Be a REAL man!

What does it mean to be a man today? How can men consciously express their masculinity without becoming cold or closed-hearted on the one hand… or wimpy and emasculated on the other? What’s the most loving way for a conscious man to express himself?

Per my readings, travels and conversations with other men, here are the top things *I* think being a real man is…

1. Make real decisions.
A man understands and respects the power of choice. He lives a life of his own creation. He knows that life stagnates when he fails to decide and flourishes when he chooses a clear path.

When a man makes a decision, he opens the door he wants and closes the doors he doesn’t want. He locks onto his target like a guided missile. There’s no guarantee he’ll reach his target, and he knows this, but he doesn’t need such guarantees. He simply enjoys the sense of inevitability that comes from pushing the launch button.

A man doesn’t require the approval of others. He’s willing to follow his heart wherever it leads him. When a man is following his heart-centered path, it’s of little consequence if the entire world is against him.

2. Put your relationships second.
A man who claims his #1 commitment in life is his relationship partner (or his family) is either too dishonest or too weak to be trusted. His loyalties are misplaced. A man who values individuals above his own integrity is a wretch, not a free thinker.

A man knows he must commit to something greater than satisfying the needs of a few people. He’s not willing to be domesticated, but he is willing to accept the responsibility that comes with greater challenges. He knows that when he shirks that duty, he becomes something less than a man. When others observe that the man is unyieldingly committed to his values and ideals, he gains their trust and respect, even when he cannot gain their direct support. The surest way for a man to lose the respect of others (as well as his self-respect) is to violate his own values.

Life will test the man to see if he’s willing to put loyalty to others ahead of loyalty to his principles. The man will be offered many temptations to expose his true loyalties. A man’s greatest reward is to live with integrity, and his greatest punishment is what he inflicts upon himself for placing anything above his integrity. Whenever the man sacrifices his integrity, he loses his freedom… and himself as well. He becomes an object of pity.

3. Be willing to fail.
A man is willing to make mistakes. He’s willing to be wrong. He’d rather try and fail than do nothing.

A man’s self-trust is one of his greatest assets. When he second-guesses himself by worrying about failure, he diminishes himself. An intelligent man considers the prospect of failure, but he doesn’t preoccupy himself with pointless worry. He accepts that if a failure outcome occurs, he can deal with it.

A man grows more from failure than he does from success. Success cannot test his resolve in the way that failure can. Success has its challenges, but a man learns more about himself when he takes on challenges that involve risk. When a man plays it safe, his vitality is lost, and he loses his edge.

4. Be confident.
A man speaks and acts with confidence. He owns his attitude.

A man doesn’t adopt a confident posture because he knows he’ll succeed. He often knows that failure is a likely outcome. But when the odds of success are clearly against him, he still exudes confidence. It isn’t because he’s ignorant or suffering from denial. It’s because he’s proving to himself that he has the strength to transcend his self-doubt. This builds his courage and persistence, two of his most valuable allies.

A man is willing to be defeated by the world. He’s willing to be taken down by circumstances beyond his control. But he refuses to be overwhelmed by his own self-doubt. He knows that when he stops trusting himself, he is surely lost. He’ll surrender to fate when necessary, but he won’t surrender to fear.

5. Express love actively.
A man is an active giver of love, not a passive receiver. A man is the first to initiate a conversation, the first to ask for what’s needed, and the first to say “I love you.” Waiting for someone else to make the first move is unbecoming of him. The universe does not respond positively to his hesitation. Only when he’s in motion do the floodgates of abundance open.

Man is the out-breath of source energy. It is his job — his duty — to share his love with the world. He must wean himself from suckling the energy of others and become a vibrant transmitter of energy himself. He must allow that energy to flow from source, through him, and into the world. When he assumes this role, he has no doubt he is living as his true self.

6. Re-channel sex energy.
A man doesn’t hide his sexuality. If others shrink from him because he’s too masculine, he allows them to have their reaction. There’s no need for him to lower his energy just to avoid frightening the timid. A man accepts the consequences of being male; he makes no apologies for his nature.

A man is careful not to allow his energy to get stuck at the level of lust. He re-channels much of his sexual energy into his heart and head, where it can serve his higher values instead of just his animal instincts. (You can do this by visualizing the energy rising, expanding, and eventually flowing throughout your entire body and beyond.)

A man channels his sexual energy into his heart-centered pursuits. He feels such energy pulsing within him, driving him to action. He feels uncomfortable standing still. He allows his sexual energy to explode through his heart, not just his genitals.

7. Face your fears.
For a man, being afraid of something is reason enough to do it. A man’s fear is a call to be tested. When a man hides from his fears, he knows he’s fallen out of alignment with his true self. He feels weak, depressed, and helpless. No matter how hard he tries to comfort himself and achieve a state of peace, he cannot overcome his inner feeling of dread. Only when facing his fears does a man experience peace.

A man makes a friend of risk. He doesn’t run and hide from the tests of fear. He turns toward them and engages them boldly.

A man succeeds or fails. A coward never makes the attempt. Specific outcomes are of less concern to a man than his direction.

A man feels like a man whenever he faces the right way, staring straight into his fears. He feels even more like a man when he advances in the direction of his fears, as if sailing on the winds of an inner scream.

8. Honor the masculinity of other men.
When a man sees a male friend undertaking a new venture that will clearly lead to failure, what does the man do? Does he warn his friend off such a path? No, the man encourages his friend to continue. The man knows it’s better for his friend to strike out confidently and learn from the failure experience. The man honors his friend’s decision to reach out and make the attempt. The man won’t deny his friend the benefits of a failure experience. The man may offer his friend guidance, but he knows his friend must fail repeatedly in order to develop self-trust and courage.

When you see a man at the gym struggling to lift a heavy weight, do you jump in and say, “Here… let me help you with that. Maybe the two of us can lift it together”? No, that would rob him of the growth experience — and probably make a quick enemy of him as well.

The male path is filled with obstacles. It typically includes more failures than successes. These obstacles help a man discover what’s truly important to him. Through repeated failures a man learns to persist in the pursuit of worthy goals and to abandon goals that are unworthy of him.

A man can handle being knocked down many times. For every physical setback he experiences, he enjoys a spiritual advancement, and that is enough for him.

9. Accept responsibility for your relationships.
A man chooses his friends, lovers, and associates consciously. He actively seeks out the company of people who inspire and challenge him, and he willingly sheds those who hold him back.

A man doesn’t blame others for his relationship problems. When a relationship is no longer compatible with his heart-centered path, he initiates the break-up and departs without blame or guilt.

A man holds himself accountable for the relationships he allows into his life. He holds others accountable for their behavior, but he holds himself accountable for his decision to tolerate such behavior.

A man teaches others how to treat him by the relationships he’s willing to allow into his life. A man refuses to fill his life with negative or destructive relationships; he knows that’s a form of self-abuse.

10. Die well.
A man’s great challenge is to develop the inner strength to express his true self. He must learn to share his love with the world without holding back. When a man is satisfied that he’s done that, he can make peace with death. But if he fails to do so, death becomes his enemy and haunts him all the days of his life.

A man cannot die well unless he lives well. A man lives well when he accepts his mortality and draws strength from knowing that his physical existence is temporary. When a man faces and accepts the inevitability of death… when he learns to see death as his ally instead of his enemy… he’s finally able to express his true self. So a man isn’t ready to live until he accepts that he’s already dead.


6 thoughts on “Be a REAL man!

  1. Dimitri, most of what you say here aligns with how to live a life of integrity, with a balance of grace and humility, regardless of gender. I think there are a couple places that pull and are contradictory in word. I’ve read this piece several times and have begun reflection. Will share soon.

  2. Eh, of course I agree with you up until your point of mentioning “gender”. Some things are specific to gender as the items noted above. Otherwise if said items where not specific to gender, women would never say, “He ain’t no real man!”

    If you really look at the aforementrioned items, you will note some of the items mentioned are inherent to a womans nature and needn’t be listed as a guide. Again – these are specific to men.

    In addition, I can only speak from the perspective of the gender I dwell in.

    Loko foward to your comments…

  3. “…most of what you say here aligns with how to live a life of integrity, with a balance of grace and humility, regardless of gender.”

    I must agree with Victoria on this one.

    Accept responsibility for relationships? Women should do this as well.

    Face your fears? I do it everyday as a woman.

    Make real decisions? Shouldn’t we all?

    Be willing to fail? Both sexes should realize that failing is part of the process at times. We can’t always be right, we can’t always win, and there must be a learning process somewhere in one’s life.

    I do understand that you were taking it from a man’s POV, though.

  4. Let me share my thoughts in alignment with each of your points. My thoughts articulate relevancy to individuals and are not gender based. There are a couple key points to gender specificity that are made for clarity.

    1. Make real decisions – Each of us was created with free will – the intent of our choices is guided by the whole of who we are. Our character, personality and integrity define who we are and play out in the choices we make. This is not gender driven, and is not male vs. female. The outcome of our choices is, in part, determined by what we invest, the path we take to get there, not the perception of others. With that said, who we are determines the thought we give to impact to others – particularly those relationships we value. In other words, we must be able to live with the outcome of every decision we make.

    2. Put your relationships second – I think there is a time and place for relationship priority. While I understand the point you make and know your focus was on integrity and, primarily, relationship with your partner(s), I think success of choice and intent is, somewhat, driven by where / how we value / place relationships. For example, in pursuit of a business deal / partnership, the value placed on building / developing a relationship is critical to success. Within the process, there will be a need for the relationship to take priority – sometimes above family / partner. From my perspective, relationship jockeying is critical throughout our lifetime, and understanding when / how to prioritize is key. What must happen, and what aligns with my earlier comment of integrity, grace and humility, is driving all relationships without compromising those that are at the core of your ‘world’ – your line in the sand. No choice / decision should jeopardize or cross the line of respect / appreciation / value for your relationships. My point, understand when / on what relationship to focus, and allow your integrity to drive each / all.

    3. Be willing to fail – we cannot grow without experiencing failure, and cannot fully know and appreciate success without. It is ok to make mistakes, it helps us to learn, understand and navigate the path forward. Failure is a result of taking risks (sign of a leader in willingness to step outside our box to experience and test the unknown or even the known but for a new path). What is telling is when we ‘choose’ to repeat the same mistakes over and over. They are no longer mistakes, rather choices made, and begin to define who we are.

    4. Be confident – This is an indicator of self-trust, and develops as we step outside our comfort zone to experience, test, fail, and grow. You cannot live your life in fear of the unknown, rather in anticipation of the potential and the possibilities that will arise. Confidence drives our interaction with each.

    5. Express love actively – This does not have to be seen as gender specific. I think, rather, it goes back to choice and confidence. Each of has the ability / potential to love and share who we are. It is intent and must not be driven by fear / anticipation with the reaction / perception of others. We have to be willing to give and receptive to receive. There must not be expectations tied to pure love / giving.

    6. Re-channel sex energy – Not sure I fully understand the point you are attempting to make. None of us should allow our sexual energy to get in the way of what we set out to accomplish; and not sure I understand the point of being ‘too masculine’ or ‘too feminine’ for that matter. We must be true to ourselves, and allow our integrity to play out. It will always be ‘easier’ to act upon whims/ lust/ wants, but a person of integrity will ensure no compromise of path. This is where heart / head lead.

    7. Face your fears – I would offer that what you describe aligns with the qualities of a leader. Taking risks, facing fears is, both a sign of leadership and strength. It takes confidence, self-trust, in moving through.

    8. Honor others – Ok, so I changed this one, but did so to make a point. Your point took one succinct aspect of interaction with people. The argument is specific to all. There are, indeed, those times / situations in which you allow a friend (whether male or female) to step out and experience a situation even though you sense the outcome. It provides opportunity for growth. If we shield others, we stymie understanding, experience, and limit growth.

    9. Accept responsibility for your relationships – everything you list here is pertinent and applicable to all. How we interact, choose, walk away from those in our lives must be guided by who we are. We select those people in our lives – business associate, friend, lover and contacts – for what they offer and how they will interface with who we are, what we need/want, how we will grow / develop because of their role. Some will be specific to given circumstance and periods of our lives and may be at the forefront for only a short period relative to circumstance. Each will be given access to different levels / tiers of who we are based on their individual or collective role(s). We are accountable for our interaction with / treatment of each / parting of ways with each – all guided by our integrity.

    10. Die well – live life to the fullest. Take risk, be receptive to failure and change, choose well, love and laugh often, allow the impossible to test who we are, accept responsibility for all that we choose / do, be confident and don’t hold back. If all of this remains our focus throughout our time on earth, then we can accept the concept and reality of dying.

    Your post is powerful, Dimitri, but does not have to be gender specific. I will concur the perspective you offered was written from the male role, but each concept is relevant and applicable to all.

  5. Thanx for this post, well written and lots of time. I value your responses to each point but again still some of those points ARE gender specific. For example:

    #5 Instinctively speaking women already have an inherent nature revolving around expressing love actively. So to say this to a woman is like telling a bird to fly.

    #6 Again, generally speaking men are ruled sexually by their penis. So to re channel sex energy elsewhere is key for a man to think clearly

    #8 Sigh, this is specific to MEN because often times men won’t listen to other men just because they are men. In a mans mind the act of listening is sometimes felt as being submissive

    So while I do appreciate your concepts and perceptions, some things sill remain and ARE specific to men – period. At the end of the day we can make anything fit any situation, gender, sex etc…

    In a society where man comes first and is the “lead”, it just makes sense for HIM to follow these rules first and lead by example. Traditionally, and in this society, men do not follow women. So it all has to start with a man.

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous :)

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