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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.
Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.
The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (https://www.davidtianphd.com/blog/), is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/manupcommunity/) and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.
Connect with David Tian here:
Man Up Show Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/manupcommunity/
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Google Podcast: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9tYXN1bGluZXBzeWNob2xvZ3kubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M
Google Podcast: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9kdHBoZHBvZGNhc3QubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M
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What If Self Improvement Doesn’t Make You Feel Better About Yourself?
David Tian Ph.D. explains why some of us don’t find happiness and fulfillment.
David Tian Ph.D. tells us the repercussions of a validation-seeking mentality.
In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. lays down what we should do to improve ourselves.
David Tian: Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD, and in this video, I answer the question: What if self-improvement doesn’t make you feel better about yourself. Welcome to Man Up Episode 199.
Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I’m David Tian, PhD., and this is Man Up!
Hey, it’s David Tian, PhD., and for over the past 10 years, I have been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness and fulfillment in life and love, and welcome to Man Up Episode 199. Right? Six, seven, eight, nine. This is one of our favorite restaurants in the world called Chucha, or Cucha, or Cuca. C-U-C-A in Bali just as the sun is setting, and the food is on the table so I gotta make this quick, man. I got a question here from Aaron who just posted in the Man Up private Facebook group. And it’s your lucky day, Aaron, I’m going to answer your question like 10 minutes after you posted it. Of course, it’s going to take a little bit of time for it to get on the internet, but you’ll see it soon. So, he’s got it here:
“Hey. What’s up, guys? I’m sorry if I bring you guys down.” So already, we know his frame of mind, he’s already apologizing for who he is. “I’m sorry if I bring you guys down, but I’m feeling super tired of all the self-improvement”, because he’s doing it for the wrong reasons, or through the wrong way. “I’m currently trying to bring up my self-esteem by working on the gym, my music and my schoolwork. But for some reason at the end of the day, my brain reminds me I’m still alone, AKA I have not made any progress.” So for him, progress means that he’s got a girlfriend.
This is the reason why all PUA stuff is going to fail in terms of bringing you happiness and fulfillment in the long run. It’ll bring you pleasure, so don’t confuse pleasure and happiness, but fulfillment in the long run will never come by just doing shit, by going to the gym. And this is what all these guys do. The guys in the world, they’re on this – what they consider to be self-improvement is not therapy. They all need therapy. Instead, they’re just going to the gym. They’re just being dudes, they’re being guys. They’re like chopping wood, as if that means anything.
They don’t pay attention to this. They don’t pay attention to the mind. They don’t pay attention to their emotions. I’m not actually pointing at the heart, I mean the emotions. They’re not paying attention to the psychology, instead they’re paying attention to doing stuff. They’re trying to earn their self-esteem, make more money, get a better body. He’s in school, so better schoolwork, more grades. It’s like the people who are trying to bring up how they feel about themselves by getting better grades. This will always fail. So continuing, he says:
“I feel like not only do I have problems with women, but my friends also seem to not want me around anymore.” Yeah, because you’re validation-seeking, you haven’t figured out your psychology. You don’t understand self-esteem. You don’t understand the deeper things about psychology and you’re just trying to earn it. And so, a guy like this, when he gets a better body, more money, more schoolwork, whatever, right? He gets better grades, whatever. He’s going to end up looking down on other people because he looks down on himself right now.
So when he does get up there, if he ever does, and he very likely won’t because he’s grinding it, but he’s going to get up there and he’s going to look down at all the people who don’t have a better body, don’t have the things he’s worked so hard for: the money, the whatever, right? He doesn’t have these things yet. He doesn’t feel good about himself until he gets those things, which we’ll tell you that when he finally gets them, he’ll dane to look down on the… You know, he’ll hang out with these people, but in his unconscious and possible conscious mind, he’ll look down on them because they’re not as good as him. This is the narcissism. He might even be narcissistic from the beginning, but I don’t think so. He’s just starting embarking on a narcissistic path to self-improvement. That’s the wrong kind of self-improvement. What he really needs is a therapeutic coaching. He needs therapy, but a sped up kind of therapy.
That might include some behavioral change like going to the gym, but not because going to the gym makes you a superhero, but because of other reasons. Maybe it gives you more energy, and a clearer mind; maybe dopamine and other feel-good chemicals, and good habits, and discipline, and motivation will come from the gym, right? Motivates you to go the gym. But anyway, your friends are kind of annoyed by you because you don’t even have value and you don’t even see value in yourself. I don’t even know why. I’m sure your friends feel it too. And you’re a downer. You apologize all the time. You started off by saying, “I’m saying if I bring you guys down.” Alright, so anyway, he also then says:
“Kind of makes everything seem pointless. Recently, I started smoking a lot of weed.” Okay. “And drinking to self-medicate the loneliness and depression feeling.” Okay, so I don’t know how many people suffer from this. If you do, please join the Man Up Facebook group and tell us. I want to know how many of you guys out there in this world are suffering from this horrible way of thinking, and I’m trying to figure out what it is, where you get it, how 90% of the world seems to be so stupid about their own psychology. It’s sort of like imagine 20 years ago, when a fat, obese guy who is pigging out on fried processed food goes to a fitness trainer and says, “What’s going on? I worked out for a little while and now I’m just pigging out”, potato chips all over his shirt, and “I don’t understand. Why do I always feel down all the time? Fuck this fitness thing. It doesn’t work.”
Sort of like that. You don’t even understand the psychology. So Aaron, I’m not sure how you found the Man Up Facebook group. Hopefully you found it through one of the later episodes where I’m really focusing on the psychology of things. What should you do? You should get therapy, from a very good therapist. There are many bad therapists just like there are many bad fitness trainers. Get a good therapist and understand the importance of the emotions and your mind. I do this. I don’t know why I do this. Emotions and the mind, and the importance of psychology.
Not like – you think you’re going to build your self-esteem by making more money, going to the gym, getting better grades at school. Those are ephemeral. They’re only going to raise your self-esteem while you’re getting those things. The bottom-line is, you don’t believe you’re enough. You don’t believe you’re worthy. You don’t believe that you’re good enough as a human being. That’s your problem. All this other stuff, this achievement stuff, will just paper over your fundamental insecurity. All of these achievements will just paper over your fundamental insecurity.
What you mistakenly believe as self-improvement or maybe that’s – [INAUDIBLE 00:06:13] that I don’t subscribe to, that self-improvement is about achieving more to make yourself feel better. Basically, it’s swathing the deep wound inside of your deep insecurity from childhood, actually. I go into this in a lot more detail. I’m going to be getting into a lot deeper level. A lot of you guys who are in PUA world, you think you’re getting better as human beings? No, you’re not. You’re reading the wrong fucking books. You’re trying to get better by getting these external bullshit validation, bullshit, “Oh, more people like me, that must mean I’m doing better. Oh, I got a better body, that must mean I’m doing better. Oh, I got more money, that must mean I’m doing better.” No, you’re just papering over your fundamental insecurity. You’re still a pussy.
Let me take away your money and let me take away your body. It’s easy. You just get into a car accident, you can’t work out anymore. What happens to you then? Let’s take away all of these things, and what do you have left? What you have left is then your wealth, okay? That’s your real wealth, alright? So he said:
“tl;dr Getting tired of self-improvement because of lack of results, lonely and depressed so pot and alcohol fill the void.” Of course he would because he’s seeking it in the wrong way. So, pot and alcohol are there to numb the pain from this hopelessness because he doesn’t know what to do. I’ll tell you what to do. You need to pay more attention to the psychology, pay more attention to what we’re covering here in the Man Up episodes and what I cover in the content. I’m going to go deeper into all of this later on, but for now I gotta eat this delicious food. It’s David Tian signing out.
Join the private Man Up Facebook group. I’ll see you inside the group. Until then, David Tian signing out, Man Up!