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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This one won't be easy INFJ men, because it calls for honesty. And yes the ladies will be reading this thread you can guarantee it. So let's see how manly we are - heh heh.

I've done a lot of adventuresome things - mountaineering, serving in the military, running my own business. Still on occasion I'm stymied by doubts about self-image / self-conception. When I was young a lot of girls thought I was either too serious, too slap happy or too sappy - depending on the day. I've been a flirt most of my adult life. On the one hand if it isn't serious I think it can help both people to get a little affirmation. On the other hand I realize that it can be a way of compensating for the insecurity I felt when I was a teen.

Oh - and guys - all those girls who thought you were soooo weird when you were younger. Wait til you get to your 20th reunion. They come strolling in with Mr. He Never Will Understand Me - all of a sudden they realize that your mawkishness may not have such a bad thing.

But how about it? What's your self image like - particularly when it comes to masculinity?

Something a female friend of mine said to me recently was very interesting. She said that guys have it easy. I asked why? She said because women worry about how they look - which is something you can't do much about. But that men worry about what we do, which is something you can.

I don't necessarily thing that's true though. I want to look good, do manly stuff, read Schiller, debug code, paint, help my daughter with her homework and tell my wife I love her all in the same day. I don't think it's easy at all, but maybe it's just me.

God did I just stick this on the Internet where everybody in the air-breathing world can read it?

Oh well here goes nothing. (or everything lol)
 

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I consider my self well balanced in my masculinity. I think my many post in Love songs thread speaks for the other part.
Unlike RS I knew the "weird" girls in school mmm wonder how those women are now? Wonder which one of us is the weirdest now? Would they still listen to me ramble on with ideas that all they can do is shake there heads and nod? Okay enough of about the high school women.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Glad you spoke up MyJazz. I was getting nervous. Like heck if I can't talk about feelings in the dang INFJ forum where can I go.

Oh yeah - INFP forums.....

(just kidding) :tongue:
 

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I expect the same respect from a guy. Everyone's equals. I have a issue with anyone treating someone differently.
I guess I'm manly you could say, I wouldn't look at It like that. I'm a protector. guys who have that "I'm a man so I protect things" I mean its cute in all but I make it clear, I'm perfectly fine.
I'm tough when it comes down to it all
 

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Hmm, interesting topic Runescribe. Glad you brought this one up.

Confidence in my manliness has rarely crossed my mind. That being said, I'm not really what I think of as a bear-wrestling, rock eating, woman herding (no offense but they are out there :T ), motor cycle riding, grunting instead of speaking, testosterone overloaded man. Maybe bear-wrestling and rock eating...

The stereotypical bad ass man that I relate to, in the movies anyways, is more of the deep thinking, deep feeling, not really trying to be a hero/just doing my job/just came to help out kind of man.
For example, I love Bruce Willis's John McClane in the Die Hard movies and Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element. I love Mel Gibson's William Wallace. I love Sgt Martin Riggs and Sgt Roger Murtaugh from the Lethal Weapon movies.

But, truthfully this is only how I am on the inside, and is only a part of who I am. It takes an external force to extract this side of me. I am capable of so much more than most people that ever know me realize, it is sometimes depressing. But, honestly, would I rather be a glorified hero? Or a silent force of nature that only comes out of hiding when the people around me need it the most? The answer is pretty plain and simple to me.

Also, the parts of me that are not as interested in jumping out of helicopters, fighting four or five guys at a time, and repelling down rock faces are a bit offset from the American picture of a man and definitely from the Southern picture of a man, which is where I was born and raised. And Memphis on top of that. -_-
I love music. Not just any music, but music where every word, and every note, speaks to me. Music that creates life out of still air. Even more so, I love watching musicians that are passionate about their music play and sing. Watching Liu Fang play the pipa is... incredible. I love animals because, when they are in a rational state of mind, they can feel you and I can feel them. I love contemplating everything. Meditation. I love love, and the journey to find a place within myself where I can become love and love everyone without ceasing. I love seeing happy couples. I respect and love the elderly, even when they are being assholes. I love kids and want to have some of my own. I love God, and seek the teachings that I associate with God in all religions and philosophies. Sometimes, I am in such a nice mood that people frighten me, because I know they care much less for me than I for them. And I want to change that, but for now it just makes me weak sometimes.

As far as attracting women goes, back when I was in high school and I always had a crush on some girl or another, it seemed like every girl I knew thought I was pretty special. Except for the ones I liked that is. They always thought I was too serious, too slap happy or too sappy, too quiet, too pale, etc.. For some reason, I have a history of being attracted to the type of woman that prefers most of their man on the outside. And, as an INFJ, it seems having a strong interest in someone we deem special causes all other people to become far less interesting. So I never capitalized on any come-hithers. That cycle has continued through my life thus far, always looking for "someone special" and passing up on the rest.

Am I manly? Not sure. I reckon that question has a subjective, culturally biased answer. Or, it could be as simple as are you not a woman?
And vice verse, if you are a woman, then aren't you womanly? What really are the most common characteristics that make us man or woman? Other than the obvious.

And for equality between the sexes, I believe it is only inwardly possible. There are obvious differences on the outside that will always separate woman and man. In the heart however, I think we are much more alike than some of us think, and that is where I think the true us dwells in its suchness.

To answer the question, after whatever that was:
I feel secure in being a man, and the older I get the more secure I feel in being myself. But I am not always secure in my place in the world or how I am perceived in it.
My physical self-image is pretty good. I am not an ugly guy, but definitely not ever going to be GQ quality. When it comes down to it, I would rather not be that pretty though.
My general self-image problems lie in the way I perceive myself and the way I feel I am perceived. I know who I am but not what I am. So when dealing with other people, I oftentimes come across wrong. People tend to fill in whatever personality they imagine me having and are often surprised to find out otherwise. That sometimes leads to self doubt, and self reevaluation. I am insecure until I get through the reevaluation process.
 

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Those long, indepth posts intimidate me.

Yes, I have security issues, but I wasn't always like this. I dated a lot in high school. I didn't have a problem finding a date, but I was never able to maintain a relationship very long, because I was more focused on sports and hanging out with friends.

Now that I'm older, I've suddenly become very self conscious and insecure. Maybe it's because I don't date as much.

I go to the gym a lot, but I'm never happy with the way I look; and I think that if I stopped exercising, I would stop being attractive.

To end on a positive note, most of the people I went to high school with have gotten fat, whereas, I only weigh 157lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
from the Southern picture of a man, which is where I was born and raised. And Memphis on top of that....For some reason, I have a history of being attracted to the type of woman that prefers most of their man on the outside....
I'm Southern too, although I was born and raised in the mountains which is a little bit different culture from Memphis. If somebody wasn't brought up here they may not understand that Southern culture is masculine turned up past 11. There's some pressure that goes along with that of course. I can chew iron and spit nails because my upbringing was tough - but I can still comment on the Greek discourses. Whatever that's worth.

I may be an idealist but I think validation makes you feel good as much as anybody else. It's great to receive a sincere compliment - but it also feels pretty rotten if somebody says something hurtful. I was somewhat disappointed the other day when a young friend of mine perhaps unwittingly said something that stung. I have partial paralysis in my left eye because of damage to my 6th cranial nerve. My vision is bad in that eye and I have limited abductive movement. She made a comment on it in a joking way, then went on to talk about all the beautiful boys she knows. Quite glib. I don't think she realized it was hurtful. Of course if you point this out...you're whining...so blech.

Older ladies (seniors), tomboys, lesbians and bookworms always love me. I draw them in like an open jam pot. But they aren't given to fawning over how "handsome" you are. You know for an INFJ I care a lot about my appearance. But I guess some of it has to do with me being self-conscious about my injury.

Thoughts?

(My wife and I are Elvis fans btw. We go to Memphis every couple of years or so. Elvis was ESFP like her, so I guess she feels kindred connection. I like the older stuff. My favorite song of his is "If I Can Dream" which was one of those times that you could see past the glitz and see that he had a heart. I like a lot of different kinds of music too. Musicians like lots of different music. Non-musicians tend to gravitate towards genres. Observation.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I go to the gym a lot, but I'm never happy with the way I look; and I think that if I stopped exercising, I would stop being attractive.

To end on a positive note, most of the people I went to high school with have gotten fat, whereas, I only weigh 157lbs.
I put on a little more weight than I would have liked in my early to mid 30s. I started paying more attention to my health recently and lost 43 pounds. That helped me feel better physically and mentally. Good excuse to buy new clothes too :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
People tend to fill in whatever personality they imagine me having and are often surprised to find out otherwise. That sometimes leads to self doubt, and self reevaluation. I am insecure until I get through the reevaluation process.
One of the reasons I believe I liked the Coast Guard was that there were these moments when the Idealist was completely sovereign and necessary. When disaster strikes and people are confronted with situations that threaten their lives or when you are doing something good like protecting the waters and wildlife - you just feel good inside. Like you are filling an absolute necessity in the world that nobody else can do the way a Protector can do.

Hard to feel that way every day though. Unfortunately a lot of people don't understand our utility unless they are confronted with circumstances you would rather not see them have in their lives in the first place.
 

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I want to look good, do manly stuff, read Schiller, debug code, paint, help my daughter with her homework and tell my wife I love her all in the same day. I don't think it's easy at all, but maybe it's just me.
I agree! I don't think it's easy for anyone, male or female. As a woman, I want to be strong, independent, confident - all those things feminists tell me I should be. :wink: But at the same time I do want to be attractive, gentle, charming, etc. I think that's the hard thing about relationships. We're complex, wanting different and sometimes conflicting things from one another and from ourselves.




Oh, and sorry to invade your thread, men. I just couldn't resist!
 

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Hi Rune,

Great post. Very honest, takes alot of guts to open up like that. Guts that I myself don't have. I have looked over your website and the list of impressive accomplishments. You are a published writer? Congrats!

My feedback to your post,

If you have made an effort to stop and think about what constitutes a masculine image and ultimately make comparisons with yourself, I'd say your issue is not with masculinity.

And honestly, highschool was 20 years ago.

You've done so much, why are you so focusing on self image like this?

-c
 

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I have an extremely soft side for the ladezzzzzzz!!!! but I also like keeping my masculinity, sometimes I play as a "silent badass" :tongue:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You've done so much, why are you so focusing on self image like this?
The short answer is that I don't know why I am focusing on it. And I think that is more vexing to me than self image itself.

There is a thread on this forum where ladies are discussing the merits of "chivalry". There are practical and romantic merits to chivalry but of course not everyone sees it as a redeeming virtue. In fact I've seen some really cold things posted there. It gives me pause because it deals with my self-conception.

I'm a husband and a father to 3 daughters. They love me and it seems their approval ought to be enough. So why isn't it? I hope to learn.

It may have something to do with my advancing decrepitude ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We're complex, wanting different and sometimes conflicting things from one another and from ourselves.
This goes for INFJ in general. One day I want to be appreciated for my brains, another for my heart, another day for my looks, another for my inner compass. What do I desire?

Apparently *worship* lol

I jest but it's something to think about
 

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The short answer is that I don't know why I am focusing on it. And I think that is more vexing to me than self image itself.

There is a thread on this forum where ladies are discussing the merits of "chivalry". There are practical and romantic merits to chivalry but of course not everyone sees it as a redeeming virtue. In fact I've seen some really cold things posted there. It gives me pause because it deals with my self-conception.

I'm a husband and a father to 3 daughters. They love me and it seems their approval ought to be enough. So why isn't it? I hope to learn.

It may have something to do with my advancing decrepitude ;-)
...and you have 3 daughters?

Frankly Rune, you should be teaching us what it is to be a man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
guys who have that "I'm a man so I protect things" I mean its cute in all but I make it clear, I'm perfectly fine. I'm tough when it comes down to it all
You know, the guys who really have that written into their firmware - it's a good bet they are NF or an SFJ. Kindred spirits to us.

If it is written into your being - to Be - a protector. Then how does this add up?

Masculinity is an elusive concept, not least of all because it seems impossible to prove or disprove its counterfactuals. Imagine for a moment the human heart. When it beats it pumps blood. When it beats it makes noise. If one were to place it in a taxon each of these characteristics "pumping" and "beating" would be attributes of the element "heart".

Presumably the job for which a heart is selected is to pump blood for the sustenance of life. The noise is a by-product of the plumbing. And yet the noise does serve a survival utility in terms of information. It's just that the "noise" of the heart must be interpreted and acted upon as a matter of volition. Whereas pumping keeps on going without volition.

Now, liken masculinity to the heart for a moment. Masculinity has been selected-for based on the utility of the species. Let's pick two polar characteristics of it to further convene the metaphor. We'll pick "virility" and "chivalry" for our example. Nature selects for men who are virile. And ideally society selects for men who are chivalrous.

Taking for granted that the way something was created is the way it ought to remain is to commit a naturalistic logical fallacy. We can imagine a heart that circulates blood without pumping and making noise. Perhaps it moves the blood by induction. If we create this mechanism we have fulfilled the primary function of a heart. But a secondary function of a heart is to make noise as a natural "Sign" conveying vital information. The artificial heart while more efficient than the natural heart will lack this natural sign. Yet we still have to confirm it is working - and preferably not in the breech. So we will give it the ability to convey information through Signs of convention rather than natural signs. It will display a readout with data that can be acted on volitionally.

So now we will return to men. Today some people would argue that our virility is not completely necessary to survival. Like the mechanical heart, our survival job can be performed without our direct participation. But what of our secondary function? Well, I've been assured that "chivalry" is not necessary either. Not that it can be replaced; but simply that it isn't needed.
So what seems at first to be "cute" behavior - this business of being a man and protecting things - one must understand that for a man it is a matter of existential importance.
Nature, has her way.

A young lady who made an unkind remark to me recently regarding my "chivalry", by turns also complains of this man who treats her badly. Why are you with him I asked. "Because he was the most beautiful boy I saw."

I have great respect for women, but I am confounded by this behavior. Why pick up guys who are going to treat you like crap and then complain about the ones who act with chivalry?
My answer to that is regrettably unpoetic. Beautiful boys make beautiful babies. Chivalrous boys make dutiful fathers. By electing to emancipate themselves from "chivalry" some women have wound up rewarding the most shallow elements of manhood while marginalizing the deepest or most redeeming.
The principle contribution of an INFJ Protector is what?
Maybe to make strange posts.

Not meaning to go off on you Nikki - it's a complex topic and I have a lot of complex thoughts on it. You do well to be strong. I tell my daughters to be strong also.
 

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This goes for INFJ in general. One day I want to be appreciated for my brains, another for my heart, another day for my looks, another for my inner compass. What do I desire?
This is true for me as well. I always felt that there's so many things about me that others just don't know about, even among close friends, that my strengths and talents are always eclipsed by my own quietness, mindful focus on the task at hand and also - ironically - my own strengths are covering up one another. Each person only saw a part but few came close to knowing all and inner core. I try expressing as much as I can sometimes but it doesn't seem to work.

Slowly though, these few days, it's not that important any more, this self-image thingy. Slowly I'm letting it go. There's this curious serenity about just being without trying to show to the world who I am.

About the thread topic, well I do have inner security issues. It's a combination of not living up my own standards of how I ought to be, how ashamed or stupid I felt over past mistakes or shameful events - which I'm probably overly emotionally tangled up with unnecessarily. I don't like being awfully thin and underweight as I am now. Sometimes I'm confident, other times self-esteem just isn't there for no good reason. Plus I can get shy and overly nice around women I like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It's a combination of not living up my own standards of how I ought to be, how ashamed or stupid I felt over past mistakes or shameful events - which I'm probably overly emotionally tangled up with unnecessarily.
I think it is a very common INFJ trait for us to beat ourselves up over our mistakes or things we are ashamed of. I've written elsewhere about the need to be compassionate towards yourself. not to engage in self-pity, but to have self-compassion. If you saw someone in daily life who had the same problems as you, hopefully you would have compassion for them - feel forgiving towards them. I believe we need to do that for ourselves as well - just as we would do it for others.

I suppose it would be easy to take all this for whining and that isn't how I mean for it to come off. I just felt like deep down this might be something that nags at the psyche of some INFJ men besides me. So it's a matter of asking questions and wanting to understand.
 
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