Before Putting It All On Men, Check the Female Ego
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When it comes to gender differences in romantic relationships, a lot of attention is paid to the power of the male ego, especially as the scapegoat behind why men too often disrespect, neglect and even abuse the women they claim to love. Despite this bias, don’t buy into the notion that men have larger or more forceful egos than women do. Ego may be experienced and expressed differently by gender, but make no mistake, both male and female egos play into relationship choices. Moreover, it is important to pay attention to how the male and female egos interact, especially when guarding against unhealthy choices (what we call foolery in the Grown Zone). Those things that (over) inflate the male ego are often driven by (over) inflated women’s egos, and vice versa.
Few things make most men feel more attractive, or appeal more to their egos, than validation by a woman (usually starting with his mother). And often, women don’t find a man attractive until he’s deemed attractive by other women. This dynamic is yet another reason why a commitment to personal growth should never cease. We need to be honest about our own issues and motives, while intentionally thinking through our emotions, including what drives our egos; otherwise our “feelings” inevitably will take over.
Ego is not a bad thing in and of itself; it fuels our drive to achieve our goals in life. The problem is when ego (which is fed by the validation of others), is not balanced by self-love (which is internally nurtured, guided and affirmed by self). Ego provides the fuel for your journey; self-love is the GPS that ensures that you get where you’re going safely. Making ego-driven choices without the benefit of a self-loving, Grown agenda, is the equivalent of pushing the accelerator to the floor and taking your hands off the steering wheel. The result in both cases—devastating wrecks injuring both you and anyone traveling (in relationships) with you.
Just look at the things an ego-driven woman will do to other women for the attention of a man, even one she doesn’t really want. For example, she will compete for his attention to make herself feel superior, or to intentionally make other women feel inferior. Less-than-Grown women willingly engage in these competitions. They may have bought into the “man-shortage” myth. This only intensifies a need to “catch” or “win” a man, to command male attention/affection (even if only briefly) to validate their worth—to feed their egos.
Hear us, ladies: In the words of Sam Green Sr. (Zara’s father), “There’s only one winner when you enter a man’s rotation—him—and no man is worth the price you’ll have to pay to compete.”
While many women compete openly, others are in denial, refusing to acknowledge that they’ve engaged in a competition, even to themselves. “After all,” such a woman might say, “I didn’t compete for him; he chose me. If his woman was handling her business, he wouldn’t be with me.” In reality, the entire competition was really about her winning, only she doesn’t want to be seen as motivated by her ego. She needs to believe that her “nectar was sweeter” (she’s cuter, smarter, finer, more Godly, sexier—somehow better).
In the beginning, she thinks this is romantic. After all, he chose her, right? And he thinks the competition is for and about him. After all, he is the prize, right? It’s such a ridiculously deceptive exercise that has nothing to do with romance, nor love. It may look like a man is winning with women fighting (too often, literally) over him, but it’s all ego-driven foolery that will feed on itself and escalate to the point of being impossible to satisfy. Since she competed to get him, she’ll forever fear the threat of new “competition”—even from women in whom he has no interest, and have no interest in him. And because he chose her from a multiple choice menu, even if subconsciously (it’s the subconscious that ultimately rules in case you didn’t know), he will always be on the lookout, wondering about who he didn’t choose, and even about those who weren’t on the menu at the time he made his selection. Did he really win? Their respective egos, accompanying insecurities and the competition that drove them are the foundation of their relationship, and there’s nothing solid, secure or stable about it. It’s weak and cracks are imminent. The more weight they add to their relationship—marriage, children, financial obligations, family conflict, social demands—the more likely it is to crumble.
Yes, a woman willing to join such a competition lacks sufficient self-love. There can be only one driver behind your decision-making: self-love or ego. It’s a woman’s unchecked ego, not healthy self-love, which yields to a cheating man’s advances or, gets excited about a wandering eye landing on her. It is female ego, not self-love, that makes her willing to be the side anything (chick, piece, whatever) and makes competing for the attention of unavailable men not only acceptable, but appealing. That woman is validated as “desirable” (at least in that moment) and thus, worthy, even more than the main chick. Check your egos ladies, they’re getting you screwed! Grown folks never confuse wanted and desired with valued and loved.
If you have to compete for him, you’re not winning. That’s not a winning formula! Men: Women aren’t really fighting over you, so stop thinking you’re all that! Don’t allow your ego to delude you into believing that a woman competing for you is about anything but her ego.
Women: Establish your worth in self-love, not ego. A self-loving, Grown woman would never enter a competition for a man, or remain in a relationship once she realizes that the man has made his attention and affection a prize to compete for. Grown men treat all women with honor, esteem and respect. A Grown man is self-loving and understands himself well enough to know what he needs in a healthy relationship. When a man knows who he is and what he wants in his daily relationship diet, you’ll never find him at all-you-can-eat buffets. If who you are is what he wants, he won’t even need to look at the menu.
The moment you get into competition with another you’ve already lost. The only person you should ever be in competition with is your former self; that’s healthy competition and the only reason you’re here! Make your Next Decision Better™. Love YOU more! Love is NOT a game. People are not trophies to be won and collected. If you are still competing for him/her, then he/she is not yours!
Whether male or female, to be Grown means to be motivated by self-love, not just ego. Live in the Grown Zone.
For a FREE copy of, 9 Keys To Living In The Grown Zone, click here.
Zara Green and Alfred Edmond Jr., named to Black Love Forum’s “14 Most Inspiring Black Couples” list for 2014, are co-principals of A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, producer of The Grown Zone. Zara is a speaker/trainer & author. Alfred is an award-winning journalist and expert on business and personal finance. The couple, both “Do-Better Fanatics”, lead sessions on personal growth, self-love and resiliency, healthy relationships and “grown” decision-making at live events across the country.
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