For most of my life, I have wanted to be different than men.
This stems from wanting to be diametrically opposite to my father.
This manifested in my life mainly by resisting hanging out with the guys.
I would feel like I was wasting my time when I did, and it was easy to justify it to myself:
I just connect with girls better than guys.
For the past three months I have started up and ran a men’s group.
There has been a ton of value for me in just being around other men.
But the biggest piece of value I have gained is this:
MASCULINITY IS A PART OF THE WORLD I WANT TO DISCOVER.
I have always resisted the idea of learning more about what it means to be a man, because I didn’t want to be a man.
I rejected my father for who he is, and I wanted nothing to do with him or other men.
But what has happened is I have completely disconnected from the masculine roots my dad and I share.
There is a brotherly bond shared between all men, and a sisterly bond shared between all women.
I BELIEVE IT IS UP TO US TO EXPLORE OUR RELATIONSHIP TO OTHERS IN OUR SAME GENDER POOL.
Here are the few, most important things I have learned about masculinity that will empower you to learn more about yourself as a man…
1. IT’S OKAY TO NOT REPLY TO PEOPLE.
If you’re already a veteran at this, you can skip to the next tip.
This idea goes very deep with me; ultimately rooted in existing in a constant state of pleasing other people.
I thought that I could never not please someone, I would always have to reply to them.
Once I started not replying to messages sometimes, I felt instantly empowered.
I don’t have to please everyone. Sometimes other people can end the conversation.
I DON’T NEED TO DO IT ALL.
2. SOME PEOPLE LOVE TO BE LED.
I’ve always been used to letting other people lead me.
I would never want impose… I didn’t think my opinions were valid anyways.
As I’ve started to lead more, making the first move in decisions, and being the first to put ideas forward…
I’ve noticed that a lot of people like it.
This part is really important so please pay attention closely…
WHEN YOU PUT THE BURDEN OF CHOOSING (LEADING) ON SOMEONE ELSE, IT HAS A WEIGHT.
WHEN I BORE THE BURDEN MYSELF…
I WAS ACTUALLY ADDING VALUE TO THE OTHER PERSON.
3. YOU DON’T NEED TO APOLOGIZE FOR EVERYTHING
My old, ‘nice guy’, hypo-masculine self was in the habit of apologizing a lot.
I apologized for everything, even when it wasn’t my fault.
I would even apologize when some one had wronged me, as opposed to me wronging them.
Realizing I don’t need to constantly apologize for being myself has been a big idea for me.
It has empowered me to move to place of strength in my life, and away from weakness.
I hope it will for you, too.
4. HEALING YOUR CHILDHOOD WOUNDS TO GROW YOUR MASCULINITY
All people have childhood wounds, most of which stem from being abandoned by their parents in some way.
Our parents were there to fill our needs when we couldn’t fill them ourselves.
And when they fail to fill a need, we feel abandoned, like we won’t be able to fill that need ever.
This is obviously not the case, but it becomes a deeply rooted story that we tell ourselves as we become adults.
The more you can explore and uproot the childhood abandonment experiences you faced growing up, the stronger you will become.
Not fully accepting your parents is a weight you carry with your wherever you go.
Take the burden of of them and yourself and heal your childhood wounds.
5. START BEING HONEST IN YOUR COMMUNICATION (ESPECIALLY WITH OTHER MEN)
As a ‘nice guy’ I had the tendency to hide what I truly felt in order to gain the approval from others.
Since I wasn’t able to feel comfortable in my own skin and approve of myself, I looked to mold myself into what others wanted.
Then I realized I was worthy of love exactly how I am.
With men I constantly would hide from them, working to get out of their way at every opportunity I could.
Once I started to hold my ground, and really be honest with myself, I started to gain a lot of respect from my fellow men.
I realized that I wasn’t actually being nice by not communicating my opinions…
I WAS ACTUALLY BEING MEAN.
When you hide what you really want, others have no way of trusting you.
We all have access to the parts of each other that we show, and when what you actually are and what you show don’t line up…
No one can trust you.
All everyone can go off of is what you show, and if that’s not right, they won’t even know.
I encourage you to be more honest with yourself and those around you in your communication.
Everyone (mostly you) will benefit.
That’s it for now my friends.
This is what I’ve learned over the past while about masculinity…
And I hope these ideas can help you on your pursuit of understanding yourself.
Some of what I mentioned was inspired by Robert Glover in his book No More Mr. Nice Guy.
I anticipate I will be sharing more of his ideas with you soon.
Great job at putting in the work to improve yourself with reading this article.
I hope you put some of these ideas into action in your own life so that you can get even more value out of this post.
This article originally appeared on johnsamuegray.com
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