We’re sent from Creation itself, and like all children, we are PURE LOVE PRESENCE in human form.
To BE FULLY OURSELVES.
Then one day while you’re doing life, your dad, a teacher, a bully, a group, a girlfriend, society, or even your own mother says:
“Just Man Up and Get Over It.”
That’s when it starts, the damage that would inevitably ignite the downward spiral that makes so many of us men put on our first mask, cover up, and bury our true individual Soul expression.
We start stuffing our feelings, emotions, and our pain in the spiritual basement of our own Souls, because we learned that it’s not OK to BE OURSELVES, or to show our feelings, emotions, fears, and pain.
As boys, we want to be accepted, to fit in, find our identity, and most importantly to be loved by our fathers, and we’ll do anything to make it happen, even it means losing ourselves, (for a while).
We go searching and looking for models on how to be a “real man.”
It might be our father, a celebrity, business man, athlete, or rock star, whatever we think will make us “good enough.”
We’ve had decades of negative programming embedded in us that has f**ked a lot of us up and smacked our joy, longings, and truth right out the back door, leaving us looking for it along with our lost innocence.
The Old School Way
This is the way I was brought up and so were way too many other men.
I had a father who was a tough navy man who wasn’t really able to express himself or talk deeply about matters of the heart. An only child, he came from a generation of unawakened and ignorant parents, he meant well, and came a long way from his upbringing.
The Expectations Were, (spoken and unspoken):
-Don’t ever cry, it’s a sign of weakness.
-Never let people know you’re afraid.
-Bury your emotions deep down, they’re in your head, just man up!
-Feelings are for girls.
-Don’t be vulnerable or people will think you’re a pussy.
-Don’t let anybody disrespect you or you’ll have to show ‘em what’s up.
-You have to be cool, rich, successful, and macho to be somebody and to have women attracted to you.
-Screw your heart, do whatever it takes to be successful, otherwise you’re a loser in the world’s eyes, and maybe secretly in your family’s eyes.
My father was an amazing man.
He had a big heart, and did anything and everything he knew how to show his love, his way, for our family and me, he just did it from his filter, from his generation, the one without too much talking and definitely no hugging or I love you’s, yet I knew he did.
He was a poster boy for a macho bad ass man who just wanted to support his family and do his best. He really had a sweetness about him underneath his own flaws and fears that not many got to see, until later in life.
I admired him in SO many ways, because he was SO damn strong.
When I watched him and his strong persona fade from kidney disease and Parkinson’s, it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to witness. He stood to his dying day with SO much power, humility, self deprecation, and humor that I will always remember his strength, and all the badassery in how he lived his life.
The New School Way
After 20+ years of deep work on myself, this is my new lens for being a REAL MAN.
The Expectations Are:
-Express your feelings and sensitivity.
-Don’t be afraid to cry.
-Know your vulnerability is strength not weakness.
-Have and share tremendous love, compassion, empathy, and joy.
-Follow your heart.
-Stand strong in the name of love even when you’re afraid, for your woman, your family, and your purpose.
Although the newer evolved version for men (and women) is beautiful and brings me and countless others around the world so MUCH MORE joy, love, happiness, romance, passion, connection, and truth; both models have flaws.
I will take the new model anytime over the old one, which unfortunately still runs rampant in the world.
Both of them have an unspoken pressure and expectation within them that I still feel at times, and a lot of men I consult with express it too, that we have to BE rocking it in the world and be our strong Warrior self in our relationships all the time.
It’s impossible and it can be exhausting, and is a big source of men’s pain.
What I see is that both men AND women are societal targets of the same big fat lie.
We’ve both been programmed since birth to live as we’re expected to BE from the media, movies, fairy tales, celebrities, and consumerism that has knocked us all off of our center in one way or another.
It even caused the boom in the self help industry and the cosmetic surgery industry, among others, so we can “fix” what’s wrong with us and live up to the expectations that society places on us.
It’s a LIE.
You, me, ALL of us are NOT and have NEVER been broken or not good enough.
That is the cancer that has spread to so many beautiful Beings, feminine and masculine alike in the name of consumerism.
I know this to be true…
Men have suffered quietly for generations through the demand of false programming, and women have suffered endlessly for far too long through the intense expectations put upon them, i.e. you have to look young, you have to be gorgeous at all times, you have to have a “to die for” body, perfect teeth, large chest, wear designer clothes, and on and on.
When I see a woman, I see a beautiful, loving, open-hearted being who makes the world a better place just with her core essence.
Most of us have had our masks on for a lifetime while suppressing our true selves and have been hiding at least some part of ourselves, and that in of itself, is absolutely exhausting.
The good news is…
That we’re ALL waking up.
We’re taking our power back.
We’re seeing behind the curtain and exposing the illusion of expectations, perfection, and the programmed way of being for what it is.
We’re REMEMBERING the TRUTH…
That WE are ALL amazing, beautiful, GOOD ENOUGH, and perfect EXACTLY as we are WITHOUT our masks.
We are CREATED from LOVE, here to love, here to share our gifts, to BE OURSELVES, and to SHINE our UNIQUE version of the LIGHT that we come from.
What we REALLY all want is closeness, connection, love, compassion, acceptance, authenticity, to be seen, to be heard, true self expression, to live our own truth, to stand spiritually naked with empathy for all, and to not be afraid to let people see the REAL us.
We want to be free to share our hearts, our souls, our pain, our struggles, and our “stuff” WITHOUT fear of judgment or criticism, and STILL BE OK.
Finally take off the masks that we’ve worn and BE OURSELVES.
One of my favorite singer/songwriters, Alicia Keys, who is absolutely stunning and gorgeous inside and out, recently announced that she was done with makeup and she showed up at the VMA awards ceremony without an ounce of it on to make her bold statement real.
I believe her message below to be true for both men and women…
And it will ultimately set us ALL free.
Her words speak VOLUMES of TRUTH, and align with my own heart and message to the world:
“I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
My personal prayer is that we ALL take a look inside, be willing to let go of all the unwanted noise, to get spiritually naked, to walk in OUR truth, to let go of all the expectations, and to just BE and LOVE OURSELVES exactly as we are.
This is your Soul Calling for you to Stand in YOUR Truth and BE your awesome, imperfect, crazy, beautiful SELF from this day forward.
Photo: Getty Images