What is my definition of masculinity and being a man?
Being a man goes beyond hunting, defending, strength, fighting, and sexual dominance. That may not be true for the animal kingdom, but are we merely animals? There is no denying that we are animals with animal tendencies, but are we satisfied in comparing ourselves to apes and saying “well, that’s just our nature”? While, as men, we may be biologically built a certain way and have certain traits, hormones, genetics and physical attributes that better suit us for certain things and cause us to behave a certain way, who decided that we have to be relegated to just those certain things and ways of thinking, speaking and acting?
Being a man and having masculinity to me means having courage, but not just any courage.
Not just the courage where you make irrational, aggressive, brave, “manly” decisions without any thought of the ramifications and just say “f*ck it, I’ll deal with the consequences later.”
Yes, there are times when we need to jump into action without much time to prepare or think—like when someone else’s or our own lives are at risk. These situations undoubtedly call on an enormous amount of daring courage that not all men have—but that’s not the courage I’m referring to.
I’m talking about the courage to stand up when others are sitting down, to speak up when others are staying silent, to think outside the man box that we all get put into from an early age.
The courage to think, speak and act in a manner that is TRULY our own with honesty and vulnerability, especially when doing so goes against how a man is “supposed” to be.
That is courage.
When you have to run into a burning building to save someone you love, you just go! There’s not much time to think, seconds are precious.
When you have an opinion or belief, especially one that not the majority of men have, and you have minutes, days, weeks, months, even years to think about the effects of voicing those opinions
“What will they think of me?”
“What will they say?”
“Who will I piss off?”
“Who will lose respect for me?”
“Will they think I’m gay, a pussy, weak, a beta male?”
“What friends will I lose?”
“Will they think I’m stupid?”
“Will they say I’ve changed?” What if I’m wrong?”
“What if I regret this?”
“What if they challenge me?”
Sometimes it can be more terrifying than a thousand burning buildings! These thoughts eat away at our hearts, our souls, our self-confidence, our authenticity, our true higher selves and in turn feed our fearful, armored, protective, reactive egos that just want us to fit in, not stand out.
Left unchecked, this cancerous erosion slowly destroys us until we no longer know who we really are because we’ve become just another part of the ego-driven collective. True courage is facing these limiting thoughts, becoming aware of them without suppressing them, accepting them, admitting that we have them…. and then acting in spite of them.
When we feel that apprehension, that hesitation, that death grip that these thoughts have on our truth, but we think, speak and act right through them instead of going around them or modifying what we have to say to appease others, that takes more courage than anything we will ever be confronted with in our lives.
We may get some things wrong, we may ruffle some feathers, we may change our minds down the road and we may lose some friends—but that’s not what ultimately matters.
What matters is standing firm on our own two feet, naked, exposed and vulnerable, and say to the world “this is who I REALLY am.”
That is what it means to be a man and have masculinity to me.
What does it mean to you?
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