These days, it's a challenge to be proud of being a man. If you're caught in the whirlwind of political and religious social media drama it can be easy to feel like being a man is an inferior trait. It could even feel like being a man today means to be less of a man to make room for others. I would beg the opposite of you.
The world needs all kinds of grown-ass men than ever. Strength, protection, perseverance, honor, reliability, creativity, and growth are all amazing traits that men can bring to the table.
What does it mean to be a grown-ass man? Well, for me, it's a few simple concepts.
What makes a man?
Honor means to be the best version of yourself that you can be. To be proud of who you are as a man, to work towards building a legacy for yourself, and to forge your own path. To have honor is to have a high sense of self-esteem, plant your feet firmly as someone who is reliable to those you care about. To be the creator of your confidence from the inside out. To commit to what you set out to do and hold your head up high in the face of difficult challenges.
I consider being a creator to be the opposite of victimhood. Specifically, self-created victimhood. That being the assumption that life always happens to you as opposed to you having a sense of influence or control over your life. To be a creator is to trust those around you to be teachers in your life. To consider feedback from others but not being beholden to it. That there are coaches and challengers in your life, all teachers, but at the end of the day you are the creator of your future, your desires, and your destiny. Men provide a very important piece to the cycle of life and while we should honor the women in our lives for the amazing work they do in creating life, we can't diminish our role as a creator of life. Creativity is the opportunity to give back to reality by combining your experience into new forward facing ideas. There are many ways to be a creator and none of that involves just letting life happen to you.
Masculinity is synonymous with strength, the willingness and ability to move forward. That can be the physical movement of objects, persistence in finishing a creative endeavor, and/or sexual expression. While strength is not unique to men, it is a natural driving force for men. To be stronger, bigger, faster, better in every way is in service of our sexual expression for attracting a mate, feeling confident in ourselves, and establishing trust that when you're with us, you're emotionally and physically safe. Building strength as a man is a nurturing of the male emotional, sexual experience and identity.
There are many opportunities in a man's life to feel a sense of stoppage or hopelessness. Not being able to attract a partner, lack of emotional nurturing, not feeling or being strong enough, or being brought down by the insecurities of other men. There are a myriad of challenges out there to face on a day to day basis and the only solution is to keep growing.
Life is going to keep throwing challenges at you as opportunities to level up the different areas of your character. How to deal with conflict, improving your emotional literacy, connecting with your partner, and being able to provide a sense of love and security for your community. These are not automatic feelings that come with being a man, they take time, effort, and patience.
So, while I'm sure many men feel as though there are a slew of people waiting at their doorstep with pitchforks ready to tear them down, there are a multitude of reasons why that doesn't matter and shouldn't affect you. That is no excuse for you to undervalue yourself. Other genders, beliefs, and attitudes are not your enemy, especially other men who deserve your support as much as you do from them. There are no villains in your path, only teachers to improve your opportunities for growth and there is plenty of opportunity for everyone.
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