When we don’t love ourselves, it’s virtually impossible to love others or to receive their love in return. Unfortunately, many people find it difficult to love themselves because of past wounds and mistakes they’ve made as a result. They may also feel like they don’t measure up to our culture’s definition of success. Because of this negative dynamic, relationships are in crisis like never before in our history. In a special series of six podcasts, I talked to former NFL star Joe Ehrmann about how we can turn the wounds of the past into our purpose for the future. Here are the top takeaways from the first episode:

A Crisis of Humanity

Society today perpetuates many damaging ideals of masculinity and femininity. Only when we correct and redefine these models can we improve our relationships and discover our true purpose. Before we can understand and love ourselves, we have to recognize and reject false concepts of who and what we are.

Three Lies of the False Self for Men

There are three lies of masculinity that set up men for chaos. First, boys are taught from a young age that ‘real’ men are athletic and competitive. Second, they’re taught that masculinity is connected to sexual conquests. Third, they’re taught that masculinity can be measured in economic terms – that net worth is equal to self-worth. This pattern – from ballfield, to bedroom to billfold – means that many boys grow up with the wrong concept of what it takes to be a man and what true masculinity is.

Three Lies of the False Self for Women

Girls are also told three basic lies about their femininity and womanhood. At an early age, they’re taught that their value, worth and ability to be loved and accepted is based on body type and size. Then they’re taught that sexual attractiveness measures who and what they are. The third thing they’re taught is that materialism defines them and that what you wear and own makes you a winner.

These lies for men and women cause a barrier for them to love and be loved. Because of these falsehoods, young boys and girls look for all the wrong things in each other. None of them feel good about who and what they are and there’s a tremendous sense that they don’t measure up. The consequence? Relationships are in crisis.

The Two Criteria to Measure Success as a Human Being

There are actually only two criteria that measure success as a human being. The first is that life is about relationships and the capacity to love and to be loved. Everything boils down to this ability to connect and relate to people. If you’re not relationally successful, life ends up becoming extremely unfulfilling.

The second criteria to measure success is having a transcendent cause – some kind of purpose in life that’s bigger than who and what you are. At the end of your life, you ought to be able to look back and know that the world is a better place because you lived, you loved and you were involved.

To love and be loved, we must start correcting and redefining our false concepts of humanity. Only then will we heal, form better relationships and have a genuine sense of purpose. Listen to the latest episode of “The Brian Buffini Show” to learn more.

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