It’s 2016 and the world has turned the tables on us men. Yes. The tables have turned. For the first time in history our very gender – and I type “our” because I’m obviously one – is facing its biggest difficulty yet. What we thought as efficient, clear, and accepted as a social understanding and norm about us is now being completely challenged and changed. The rough, not-so-talkative, emotionless man is probably an extinct version of the gender today. The “macho” man that was highly regarded back in the day is now seen as a reject in societies today. But beyond the stereotypes, there is a much bigger challenge that every single member of this gender is quietly facing.
In my journey from boy to man I began to explore the simplest of ideologies such as success, failure, goals, tools of unlocking potential, dating, mating, marriage, making money, and going to the gym. Long gone were the day when I at the time looked at myself in the mirror and saw a person who could not be acknowledged in today’s communities globally as a man. It was a painful image I had to live with every single day knowing that whatever progress I have made in those life areas was not enough.
There were moments on that journey when I had clarity on why I needed to go the gym. After all, I was losing weight to look better around my family, friends, colleagues, and even for the girl next door that I had longed to take her on a romantic dinner for just one night. But I knew that no matter what I had accomplished in my life I was not “there” yet. It was because of that mindset that I couldn’t stand the sight of my own reflection in the mirror every morning upon waking up. I saw an incomplete project, a social reject, and an unworthy person who was at the peak of his hormonal excitement.
On days when I had looked failure or fear in the eye I picked up the phone and complained to a friend or a colleague. Sometimes I even cried or tried punching the steering wheel in my car hoping that I could “get rid” of my distress. The pain grew day by day and I wasn’t sure what to do about it.
“WHO WOULD EVER ACCEPT A MAN LIKE ME?” I ASKED MYSELF INTERNALLY.
I kept repeating that question over and over in my head until it hit me that I had no clue what the heck being a man meant!
It didn’t matter at that point whether I had goals or not because whatever I was taught at home and in school about what the definition of a man was turned out to be completely bogus! I was told that a real man treats women like princesses, goes to college, gets a job as a doctor/engineer/lawyer, was always in control in a relationship with his wife, and kept his emotions to himself.
I began looking around me and recognized that the definition I was socially fed had not registered properly with my core. In other words, I didn’t know who I was as a member of my gender! I exclaim in my writing because that is exactly what I felt at the time. Nothing from what I was told made sense. Why on Earth would a man keep his emotions to himself when I was taught in school that the very men who started wars had rage and anger in them? Aren’t those emotions? What about the whole notion of being always in control in a relationship? Women today have rights, jobs, and probably even higher education than I did at the time of that realization, and much more today!
Because of such a discovery I returned to the experts, books, coaches, and people of knowledge who had covered this very issue. I munched left and right on every ounce of knowledge, training, and experience from both males and females in this field knowing that I would soon arrive to a transformation that would benefit my growth and maturity. After all, the person panicking at that time was the boy in me. For the most part, however, I noted that I wasn’t alone in that kind of confusion and pain.
Several months later and tears of hurt wept away I learned that the number ONE issue men are facing in our every so evolving world right now is this:
“Being a man” wasn’t something that was enabled in us on an authentic level. It was something that told to us as a socially accepted notion.”
One of the biggest pieces of transformation for any man today is to discover that his dreams are not his dreams. His goals are not his goals. His thoughts are not his thoughts. His emotions are not his emotions. But most importantly, his identity is not his identity. And to any man who values his vulnerability will understand that such a realization can be incredibly daunting and scary. It is exactly why I’ve noted from my work with many men and women over the past 7+ years how much they remained boys for a very long time.
If a man in our world today cannot, does not, and will not take ownership of his identity, then he will first crumble in his mind, then close off his heart, and finally retract his soul from his gifts that God bestowed upon him, and hence, become a robotic, pale, and undefined entity on his path in this life. When I look around and scan various societies today I can easily tell that the majority of boys today haven’t grown up yet and probably never will. It is too difficult for them to face that image of themselves in the mirror every single day while telling themselves they are not enough.
Don’t you see them as well in the streets, offices, homes, with their families/friends, and even in the mirror?
A real man today will take the necessary – courageous – steps to acknowledging such a defect or void in their character in order to start making amends and reclaiming what was once taken away from them by society thanks to the low quality programming from it.
- Have a misunderstood sense of self with themselves
- Think that what they know now about themselves and their direction is all they need to know
- Will acknowledge they are fine and do not face their issues.
- Solve their problems with boy toys and other boy activities (excessively drinking, partying, driving recklessly… etc.)
- Treat serious and deep issues with laughter that shoves them down or parks them aside
- Are not authentic and still let the world rule them
- Put women on the pedestal
- Step ONE will always be: Acknowledge the defect/void
- Step TWO must look like this: Seek help (books, coaching, training… etc.)
- Step THREE: Start making the changes that matter to you, not society.
- Step FOUR: Evaluate yourself.
- Step FIVE: Get yourself a tribe that empowers you.
I’ll end this post with a quote a wise mentor of mine once told me at the beginning of his speech and a podcast episode dedicated to this topic:
“The boy must die.” ~ Eben Pagan (aka David DeAngelo)