The Man or the Bear?

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, June 26, 2024
By Gabriela Reyes, MFT

I was scrolling through Tik Tok the other day and was absolutely enraptured by a video of a woman telling a story of a terrifying experience she had with a man. That’s the thing about those awful stories, they’re difficult to swipe away from. The comments on this video were full of women stating different variations of “I’d choose the bear.” I went into a little research spiral and found that there is a current trend where women describe why, if given the option between being alone with a man or a bear, they’d choose the bear. The dozens of stories I ended up hearing were absolutely awful.

with boyfriend in front of eiffel tower

In the coming days, my Tik Tok was full of ‘I’d choose the bear’ stories. The algorithm was algorithming (as the kids say.) Social media is a powerful tool to spread information but the algorithm can sometimes feed us a belief that’s only one side of the coin.

I’m no stranger to devastating stories about men. I sit in therapy week after week hearing these first-hand. Be it in session or on social media, there are an abundance of awful stories about the horrendous things men have done.

I felt hopeless after my deep dad and boyfriend

I spend so much of my time working to help women stray from the idea that “all men are awful.” I reassure them that there really are good ones out there – something I truly believe. But ultimately, I can’t compete with the kind of power social media has. It’s difficult to continue believing there are good ones out there when we’re being bombarded by trends and tales of awful men.

There is a part of our brains called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which is dedicated to what we focus on in our day to day lives. RAS is guided by whatever it is we hear, see and tell ourselves. Imagine what we’re focusing on when we’re constantly hearing horror stories about men. Imagine the good men our brains may be dismissing. Imagine the awful men we may be focused on. Now, imagine how you could change that if you read a few more love stories and tricked the algorithm to focus on the romantic Tik Tok tales out there.

girlfriends with boyfriend

I thought I could try to help by dedicating some time and energy to talk about the wonderful men out there. I’ve been lucky in this life. While I have my fair share of awful men stories to share, I have also been surrounded by men that kept me hopeful while dating in the terrifying pool that is Miami, FL. They’ve also kept me able to say, with conviction, that there are good men out there and they’re worth the wait.

Kind, attentive, intelligent, openminded men that will showcase all of these things in the way they treat you from the get-go. They’ll be there for you, support and believe in you. They’ll listen and take accountability when they do something hurtful. There won’t be any change in behavior after a few months. They won’t make you feel uncomfortable or put you down. They won’t be dismissive of the things you’re passionate about. Their words and actions will match. When a man shows you who he is, believe him the first time and walk away if it’s not something you want to continue dealing with.

author with friend and boyfriend

Make space for the good ones.

Thank you to the men I’ve been lucky enough to love. Friends, colleagues, family & the one that broke the mold (love you so much, Chaz.)


friend and boyfriend in kitchen with aprons

“Right and wrong are not relative terms.  There are fundamental truths. Evil flourishes, but good men continue to battle it – and win.” Mike Gallagher

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