, that toxic shame leads to core insecurities, which manifest as anxiety, as neediness, as a discomfort with vulnerability, as this fear in our unconscious about going there to our vulnerable places. [19:20.3]
Okay, that’s a recap of the three points that I want to share about the bigger idea here, which is that what you need is therapeutic processes. I want to just wrap up with a story of a client, so I’ll call him Paul.
Paul came to us earlier, came to our company for coaching early on when we were doing more dating coaching. This was several years ago. Back then, more of our content was around the strategies and methods for dating, which makes sense. I mean, several years ago, I didn’t understand what I’m sharing now at the depth that I do now and I’m practicing now. [19:58.0]
With Paul, he did really well through the brute-force method, which is where you persist with hard work and practicing and applying the good advice, the tips that work, the tactics, strategies that work. There’s nothing wrong in and of themselves with tactics and strategies, right? Just let me address that along the way—tactics, techniques, strategies, there’s nothing wrong with them. It’s sort of like learning a language, a foreign language, right? And some guys don’t know the language.
Thirty years ago, if you were to go to Japan and, upon meeting a business associate, you were to stick out your hand as a Westerner would do, that Japanese person, if they don’t have a lot of exposure to Western culture, might not know what you’re doing. Why are you sticking out this dirty appendage to me? Instead, what you should be doing is what they’re going to do, which is to bow, and the deeper they bow, the more respect they’re showing you and so on. Maybe you don’t know this and this is really simple. I think everyone can understand that, right? But you don’t know it.
Part of learning about the tactics, tips and techniques and all that is learning how to speak the language of flirting or of dating. Don’t just blurt out, Would you like to go to dinner with me? That’s just too boring. Here’s a better way to do it that’s a little bit more fun and exciting, and, no, school doesn’t teach this to you. [21:12.0]
Some guys learn this instinctively or maybe they picked it up from their dad or their older brothers or sisters or whatever because they were around it, so maybe they watch certain movies or whatever, but most guys don’t because most guys, whatever, they’re spending their time playing video games and learning science and math. It’s totally cool to learn tips and tactics.
The litmus test is how easy is it to apply for you? If it’s simply a matter of information, like I covered in the first episode, then go ahead and use it. No big deal. It’s just like learning a language. It’s like learning customs or rituals, and more efficient ways of doing things, more efficient ways around, for instance, exchanging business cards. You wouldn’t think that that’s creepy in a negotiated business social setting. You get a crash course on how to do business etiquette. Here’s how, especially in Asia, you share your business card with two hands and it faces them, and there’s a whole protocol to it. Learn that. It’s a good thing to learn, right? Just business customs and stuff like that and you wouldn’t think that that’s creepy. [22:10.8]
Guess what? Being able to exchange contact info with a woman without the awkward this and that and this and that is a good thing to learn, and so I’ve got masterclasses on that. I actually have courses on dating skills at a deeper level in my more in-depth dating skills course called Invincible, which, again, is part of Platinum Partnership as well and you can get that either separately or as part of the Platinum Partnership.
Paul mastered the material in Invincible through the hard work method, not the natural easy way where he learned it once and applied it that night. He had to actually practice this, any given technique, 100 times, but he did it and he was a very good student, and he was a very successful professional and he was a hardworking guy, and he persisted and got it. [22:53.7]
Right around that time, we were incorporating more therapeutic processes into our group coaching and he was attending that, but even though he was in the classes, the group coaching sessions for months and then years, he wasn’t really paying attention to those sections. He really was still trying to persist with forcing these tactics and techniques to work.
Of course, they were working at the early period of just getting attraction, just hooking up, but then once he got into relationships and now emotions and attachments, entanglements, as we say now, were getting involved, it was getting a lot messier and more difficult for him to manage. As I was saying, I had to have a coffee with him where I just said point blank, “You are not listening to what I’ve been sharing in these private coaching groups. Why is that?” and we went over the therapeutic process, so I had it just right in front of him, no mistake about it. It turned out he was very uncomfortable with feeling sad. [23:59.3]
He was saying, “When I explore and listen, and when I listen to what you’re sharing and I explore these issues with you in the group and we could do these meditative exercises, I get really sad and old memories come up, memories about my deceased mother and our family. I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to deal with those.”
Okay, so now I understand the issue, right? He’s very uncomfortable with his vulnerability. Because of that, he’s not growing. This therapeutic process takes you to the root of the matter, and if you just want to stay at the surface level, just dealing with super-surface-level symptoms, that’s all you’re going to get. You can get surface-level change in your life. Then when you get further down the road in life, where you want to be in a love relationship or you want to have intimacy, you will then have problems. [24:50.0]
Part of the problem was that he had been relying so much on the surface-level hacks and things like that that it had created a crust to his barriers, like they had crusted over to get to his vulnerability, and he had to now dig and crack through all of these layers that he had accumulated through depending on these false selves or actually these personas that he had created to get rid of all of these coping strategies that have been keeping him away from his vulnerability.
I helped to support him through getting a good therapist for him and encouraging him through that hard process of that first year or so of that work, and he’s still in that process of growing, but I can report back that he’s in a much better place. He has had a thriving relationship so far and he’s on his path of growth.
A big part of his growth process was seeing that that thing he has been avoiding, that direction that he has been afraid to go to is exactly the way that he has to go in order to get that healing. Part of the issue, though, was that it took a lot more time for him because of those years of not going there. [26:04.4]
Even though he was in a small group, and sometimes the group was as small as half a dozen guys, he was still just sort of phasing out, fading out. I think he was daydreaming while we were doing our exercises and sharing, and he was just not listening, and I could see in his eye contact kind of eyes glazing over and that sort of thing. It took a whole other approach and it then took years of therapy on a weekly and sometimes twice a week for several months to be able to get to the root of the matter.
I want to help you to save that time, also to save that money of $200 or so or $300 an hour that it would take for years of therapy, and I understand if you think, Oh, man, that’s really slow. I want to encourage you to do that, but to speed it up, to really accelerate your breakthroughs, I’ve got a whole library of online courses that directly relate to this. [27:04.8]
That’s a big part of my work of just experimenting, and just a laboratory of figuring out, How do I get this transformation for these guys in the most efficient way possible, in the most effective way possible in the shortest amount of time?
If you’re interested in that, go check out our online courses. The Platinum Partnership gives you access to all of them and all future courses, and that’s a great option for you to explore. But you can also dip your feet in and test with some of the smaller courses.
Okay, so that’s today’s episode that what you need is therapeutic processes. In the next episode, I get into how. Okay, now I sense, too, that the fact that what I need is therapeutic processes, but how do therapeutic processes work? What are the actual steps? What is it that we actually do in therapeutic processes? That’s what I cover in the next episode, so come back to the next episode to get that. [27:59.7]
If you liked this episode, spread the word, share the link with your friends. Really appreciate that. Also, let me know any thoughts that you have about this episode or the last, and the podcast overall.
Thanks so much for listening, and I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode. Until then, David Tian signing out.
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