Updated: May 4, 2019
The new Gillette commercial sparked some fires from all camps! Seems the commercial depicted several unhealthy behavior and belief models that some #men still hold true. These frowned upon behaviors and beliefs of a bygone era have been labeled as "toxic" or "traditional" #masculinity. Okay, so that prompted me to look up "healthy masculinity" and I didn't come up with a lot.
There is tons of talk about how masculinity needs to change but no real talk about how to change it, where to start, or what men can do. Well that's frustrating. Nothing worse than being told that what you are doing is wrong but not how you can fix it. I suppose as men we are just going to have to 'figure it out'. Is that too masculine?
3 years ago I started to see the conflicts and confusion that was beginning and had the idea to come up with a program called "The Masculine Male". I'm happy that I spent the time then so I could give the "masculinity movement" (seriously who comes up with these labels?) a head start now. Here are my 5 cores of masculinity as laid out in the program.
1. Be Strong!
No I don't mean physically (although hitting the gym a few times a week won't kill you), I mean overall. I say the new definition of strength is awareness. Being solid in who you are and what you stand for. Strong of character, strong of mind, strong in your beliefs, strong in your morals, strong in your commitments, strong in your heart, strong in your feelings. Strength is knowing your limits and when to ask for help. It's knowing when you are right and when to admit that you are wrong. It is not being stubborn and open to a difference of opinion. It is non-judgmental. Do you have to be strong all the time? No of course not, that's completely unrealistic. No one can be a certain way all the time, and being masculine means being okay with that.
2. Be a Builder!
Not literally, figuratively. Masculinity is your castle! Or mansion, or ranch, temple...whatever, the point is, build yourself up! We are our humble abode and we do regular maintenance and renovations on ourselves. We keep our home clean, we bring in things that make us feel good, and improve upon what came before. We also build up those we come in contact with. Leave people better than you find them or they find you. Encourage those around you to go above and beyond.
2. Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say
Masculinity means no mind games, and no time for them either. Masculinity is well read and spoken, because words have power. To be masculine is to be comfortable with power and to use that power to build people up, never to tear them down. We choose our words carefully and speak them with understanding and compassion.
3. Your Word is Your Bond
Here is a bit of "traditional" masculinity for you (it's not all bad ya know). Masculinity means doing what you say you will do. Following through if you will. Sure life happens, yet you still follow through in the end. You are only as good as your word and masculinity means keeping to your word.
5. I Gotta Feeling
The suppression of feelings in men along with acceptable aggressive practices to 'let off steam' is often the catalyst for the explosions and violent tendencies exhibited in some men. On the one hand you have someone who is processing emotions on a level they are not only unfamiliar with, they have no previous instruction or experience in what they are feeling or how to deal with them. On the other hand you have someone with emotions who adopted a learned behavior to engage in aggressive activities as a release to these emotions. Often times both hands are attached to the same person.
Taking the other route, suppression of emotions can stunt the emotional growth in men resulting in the incapacity of deep emotional bonds spanning all forms of relationships. Issues with commitment as well as promiscuity, objectifying, even narcissism can all stem from the discouragement of feeling or feeling deeply.
Men are human, and thus have feelings. So feel! Feel deeply. Feel strongly. Learn to understand your emotions and what they mean to you. In doing so, you not only learn to relate to yourself better, you learn to better relate to others as well. Embrace and acknowledge your feelings and emotions.
4. Keep Calm and Masculine On
Masculine means being proactive in your life, not reactive. By acknowledging and embracing your emotions you are not only capable of determining how and why you feel the way you do, you can now determine what you are going to do about it too. In this way masculinity means being a master of your past, present, and future.
5. Take Control
I smiled when I wrote that just now. See, I understand what I mean when I say that, however I know there are many who don't and will instantly get triggered. Please allow me to explain (mansplain, OMG I get it now! I always thought that was slang for a man doing the splits, guess that would be a mansprain though, hmm <OFFTOPIC>) Let me be very clear that taking control does NOT mean controlling others, in fact it is the exact opposite.
Taking control means that you are a master of self and the space around you. This means that not only are you in control of your state, you are able to change your state as well. Being in control takes courage, faith, and trust in not only yourself but those around you. Taking control means being present in the moment, being attentive, and focused. Would it surprise you to know that the ultimate form of control, is letting go of that control? After all, how can you say you are in control if you can't even let go of it?
If you still don't understand what I am saying or disagree, then ask yourself this, "If you are not in control, then who is?"
Well there you have it, my 5 core points to the "Masculine Male" program I devised years ago when I saw the confusion men were running into about where and how to be in this new age of being. Hope you enjoyed the read. The program is old and yet still youn