There it is again, that term…”real man.” A term that has been struck down over the past few years in favor of all-inclusiveness and the fear of creating an impossible standard that some men are unable (or unwilling) to meet.
But, what if we redefined what it means to be a ‘real man’? What if we allow our collective evolved consciousness to open the floodgates of possibility and understand that being a ‘real man’ doesn’t have to be a negative, or restrictive label?
If we were to define the new version of a ‘real man,’ what would he be like?
A real man is caring and genuine.
Right off the bat, we need to eliminate the stigma that ‘manliness’ is about being cold and abrasive. We have spent too many decades, centuries, and eons, painting men as chest-bumping, grunting, neanderthals who are incapable of performing even the most basic of kindhearted tasks.
A ‘real man’ understands that having feelings is not a weakness, but a strength – your emotions allow you to stay in touch with yourself and the people around you. Ignoring these basic feelings, I would argue, is the weakness – because you are unwilling to feel, care, and nurture.
A real man is always improving himself.
As Muhammad Ali once said, ‘The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.’
Life is a constant journey of self-development as the world evolves around us. We cannot sit idly by and stop evolving, ourselves, unless we want to be left behind. I understand this is a looming reality and can be a bit intimidating: Are we really supposed to never let off the throttle?
I think the truth of life is that the more skills we can acquire, the more knowledge we can amass, and the more we can utilize these tools to help others and improve the world: The more fulfilled we will be. That’s what a real man does.
A real man is honest with those around him.
Whether it is in a dating scenario, a professional setting, or in his family life – a real man will always be up front and honest about what he is thinking and feeling. But, of course, with tact. No man (or woman) should be verbally abrasive or abusive towards others, under any circumstances.
Honesty is the foundation of trust, which no type of relationship can survive without.
A real man is honest with himself.
What’s even more important than honesty towards those around you, is how you communicate with yourself. We don’t spend nearly enough time truly discovering who we are, and therefore never truly discover what is actually going to make us happy in this life.
When this happens (often) it creates a disconnect from the world around you, because you are constantly going through the motions and not actually living a full life that you can truly love. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what your race, gender, ethnicity, color, sexual orientation, place of birth, astrological sign, political affili…you get the idea – none of this changes the fact that you are a human being who has wants, needs, and desires – and you cannot fully identify them if you are always hiding from who you truly are.
A real man isn’t afraid to acknowledge his emotions.
A bit of an extension from the first point where a man will be caring and genuine, we are also all human beings who experience sadness, fear, frustration, anger, joy, and everything in between.
As men, we are taught from a young age to ‘man up’ when we feel hurt or sadness. In other words: Don’t show your emotions. Don’t feel them. Don’t acknowledge them. And, certainly don’t express them.
This is a problem for many reasons, a big one of which is that it prevents us from understanding ourselves and how we naturally respond to certain scenarios. Only when we face our natural responses, can we recognize them, absorb them, and determine whether or not they are serving us.
Then, when we feel what our instincts are telling us, we can make a logical decision about whether or not this is the best reaction for the situation at hand. But, only then, can we act accordingly and effectively.
A real man contributes to the world.
In a society where we are so hung up on our own selves – looking for validation for what I am doing. Seeing how many likes and followers I can get. We are losing sight of the fact that real happiness and fulfillment comes from contributing to the world and people around us. From giving to a larger cause than ourselves. From moving society forward in a way that only you can.
The things that you do for yourself may benefit you directly, but they also leave the world when you leave. The things you do for others will live on as your legacy – the stories people tell of you, the impact you have on more lives than just your own. That is what is really important.
A real man stands up for what is right.
In an age of rampant sexual harassment being exposed at every corner, we are pulling back the curtain on how long certain behaviors have been allowed (and even encouraged) by people who are aware of them over time.
Even in recent history with an incident involving “locker room talk” that some of you may remember, there was much conversation about how men are simply laughing along with the jokes of others, likely out of fear of ridicule.
It is time we start standing up when inappropriate comments and actions are made. As men, we need to be willing to call out other men for the sake of honor and respect – not remain quiet for fear of being ostracized (why would we want to be around men whose actions we don’t approve of, anyway?)
A real man shows gratitude.
It is nearly impossible to live a full life without expressing gratitude. Whether it is gratitude for your family, friends, loved one(s), clothes on your back, phone in your hand, or whatever it may be – too many of us take life’s common luxuries for granted. Things that previous generations could never even imagine existing, we experience on a daily basis, and don’t think twice about it.
Taking the time to truly acknowledge the amazing things in life will allow you to breathe in the air of your reality and live a fuller life by appreciating what surrounds you.
A real man gives more than he takes.
No solid foundation for any relationship, business, accomplishment, or cause, was built off of the premise of “what’s in it for me?” The willingness to give, in all areas of life, allows for many things to blossom that would never be possible with a selfish mindset.
The irony of being selfish, is that people do it in order to advance their own agendas or progress quicker towards their goals – when in reality, putting other people first would actually accomplish these things faster and more efficiently.
A real man is whatever the hell he wants to be.
Do not allow society fit you into a mold of what you’re supposed to look like, how you’re supposed to dress, where you’re supposed to live, or who you’re supposed to love. Being a happy, fulfilled, well-rounded person is about creating your own lifestyle, based on your own unique personality and passions.
We spend too much time placing labels on each other in order to avoid the work of actually understanding individual humans. No two of us are the same, so it’s certainly true that no group of people is the same just because we put labels on them.
Be kind, be genuine, be good to others, and at your very core – be true to yourself.
That’s what a real man does.
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