Breakup expert Matt Shumate helps you get your manly mojo back after a split.
After a breakup, your manliness is significantly called into question. How could you let this happen? How did you fail at this relationship? Are you less of a man now? You’re not, of course, but you almost certainly feel that way.
If your relationship was overly codependent where you relied on your significant other to provide all of your happiness, then you likely neglected your primal urges and needs to express your manliness.
To add to that, healthy masculinity has been on the decline for decades. With each new generation, the connection with our own unique manliness degrades over time. Your dad likely embodied more of a masculine approach to life, and your grandfather more than him. Not all of their masculine expression may have been healthy (e.g. sexism), but they were most likely more connected to a feeling of masculinity than many men are today.
It’s not your fault. It’s a function of societal evolution. Our ancestors spent more time outdoors, were more self-reliant (growing food, working with their hands, chopping firewood), and bonded with other men in ways that are missing in today’s world.
Now, there are so many distractions in daily life that aggressively tether us to our TV or mobile device. This is a habit that can absorb you in unhealthy ways where you neglect getting out there and doing “manly” things.
Gender traits have become more fluid and interchangeable as well. Women are becoming more masculine in many ways and men are embodying more feminine traits. Instead of the simplicity of a hot shave and a haircut, the metrosexual movement has guys lining up for manicures, facials, and waxing. There’s nothing wrong with doing whatever you need to look and feel good, but you don’t have to go with the latest trend if it goes against your grain just because everyone else is doing it.
What better time than after a breakup to reexamine your manly roots? Your newly found liberty enables you to dig deep and reconnect with your masculinity that’s dying to reemerge. It’s built into our DNA. Here are a few ways to rekindle that connection.
1. Reconnect with nature—Let’s take life back to its natural form. No commercials. No Facebook. No fast food. No Angry Birds. Spend a weekend in a completely naturally isolated venue like the Teton mountains, Machu Picchu (if you can afford international travel), the Boundary Waters where you can canoe through pristine lakes, or even just camping at the nearest campground. Surrounding yourself with nature’s beauty takes us back to the days before outsourcing everything, when we had to protect and provide for ourselves.
Another fun shift in mindset is to organize your eating habits around hunting and gathering. There’s nothing more satisfying than taking on the sea, snagging a massive tuna, and coming home to scale it up and grill out. Combine that with your own garden of herbs, fruits, and vegetables that you can use for the sides. It’s a great feeling to prepare a meal consisting solely of elements that you singlehandedly provided.
At a minimum, spend more time outside in your day to day. Take your lunch to the park. Walk outside after dinner. Keep your windows down on the way to work, or better yet, ride your bike to work if you have time. Do your own yard work rather than paying somebody to do it for you.
Purging your life of the flurry of everyday chaos and realigning your vibe with nature will allow your mind to focus, free of distraction, and will challenge you in new ways.
2. Lift heavy things—There’s nothing like powering through a dead lift personal record with a guttural grunt as you bring the barbell off the ground to get your blood and hormones flowing. Lifting heavy weights is proven to spark testosterone production and connects you with the most primal forces in your body.
But you don’t have to be a weightlifter. Get out and flip over a giant tire. Swing a kettle bell. Chuck a medicine ball around with a buddy. Think about the scene in Rocky IV, where Sly is training in snowy mountains in Russia lifting small boulders and carriages typically intended for horses. Spend less time on the elliptical and more on the lifting.
3. Get competitive—Think back to high school or college when you were involved in competitive activities. Maybe you played football, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, or even chess and debate. It doesn’t matter what your activity was—or if it involved athletics—because reinvigorating healthy competition ignites a level of adrenaline that will make you feel alive again.
Your local rec center or park likely has a ton of activities and leagues that you can join. Check out sites like Meetup.com for more like-minded people looking to join up for some healthy competitive fun.
4. Acquire a new skill—Challenging yourself to build a new skill set will propel your inner manliness to new levels. Instead of taking your car to the mechanic, do your own oil change. Are there things around the house that need fixing? Figure it out DIY-style. You’ll save money and boost your pride. And if you’re not that handy naturally, join an organization like Habitat for Humanity where you can pitch in to help the cause.
Maybe you’ve never been able to nail a perfect back flip into the pool. It doesn’t really matter what it is. Pick something that you’ve always hesitated to become proficient at and get it done. Setting a challenging goal for yourself and achieving it will boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Now, I’m not saying that to reconnect with your masculinity you need to pound your chest and transform into the negative stereotype that often accompanies an “alpha male.” But, being more connected with your inner manliness boasts a bevy of benefits.
You’ll naturally be more attractive to women. Women love guys who exude a subtle, quite confident sense of self-possession. You will naturally develop a presence that will resonate well with the opposite sex.
When properly developed, your manly confidence is something people will feel it when you enter a room. You will own the space you inhabit as opposed to merely occupying it.
Get outside. Learn some new skills. Challenge your body and mind in new ways. Put down the smartphone and pickup some dumbbells. Your ancestors from eons ago will thank you.
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