In an article in Psychology Today, psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple wrote that twenty years earlier, when he first began to practice, no one ever complained of a lack of self-esteem or of hating himself. Now, he wrote, hardly a week goes by without a patient making that complaint. One young man concerned about his low self-image came to visit him. In fact, the young man and his mother said this condition caused him to beat up his pregnant girlfriend, which resulted in a miscarriage.
The doctor said to him, ‘It couldn’t be the other way around, could it?’
‘What do you mean,’ replied the young man.
‘That your behavior,’ said the doctor ’caused you to have a poor opinion of yourself.’
The patient, of course, wasn’t too happy with this suggestion.
I like the question Dalrymple posed to this young man, and I think it bears consideration. When a man sees himself as inadequate it is for one of two reasons:
Either he literally doesn’t have the ability necessary to be adequate (for example, I am inadequate to perform brain surgery)
Or, he has the ability but has retreated into a passive place.
Have you allowed your passive behavior to create a self-image of inadequacy? Perhaps you don’t feel adequate to lead your family or to love your wife. I think a change of behavior would go a long way toward dispelling this image. Sometimes the head and hands have to lead, to show the heart where to go.