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I’ve heard too many discussions on what it means to be a “Real Man”. I’ve heard it discussed from those seeking to embody it, from those seeking to prescribe it, from those who seek to glorify it and from those who seek to demonize or redefine or control it.
No two people can define what a Real Man is. The best attempts conflate natural masculine traits with social rules. None ever match: a Real Man is an action hero–but he has to be sweet and sensitive; men are protectors–but are inherently dangerous; men build the world–but are essentially destroyers; a real man does this, but doesn’t do that.
Pap-minded, fuzzy-headed, beetle-visioned bullshit. All of it. If you were born with a set of XY chromosomes and you’ve lived past pubescence, you are a real man.
The secret of The Real Man has always been right under your nose.
How to be a Real Man:
Simply live your life as a self-responsible adult with moral excellence and firmness of virtue.
The “Real Man” is an artificial standard, an unattainable trap, a fallacy. The term Real Man has no meaning, and thus, it’s ambiguity is little more than a device designed as a false measure to confer or withdraw social status.
Most men, not having worked this out explicitly, intuitively understand that it means one who is respected and admired. This nonsense notion is a tool used to manipulate you into behaving one way or another.
It’s got nothing to do with your traits as a male, or even who you are as a person. Whether another responds with admiration, respect or with any other response, it has nothing to do with you. It’s all on them.
From now on, when you hear the term Real Man, simply replace it with “Someone that I admire and respect.”
Here’s how you free yourself of it. Let their stuff be theirs. It has nothing to do with you. When someone says “A Real Man is…” or “A Real Man isn’t…”, hear “I admire this or that” there is only one proper response: My life is my own.
Here are some of the more common uses.
“A Real Man must be Strong!”
Not really. He needs only as much strength as is necessary for him to create the life he wants. Strength is something that is developed by working though challenges. Not unlike lifting weights, not enough and he will remain at his current level, too much challenge and he will be crushed. Men are just people, not a stoic stone.
“A Real Man provides and protects!”
No. Adults are expected to take care of themselves. Any help from another is a gift, not an obligation. A human being may care about someone and enjoy being helpful to another, but this is not his role, expectations to the contrary are unwarranted.
“A Real Man takes Responsibility!”
No. An adult knows the difference between being responsible to themselves and to others and taking responsibility for another.
“A Real Man takes Charge!”
An adult takes charge of their own life. Anything else should be cooperation between adults that are willing, ready and able.
“A Real Man is courageous!”
No. Some people have been taught how to handle their fear, others not. Courage is an emotional skill, not a character trait.
Brothers, it is time to abandon the notion of being a “Real Man”. Work instead at the simplicity of building the life that meets your needs and desires, of being a self-responsible, self-respecting adult of good character and to enjoy your life.
Your life is yours to be lived by you, according to your own standards.