Disclaimer: I wrote an article back in July entitled “Men Aren’t Declining, Our Status Just Needs Improving.” In the article, I discussed how platforms like GMP need to create a dialogue with those who adhere to toxic masculinity. Part of having that dialogue must consist of hearing alternative points of view. While I don’t adhere to toxic masculinity, I do want to offer a different viewpoint on the phrase “Man Up.” I wanted to write this article because I fail to comprehend how such a phrase can be viewed as toxic.
American society has evolved a lot. We’ve made significant advancements in many areas – race, the role of women, technology – but I also feel we have taken a few steps back in other areas.
I tend to diverge from many of the writers on the Good Men Project as far as my political beliefs go. Or, to state it more blankly, “I tend to have a more conservative opinion of social matters.” One area where I disagree with some of the featured writers is when it comes to the phrases “man up” and “grow a pair.”
I believe that a man’s character is one of his most important virtues, and part of what builds character is his willingness to fight the tough battle and handle the stresses life throws at him.
Things, unfortunately, seem to be changing.
I feel that way because so many men today become offended when someone tells them to “man up.” If I had allowed such phrases to offend me in the past, I would never have been able to handle any type of hardship or criticism.
While I agree that modern day masculinity can have its faults (see: toxic masculinity), there are also aspects of masculinity that aren’t as hurtful as many critics like to say.
When someone told me to “man up” or “grow a pair,” it was because I needed to! I needed to take charge of my life, make decisions that were going to help me grow, stop wallowing in self-pity, and build up my confidence.
Man up (or grow a pair) simply means don’t quit!
So many times, in the past I would search for the exit door because things in my life hadn’t gone as planned. Whenever I noticed any sign of trouble, I put my hands up and quit. Part of what motivated me to get out of those low periods was having men in my life who didn’t allow me to do so. They told me to fight the tough battle and face adversity. Those men in your life who say things like “grow a pair,” say those things because they want the best for you!
Fight the Battle
Fighting the tough battle means getting to the bottom of whatever issue you’re dealing with. Instead of looking to blame someone or something, blame yourself for the circumstance you’re facing. Take personal responsibility for your life, decide how you’re going to make things better, swallow your pride and get over yourself. Learn to look at the good and bad in life. You are responsible for your outlook. If you only focus on the negative, that’s all you’re going to get.
In small doses, stress can be good. If you know how to channel it, stress can be used to finish a task or serve as motivation for achieving goals. The key is to determine what causes stress in your life, neutralize the effects, and use the positive aspects of stress to become a better man.
No matter the cause, if you learn to control stress, it can go from being something destructive to something productive.
Once you learn how to control your reaction to stress, the significance of it will weaken. Moreover, you’ll stop the cycle of self-pity, understand that there are certain things in life that you can’t change, and instead focus on adapting to such circumstances.
When you stop worrying you’ll feel like a new, and better man.
Don’t Quit, Man Up!
I’m not sure what Man Up means to those who are offended by the phrase. This article isn’t meant to serve as a diss to those who are offended but to serve as a means for voicing another opinion on the matter. If you don’t agree, please feel free to leave a comment so we can create a dialogue that can be used as a foundation for growth and a better understanding of alternative points of view.
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