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Are there any real positive affirmations for men?

January 2, 2023

My counselor recommended that I should list 10 positive affirmations about myself that I want to achieve or that I think about myself. It sounded like a bullshit idea atm kinda but I'm willing to go along with it. But he did say that it didn't matter if what I repeat to myself out loud is true or not. Still, I'm not the type of person who says things like "you are loved" in a mirror. (I don't even look at myself in the mirror, unless I need to shave of course). It just sounds pathetic and fake to me IMHO. I am willing to try though. But there are a couple of things that I took notice. He wants me to reprogram my brain and I don't like the word "reprogram" because it's like trying to conform what society wants from me and not what I truly want from me. If that makes sense to anybody else. When he told me to tell myself "I am a strong man", those words mean different to me. Because what I realized over recent years at least from my experience and what I was taught be strong means to be silent, to be a man is to be a slave. So to be a strong man.....those words to me mean to be an obedient slave. That is what I pick up on. So I have to ask: does anybody else feel this way? Do you think there are any true positive affirmations for men? What do they look like to you? Because I know everybody interprets words differently. Although I get the feeling that my counselor (even though he's male) won't get this stuff.

Edit: I can see some comments getting automatically deleted I think. That isn't good

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[–]a-man-from-earth[M] [score hidden] stickied comment (0 children) | Copy Link

Edit: I can see some comments getting automatically deleted I think. That isn't good

Some comments get filtered for manual moderator approval. We do that to protect the sub and its participants. New accounts for example are well-known attack vectors for trolls.

All comments on this post have now been approved.

(edit: spelling)

[–]FrostieTheSnowman 7 points8 points  (6 children) | Copy Link

As someone in the field who also struggles with depression, there's another way to look at it that I find more palatable. I call it 'self-talk'. You know how, throughout your day, you'll occasionally just say shit to yourself?

You sleep through your alarm, "Damn it I'm going to be late again–why can't I just wake on time"

You mess up while making breakfast, "Ugh, I'm so stupid, why do I always do this"

You can't find your keys, "Where did I leave them? I'm such an idiot, I should have put them on the rack."

Now, you may not be this negative with yourself, but many people are, and I know I was when I was feeling low. My suggestion is to become more conscious of your self-talk. Once you're more aware, you can change the way you speak to yourself.

I like to think of it like, "would I say this to my best friend?"

If I would say it to my friend if he was in my position, maybe it's a valid criticism and something to work on. If I wouldn't say it to my friend, I know it's just mean, and I'm venting my frustration on myself. We need to vent, but self-talk changes your perception of yourself, so it's important to keep it in check when you can.

I hope this helps. :)

[–]BlackoutWalksAlone[S] 3 points4 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

Oh I think that's actually not half bad advice there. Kinda like talking to myself like the way I would talk to a friend or the way I would talk if I had a child of my own (I don't ever intend to have kids but still....). There is a different word for this called "re-parenting" but I think "self-talk" is a more appropriate fit for what I should work on. And yes, I do talk negatively about myself a lot. It's like....positivity isn't even in my vocabulary. It has to be fake or something. Or "hope is a dangerous thing". Things like that. I don't blame myself entirely after everything I've been through but still, it can be hard to be positive about anything given my life situation.

[–]FrostieTheSnowman 4 points5 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

I feel you 100%. I've had to work at it pretty consistently over the last two years and I still slip if I'm not vigilant, but that's the only way I could keep moving forward without medicating. When the reward center of your brain just doesn't work the same way as it does for others... You have to improvise.

[–]BlackoutWalksAlone[S] 5 points6 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Yeah that's true. I think the most helpful thing for me would be that even though I'm faced with all the shitty things and stuff and my life does kinda suck, I can at least be kinder to myself when I face setbacks and stuff like that. I mean there's a saying "a little kindness goes a long way". So....I think that might be the best thing for me

[–]FrostieTheSnowman 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I highly recommend it. Reframing fuck-ups as mistakes and learning experiences has not only changed my mindset to be more productive, but also improved my self-worth and made me more pleasant to be around.

[–]Crunch-Potato 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Yeah, first part is putting down the whip, and then you can slowly see the good that really comes from you.

Also why affirmations feel like BS if we just try to force it from the start.

[–]Breadtrickery 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Not Op but, I needed to hear this today. Thank you.

[–]ZulutheZebra 12 points13 points  (10 children) | Copy Link

Well I definitely agree with you but would caution you about saying anything on Reddit (or really most public sites) about it. Reddit is so full of trolls and simps nowadays they will mock, belittle and label you an incel if you say anything like “to be a man is to be a slave”.

Probably the truest thing I have ever heard along these lines is the quote “women and children are loved for existing, men are loved for what they can provide”.

[–]BlackoutWalksAlone[S] 9 points10 points  (8 children) | Copy Link

Oh wow you have no idea how much I agree with you. I don't even believe in the word incel. It has to be some made up word some man-hater cooked up. But yeah I am starting to distance myself a bit from Discord and Reddit too. Thank god I do have the counselor for support, at least as an option. Other than just strangers online. But yeah it's kinda hard to cope with the fact that as a guy, you're pretty much on your own. I really wish there was more support and more I can do but I know I'm struggling a lot as is in all areas of my life

[–]Name-Is-Ed 5 points6 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

It has to be some made up word some man-hater cooked up.

You should look up the actual history. It's much more interesting.

[–]BlackoutWalksAlone[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Hmm, how would you go to find that? I don't think you can find this type of information in regular history books

[–]Name-Is-Ed 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

[–]GM_Timephone 4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Yes, support for men can be very difficult to find. In my experience, you have to seek out the type of people (both men and women) who will provide support when needed and make sure you keep them around. Of course, you should also support them when they need you. This forms a mutually beneficial relationship where you enjoy each other's company and you can lean on each other when you need some kind words, or some help.

It took me many years to find that group, and in some cases I had to build those relationships up from scratch by taking chances and asking for support when I wasn't sure what their reaction would be. Sometimes it worked out and sometimes it didn't.

[–]Sydnaktik 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Studies seem to show that affirmations are pretty much worthless ( ).

I want to try and give more advice, but it's not easy. You seem to be in your late teens/early 20s and I didn't feel like I was "struggling a lot in all areas of my life" at that age.

But there's one thing that seems to be similar is the lack of faith in society and the impression that you're pretty much on your own. Is both correct and incorrect. And the ways in which you see it as true and the ways you see it as false can really change how well you do in life.

Yes, you're on your own. But most importantly, you are your own person. You're responsible for setting goals and expectations for your own life, you're responsible for identifying what is feasible for you and what is not and what is the best life you can realistically choose to live. Don't get suckered into comparing what you can expect out of your life with what others seem to be getting from theirs. You might as well be comparing yourself to the carefree life of a rabbit. You are not a rabbit and you are not another person. You're on your own because you're your own person who needs to navigate your own life with it's own unique combination of challenges, desires and aspirations.

And what's more, everyone else around you is caught up in their own lives and own short sighted thinking. And society isn't tailored to solve your problems. It seems more built to exploit you than it is to help you.

And yet, most people around you will want to help if it doesn't cost them too much and if it's within their ability. Society is a bureaucratic mess that is as much structured to help people lead successful lives as it is to get stuff out of them.

This is the "positive thinking" that I suspect your councilor is trying to get you to see. The more you learn to recognize the ways in which others are trying to help (including impersonal bureaucratic structures) then the more of these you'll be able to use to make your life better.

I also want to add about "reprogramming". The older you get, the more you become a creature of habits with set beliefs. So in some sense, you're getting programmed whether you like it or not. But at least you can try and be deliberate in terms of what kind of ideas you want to program into your brain.

[–]ZulutheZebra 1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

I’m right there with you brother. Personally I think it’s harder than ever to be a man nowadays because everything is so confused. Most women are hard core feminists so it’s hard as hell for normal guys to find a mate. Add to that the regular slander and hate speech leveled at men through every form of media imaginable and you have a nasty outcome for a lot of men today.

Traditionally, a man was the head of the household and respected because he was the one that made it all work. Bills come due? The man’s paycheck covers it. Burglar rattling the door? Man takes care of it. The wife and kids were subordinate to the man of the house because they respected his ability to lead and provide. Now? To even suggest the above arrangement would bring the trolls out at full speed. “Toxic masculinity! Reeeeeeeee”.

[–]BlackoutWalksAlone[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Yes, exactly! So you kinda don't know who to go to for support or if you can even do anything about the situation or even how to cope with it. You just have to deal with it alone. Most women are feminists to some degree and the regular misandry I see on TV has made me distance myself more from that. I listen more to music but even that has tons of misandric tones in them, especially newer music. I think it's gotten to the point where it's next to impossible to avoid some type of misandry. I'm not sure how the hell other guys cope with this kinda reality unless they either accept things as is (which I can understand), turn a blind eye or go into some sort of denial about it. It's hard to see other guys do that without their mental health taking a nose dive, along with being further outcasted by others of course.

[–]ZulutheZebra 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

As to how other guys deal with the feminist narrative, I think it expresses in a few different ways. The really confident types have enough money, status etc can somewhat get away with saying what they want in response. The majority of men I think just tune it out; I’m sure for most guys they inwardly seethe when we have to hear some lecture about how men are such animals etc whenever some dumb ass celebrity beats on his girlfriend. Then there’s the crowd of men that willingly trash their own on the regular (you’ll find a lot of them here on Reddit). They regularly regurgitate female propaganda in hopes that they’ll get a pat on the head from some random woman.

Back to your point about support for men though; yeah there pretty much is none. Women (and children) have endless programs to help them physically and emotionally, but men are just expendable worker drones. In a lot of ways that hasn’t really changed to be completely honest; throughout history men have had to fight and die in every war, die from hazardous jobs, etc.

The difference now though is many men have to live alone, work thankless jobs while society collectively spits on us and then still expects the same level of sacrifice when it’s convenient for them. “Men are trash” “Toxic masculinity” “Kill all men” are catchphrases used endlessly; now that men are suiciding in record numbers and mentally sedating and thus not being as “productive” the newest catchphrases now also include “where have all the good men gone?”.

[–]fist_to_the_air 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Guy asked for advice and your response is 'don't say anything because they are watching'.

Do you want this guy to find help and improve his mental health? Or do you want to ensure he remains miserable and doesn't find it? Because what you're doing is the former. Answer his questions and give him constructive help. Not immediately fill him with fear and confirm that he's right to feel like shit.

Guy comes here to find help and you immediately shut him down without any constructive information on what else to do or where else to go.

[–]Unnecessary_Timeline 2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

Positive affirmations are a real therapy technique, and repeating them to yourself in the mirror is an attempt to associate those positive feelings with your own image. It’s an attempt to ‘reprogram’ you to the your self image to positive emotions instead of negative ones. So, if you have a negative association with the phrase ‘strong man’ then you probably shouldn’t use that phrase, and explain to your therapist why that is not a ‘positive’ affirmation for you.

Yes, positive affirmations feel weird and cringy and awkward at first. But as you keep doing them, the awkwardness fades and you can start really trying. Compliment yourself into the mirror as if you are complimenting someone else, but you’re just ‘I am’ instead of ‘You are’.

They shouldn’t be general compliments that any man, or any person, could be given. If you have an idea of what you think a ‘strong man’ is, then use affirmations of the individual qualities of a strong or good man, rather than saying just ‘I am a strong man’.

‘I love and care for my friends, they mean a lot to me’

‘I am an active listener and care about the experiences of others’

‘My friends love and care for me’

[–]BlackoutWalksAlone[S] 6 points7 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I did explain to my therapist/counselor that I don't even look at myself in the mirror. But he just said to speak the words out loud, even whisper because simply thinking the words in my head isn't enough apparently. I don't think my counselor will understand why I have a negative association with the term "strong man". I can help him to understand it better by relating it to what my mom has taught me "as a man, you need to do this, this and that".

[–]onlinethrowaway2020 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Hey I'll try to add some:

"I am handsome."

"I am (physically) strong."

"I am intelligent."

"I am honest."

"I know what I want."

"I'm a good person."

[–]Ecki0800 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

The mirror thing worked for me years ago. Set yourself a goal, say that you can achieve it and just do everything possible for you to archieve it. Start a new sport, start reading, try to get better at your job. Do something benefitial for you. Your selfimage will get better and then you don't need to hide behind your false "strong man" image. Because when you achieved your goal, then you're truly a strong man.

Best of luck!

[–]fist_to_the_air 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

He wants me to reprogram my brain and I don't like the word "reprogram" because it's like trying to conform what society wants from me and not what I truly want from me.

Do you realise that your current brain has been "programmed" too? Your brain isn't a magically neutral thing that can't get programmed unless you try and program it. It's constantly absorbing so much stuff that you arent aware of, affecting your thinking patterns, your views about others and yourself, your behaviours, etc. It's not about trying to make you conform to society and give up what you truly want for yourself because... Your current brain might not have what to truly want for yourself in mind anyway.

I get why the use of the word "reprogram" is a bit triggering, but it isn't necessarily bad. Especially when you think you're current brain isn't programmed at all. Ofcourse it is. And now is a chance to actually get a bit more in touch and help rebuild it in a healthier way for you.

When he told me to tell myself "I am a strong man", those words mean different to me. Because what I realized over recent years at least from my experience and what I was taught be strong means to be silent, to be a man is to be a slave. So to be a strong man.....those words to me mean to be an obedient slave.

Then change it. Try confident instead. He's giving you suggestions. There is a larger lesson to be learnt about what he's asking you to do, so you don't have to 100% follow this as long as you're still doing the positive affirmations.

Also, are you discussing this with your therapist? This sounds like something that should be explored further. That you're idea of strong is to just be silent. If he doesn't know that, then he can't be aware of saying that stuff or how you feel about it when he makes recommendations.

Do you think there are any true positive affirmations for men?

I'm not an affirmation type person but I think there are some things to remind yourself of. Stuff like "I am enough" to remind you that you don't need to base your self worth on others approval. Isn't something I've used but I knew others use this one and it can work for them.

I know when I'm under intense stress and feeling like I'm going to break, I feel way better when I start telling myself that "it's okay" or "you're okay" . It's like someone else telling me that I'm okay, and it helps alot and calms me down. Can use it for more mundane stuff too. Find that part of you who wants you to be safe and happy and secure, and let that part speak to you when you need it. Maybe you've been neglecting it for a while so you might not hear it or might immediately shut it down, but that voice is pretty powerful imo. Definitely helps me power through things I couldn't, or help me come back from feeling like I can't control anything anymore.

That last one isn't exactly a positive aphorism thing, but I think you're underestimating how important it is to be kind and supportive to yourself. Like, out loud supporting yourself. Thinking things inside your head isn't the same as saying it out aloud. Takes way more to do it with your voice, and thus means way more.

[–]Ok_News4073 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

One that's worked well for me is

The fact that I'm OK and that I am always OK.

Caveat to this though, I don't use this in future tense. Only in present tense or past tense.

It loses pretty much all of it's effectiveness using it in future tense.

I will be OK. I will be OK soon.

The reason is that no one knows the future, NO ONE. You are able to reason that you are OK now even if you don't feel OK.

It's good for jotting down in a notebook too!

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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