The Adonis Paradox

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    Jul 25, 2010 1:56 AM GMT
    I'm taking a bit of license here with the Adonis Complex, but I'm finding myself constantly caught in the constant down of feeling not adeuqate/buff/big/ripped enough and the up of being overly confident. I see plenty of guys putting themselves out there and I'm like, wow, I'm seriously doing better than that. One minute I'm worthless, the next I'm that douchefag you want to punch in the face. Good job me.

    I'm not sure if there's a question here, but this is a community of like-minded body-enthusiasts, right? So I'm offering a bit of company in the inner-conflict while also seeking some.
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    Jul 25, 2010 2:55 AM GMT
    I think it's more about you. You look great, and so to many other guys. You're not in a competition with them, let that go. Celebrate how good you look and how good they look and appreciate any compliments you get... it's all subjective
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    Jul 25, 2010 3:04 AM GMT
    Enjoy, the inner conflict is a source of energy and motivation to work hard.

    If you stopped wondering where you should stand, and become completly cool with who you are, may be you would just stop working out to look good.

    I felt that inner conflict about competitive sport, never with look oriented working out, and trust me, it's hard to find motivation out of the blue
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    Jul 25, 2010 3:05 AM GMT
    I've noticed that with a lot of muscle heads. I'm no psychologist [im just an over analytical fag, (same thing, i know)], but this Adonis Complex seems to be the polar opposite of Body Dismorphic Disorder... Looks like it comes with the territory, especially if the muscle head has been 'ripped' his whole natural life.
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    Jul 25, 2010 3:13 AM GMT
    What a coincidence...that article was written by someone with my last name. icon_wink.gif

    My best friend has that complex worse than anyone I've ever seen. He can't watch a bodybuilding competition without finding SOMETHING wrong with every single contestant. I laugh my ass off at him, and run around my house nude just to fuck with him because there's no way in hell I could have a body like his and I like seeing his look of disgust when I'm naked. I even made him shave my back once. icon_lol.gif

    Basically, I don't think the Adonis Complex can be overcome completely. You'll always be critical of your own physique, and seeing others less ripped than you will always disgust you.

    What CAN be done is this: Think back to when you first started working out. Chances are, you were picked on about something with your physique. Now think how you felt, and ask yourself if you'd want to inflict that kind of emotional pain on someone else just because their body isn't what "you" think it should be. Then, even though you may not like a person's look, you can look past that and see them as a person rather than just a body. It takes some work but it can be done.

    PS. I wanna grope your muscles. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 25, 2010 3:18 AM GMT
    You've got a great body. Try to relax and believe that. And though it's always tough not to compare yourself with others, it may make you happier altogether if you can cut down on it as much as possible.
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    Jul 25, 2010 3:22 AM GMT
    You've looked in the mirror right? Because you're incredibly fucking hot!
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    Jul 25, 2010 3:28 AM GMT
    I've written and rewritten a response to this over and over and still don't know what to say. Without stating too much, I feel the same way now and then. My hostile upbringing along with my last very scrutinizing ex has a lot to do with it I'm sure. I hope we both get better soon. icon_smile.gif
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    Jul 25, 2010 3:32 AM GMT
    Thanks guys. I appreciate the compliments.

    I'm really trying to communicate the disconnect between what I (or many other muscle heads) should know rationally and what we think about in our own, vulnerable space.

    So here's a manifestation of the paradox: I spend all day harshin' on myself for whatever reason. And yes, it does drive a big part of my motivation in the gym -- gotta improve this, wish I had that. I'll be hanging out at the bar later and hear a snide remark, when my self-confidence more than makes up for the downer earlier. Then, of course, I'm liable to come across as an arrogant ass. Gotta love it. I can beat myself up, but don't you dare say something bad about me . . .

    I'm inclined to believe, as has been asserted, that it comes with the territory.
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    Jul 25, 2010 3:39 AM GMT
    it's nothing else but ego. Some people need it to survive, if you are confident in yourself and don't look outside to nuture yourself you will find who you truly are.
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    Jul 25, 2010 6:37 AM GMT
    Uhm, Xian, you look PERFECT!
    I should be the one having a complex (well, I do, but thats another thread, lol),but I do get what youre saying.
    Everyone will either love you or hate you, but its how you feel and think
    about yourself that matters.

    I want your diet and workout program.
    And grope your muscles too. icon_wink.gif
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    Jul 25, 2010 6:40 AM GMT
    Don't know that it will make a difference, but I think you look stunning. I'd love to look so good!
  • josephmovie

    Posts: 533

    Jul 25, 2010 7:30 AM GMT
    Spend one day just giving yourself a break and felling good about yourself, and the other 6 days giving yourself a hard time. Slowly change the ratio.
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    Jul 25, 2010 7:55 AM GMT
    It's okay to be a douche bag sometimes
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    Jul 25, 2010 8:52 AM GMT
    Several members answered your questions in different ways, giving you excellent feedback and perspective.

    For the analytical gay male and jock/muscle head, we all scrutinize ourselves at one level or another level for different reasons. One male identified an over analytical ex who derided him, others presented their personal egos and personal complexes. We all have a type of complex affecting our inner soul.

    One solution, and I have tried this, is to look yourself in the mirror. I don't expect you to not criticize yourself, but look closely without comparing yourself to a television or online picture of another male. Ask yourself how do you look? Through the process may closer attention to the areas of your body you honestly think look horrible. Do these areas look as horrible as you think or is your brain playing tricks on you?

    Once you conclude the truth in this matter, you will find what peace you require in your life. I am not saying you will change your entire perspective, but you will change some of it, which is a step in the appropriate direction.

    Gay men realize another gay or straight male appears better looking than him, but gay men all adopt the same insecurities, too. If you honestly view yourself negatively, then more insecurities arise. You have to begin viewing yourself with a clear perspective and give yourself a break. You're not as disgusting as you think and rarely are any of us. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and find your inner self. It's the same inner self that brought you here and the same one that keeps you working out religiously.

    It's you working and defining yourself. No other.

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16557

    Jul 25, 2010 12:26 PM GMT
    I think it might be about how you view yourself in totality... I agree with the others, you look great and no doubt have no only met your fitness goals, but have exceeded them.

    Many of us here who are into fitness have had success.. and what do we do?
    We raise the bar again to meet a new challenge! When we don't meet it,
    perceptions can be a little less than positive at that moment.

    Balance, balance, balance is the key I strive for in my life..... and with my business firm as well! I can always improve and strive to do so, but always
    recognize what I've achieved.. and not just with my fitness goals. We are all different, we all have different goals. What might be my goal shouldn't necessarily be someone elses since I made it my goal... and if you don't make the goal, reassess. No doubt it can be attained next time or altered or changed so its more reasonable.

    In the end, nobody's going to hit me in the face... and not me either (LOL).
    I'd encourage you to develop an approach that allows you less "ups and downs"
    in all areas of your life. You have done what most people don't..... you have elevated your level of fitness to an awesome level. Keep everything in the proper perspective the next time you berate yourself for something very minor!
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    Jul 25, 2010 1:03 PM GMT
    jprichva said
    Xian_Buffed saidI'm inclined to believe, as has been asserted, that it comes with the territory.

    That, friend, is called Letting Yourself Off The Hook.

    If you can for even a moment justify being an "arrogant ass" to guys who are less buff and ripped than you are, then you are not a good guy with a rough exterior, you are just a garden-variety schmuck.

    I wish i could shake your hand right now hahaha. although I would've replaced a few words you used with the more abrasive and colorful variety ;)

    I dont think anything really justifies rudeness of any kind unless of course the other person was asking for it and being a jerk. "Do unto others..."

    Back to the topic at hand. I personally say just live up to your own standards.

    P.S. this post is in no way a personal attack on anyone, but if you take it as such then you probably have some issues you need to work out icon_wink.gif
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    Jul 25, 2010 1:27 PM GMT
    I think most guys would be surprised to find out that if you are good looking, or very good looking like a friend of mine, all is not wine and roses. If we go to a gay bar my very-good-looking-friend gets just as much insults hurled at him as he does compliments. He also gets a lot of guys coming on to him, and most often not in a subtle, tactical, pleasant, or socially acceptable way. By the end of the night I am sick of it and I start feeling like he does, men are just scum that are only looking for sex.

    I used to get a little upset with him because it is apparent that he gets very frustrated when someone comes up to him and talk to him and they are not his type. I used to think he was a bit full of himself and that he should at least try to be friendly. He took my advice and quickly I found out that by being friendly the other guy starts getting perverted and offensive. He was right, you gotta just nip it in the bud and act like a dufus.

    I posted about this a few weeks ago, that I was hanging out with him awhile ago at a gay bar and all of a sudden one guy, while walking by, yelled at us "dirty sluts!". We both had a laugh but jeez....where did that come from? Neither of us recognized him so it was a complete stranger.

    So to the OP, I feel ya man. It's like one of those sci fi Twilight Zone episodes where you wish on a star to be popular and in demand and the next thing you know everyone wants a piece of you and they act like fools to get to you. Oh yeah, and let's not forget about all the jealous guys out there, and even jealous friends. That's a whole 'nother post.
  • Buddha

    Posts: 1822

    Jul 25, 2010 1:43 PM GMT
    I was wondering about the article that you linked... about this kind of complex having its causes due to the rise of feminism. If we include gay men in this formula, does it still work? Because I mean of course we are still men, which would mean that we also might have a sense of masculinity; but do we feel threatned by women in the same way as heterosexual men since we do not engage sexual relationships with them where we would need to exercise power and dominance?
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    Jul 25, 2010 1:50 PM GMT
    Ok, this is going to sound really complicated and convoluted but mental shit usually is.

    I think you put other people down to make yourself feel better. And I also think that if you stop saying shit about random strangers (not completely stop - a gay man has to to let the bitch out once in a while) you will realize that most people aren't concerned with whether your body is perfect or not. They have enough on their plates as it is.

    There's an expression in my native country: A thief thinks every man steals.
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    Jul 25, 2010 2:22 PM GMT
    Whenever the discussion turns to fitness I am always left wondering about fitness for purpose.

    If the objective measure is fitness for the purpose of being competitive amongst an elite group of gay bodybuilders for the purpose of achieving some kind of victory (mating, aggrandizement, etc.) then it would seem to me that your feelings have a very logical underpinning. In any given group you may be the most fit for the competitive criteria or not. In the large set you probably fall somewhere in the upper quartile.

    In any given competition it may well be an objective fact that you simply don't measure up. It may, equally, be an objective fact that your competitors don't measure up to you. Looked at in this way your feelings seem to be about right for the game that you are playing.

    Do you ever question the nature of the competition itself? On an even smaller scale, have you ever considered that at least some component of the competition in which you are participating may not be based on entirely aesthetic cues? Perhaps there is a behavioral component that is being missed. A relevant question might be, is my behavior as sexy and attractive as my body?

    I will always return to fitness for purpose. A Navy Seal trains to do a specific job and is fit for that purpose. A Michelin 4 star chef might weigh 300lbs. while being extremely fit for the purpose of producing sublime cuisine. Bobby Fischer wasn't much to look at, but holy fuck could he play chess.

    The question is, what exactly is the point of the fitness that one is working to attain? Why work to achieve a perfect body? What do you intend to do with it? Is the competition winnable or is it necessary to eventually accept a middle position?

    Over the years I've had a bunch of friends in competitive bodybuilding, powerlifting, and triathlon. I spent a lot of my own time pursuing powerlifting.

    The only person that I ever met who had a realistic claim on being the best bodybuilder in the world was Lee Labrada. At any given time he may have had 4 or 5 real competitors (Lee Haney, etc.), but that was really the panorama. Labrada, btw, was always the engineer, humble, and realistic. I don't think he suffered from the so-called "Adonis Complex".

    My takeaway from meeting him was that competing in that class requires winning a genetic lottery and then applying extraordinary dedication (to the exclusion of everything else) for a very long time. Anyone who doesn't have the prerequisite genetics and/or singularity of purpose must eventually accept that they fit into a continuum and will never be the best.

    It seems to me that the only way to resolve this inner conflict is to identify a purpose for which it is actually possible to become fit. Furthermore, it seems necessary to accept that the game is never based entirely upon one set of criteria.

    If one understands the game, understands that the game is fundamentally rigged, then maybe it is possible to calm down and get to the right mix of dedication, meditation, and civilization.

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    Jul 25, 2010 2:26 PM GMT
    I think a number of responses on this thread is missing the point. The OP, from what I understand, feels like shit about himself and how he looks, and then the next minute he feels like the shiz(most likely the result of which is positive reinforcement from the outside world). The bravado that he shows at the clubs and with his buddies is most likely just to cover up the fact that he is insecure and unhappy about his looks.

    He knows logically that he's got it going on, based upon others responses, but he "feels" like shit about the way he looks. I am sort of dealing with the same thing so I am hoping I am not just projecting this issue onto him. I absolutely loathe seeing myself in the mirror sometimes. I literally want to punch the mirror sometimes. But then other times I'm like "wow, I really am liking those improvements, etc". The less I look like myself, the less I recognize as myself, the better I like the reflection.

    The OP is discussing these complex issues and we get responses like "be nice to people" and "you're just a jerk" and "you're good looking".
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    Jul 25, 2010 3:43 PM GMT
    So figure out what will make you feel like you are enough and then let go of what keeps you from feeling that way. You're in a race against time, anyway. Want to end up looking like Mickey Rourke?

    Be fit, look great, that's enough, man. I know you can figure this out. You have the discipline to do so, that's obvious. So work on more than just getting bigger, and you may find you don't need to compare yourself to others so obsessively.

    Thanks for posting, by the way. Shows you have some insight.
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    Jul 25, 2010 3:57 PM GMT
    Sorry for being hieroglyphic. I am trying to simplify a complex set of emotions for the sake of being brief.

    There are times when I know I spend too much time dwelling on what I need to improve. There are other times when I feel great about myself. I notice that both of those times can be triggered or caused by comparing myself to others.

    This is simply an admission of emotions and feelings. I know I have done very well in the gym. I know I do very well in a crowded room when there's a competition of who looks good. (And we're gay men, you can argue that it shouldn't happen all you want, but it does. That's not the point.)

    I think it's perfectly normal to be caught in feeling one way at times and feel the complete opposite way other times. I've talked to other guys who relate to this inner conflict. I thought bringing it to this forum would be worthwhile to guys who may not have someone they can talk to about it in person too.
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    Jul 25, 2010 4:01 PM GMT
    Learn to love yourself just the way you are at any particular moment. Do not allow others to tear you down or make you feel "less than".

    Consider counseling/therapy. It does help. I was a scrawny, geeky, awkward youth and teen. That "Little Alan" who was self-loathing, self-conscious, fearful, envious, and sad is still inside me. But today, Little Alan knows that Big Alan is here to help him to be ok with himself, ok with what he sees in the mirror, confident and of love and faith, joyous at giving and seeing others happy with the blessings they receive, and happy no matter what the circumstances my hold.

    So, I know how you feel. I've felt the same way. And, what I found is that you can find a place of serenity. It will take an honest and humble look at yourself, at all your gifts and shortcomings. It will take a openminded and willing mind and spirit to think and do things that are new and uncomfortable.

    But if peace and serenity with yourself is what you truly desire, it will be worth the journey of self-discovery and change.

    Aloha and Be Well!

    P.S. Massive amounts of sex and/or drugs may seem to be a way to happiness, but will only make the pain worse. Don't ever choose that road.