When you think about that phrase, it’s a bit of an oxymoron, because a strong man doesn’t necessarily mean a guy with muscles who has great physical strength. I read several articles last week that started me thinking about masculinity, and as I grow older, what does it mean to be a strong man. You can find the full article by Bryan Reeves on “Women are not defective Men” to get more insight about what my general theme is. As I go deeper into my 30’s with each passing day, I find that many of the things which peeked my interest when I was younger are no longer enough. Having an intellectual connection is more fascinating, and far more intriguing. I’ve talked regularly in-dept about a book I read earlier in the year “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. I read an article on The Daily Love yesterday that got me thinking again, for an agreement to be effective, everyone involved has to follow it. As I get older I’m beginning to see that there are many wrong beliefs about what a Man should be, and they lead to statements like:
- Good men are strong and powerful.
- Real men don’t cry or show emotions.
- The Man is supposed to be the provider.
- The Man is supposed to be a hero, to come in on his white horse to save the damsel in distress.
To many Men money, power, prestige, family (wife and children) are a measure of your man hood. While those things are important, they don’t give the full picture, and what about communication, love, honesty, vulnerability. Why are those things not on the list?
As I was thinking about those things, and as I read Bryan’s article, it was clear that there is so much that men are not taught. To be a functioning and healthy adult (I use the word healthy, because there are many other ways) you need to learn certain things. Going back to what I said about agreements, if we’re not taught these things, and we believe the wrong beliefs that we are taught, then we’re doomed to repeat the same bad choices. As a man there are so many pressures that plague us, and yet in many cases, there are more incentives to perpetuate the wrong beliefs.
So how do you get on the right track. It starts with acknowledging some truths:
- We’re all human, and that means that we’re capable of emotions, yes even us hard exterior men. Suppressing our emotions in effect is invalidating the gifts we were created with.
- We must learn that people are different, and that thinking differently or having different values are not right nor wrong. We see the world differently, and that’s ok, it makes us unique not broken.
- On a level we’re all broken, we all have flaws, it was built into our DNA. While having flaws isn’t an excuse, it’s good to remember that when dealing with others. Sometimes against our best efforts we make mistakes, give others opportunities to correct their mistakes. After-all we’d like the same treatment if the roles were reversed.
- Learn to embrace our emotions, we were born with 6 senses, if they’re telling us something, we should probably listen. It’s like seeing a wild animal coming towards us with teeth gnashing, and saying “hey you must want to lick me!” By allowing ourselves to feel, we deal with the issue in the moment. Suppressing doesn’t make the emotion go away, it only bottles it up, and it WILL come back, and perhaps at a most inopportune time.
- Learn to embrace our male and female selves. Men are confident and have a rugged bravado, women are gentler, kind, and caring. Each was made differently, but they were made to combine to produce pure LOVE. By embracing each other’s best qualities, we are able to achieve a more perfect harmony.
To be a well functioning adult male, I must do away with the old mole. I’m not Ryan Gosling, but he’s not be either. So I’ll stop trying to be what I’m not. It’s ok to be me, as I get older I become wiser, well that’s my hope anyway. I must learn to embrace my Male energy, and learn to be in harmony with the mesmerizing and fascinating yet mysterious female energy. I don’t understand it, but perhaps that’s the point. Men are conquerors, and when we do we move on. Perhaps our women are supposed to be a mystery, it keeps us longing and coming back for more as we learn and explore her mysterious deity.