It’s tough to be a guy today. Are you acting too weak or being too aggressive? When do you earn the distinction of being called a “man”? Is there a rite of passage into manhood? Who are the role models that exemplify what being a man is?
Are you a man by today’s standards?
The world seems to say you’re a man if you make a lot of money, sleep with a lot of women, drink the right drinks, hang with the right people, know how to fight, and buy the right things.
In Joe Ehrmann’s Be A Man talk, he discusses 3 Myths of Masculinity:
- Ball Field: athletic ability, size, strength, skill
- Bedroom: sexual conquest
- Billfold: economic success
According to Joe, boys are taught to live by these myths at an early age. When a boy is hurt or cries, he is told to “be a man.” The message is that it’s not ok for boys to experience emotion or be sensitive. This causes men to suffer from “alexithymia,” which is an inability to put expressions or feelings into words. In other words, these myths cause brokenness, and there is a disconnect most women can identify when they start dating the alexithymic man. Some argue these myths create much larger issues like suicide, violence, rape, bullying, etc.
Is there more to being a man than the man myths which only touch on the surface? Few venture to find the depth within a man’s soul. It’s awkward for guys to sit down with a group of other guys to share their weaknesses and talk about their needs. Guy aren’t supposed to have needs, right?
You don’t need to be a man by today’s standards
When a guy releases the pent-up hurts that have haunted him for years with a group of guys, he discovers a depth within he never knew about. I’ve seen it happen in my college fraternity, a campus ministry, Young Life, my men’s group in Los Angeles, CA, and in our GoodGuySwag online group. What he discovers is there is strength in numbers, and he doesn’t have to be the lone wolf anymore.
A war cannot be won alone, even if it’s your own personal war. A man has to recognize his need for help in a battle to be victorious.
The message we should be communicating instead of “be a man” is “be transparent.” Gordon Dalbey, one of the founders of the men’s movement, said, “A real man is a man who is real.” I believe the hurt caused by the phrase “be a man” can begin repairing when guys understand it’s ok to have hurt, experience empathy, have emotion, care for others, and have compassion for those in need.
Compared to women, men aren’t known for deep friendships. However when guys let their guards down, the strongest of friendships develop, and men truly become “blood brothers.” When this happens, the most powerful force transpires, and as Nathan Scoggins points out, men literally change the world.
I’ve done a lot of personal work, and I’ve been part of some of the most stellar men’s groups, but I still have a long journey ahead. Ultimately I realize there is a journey going back more than going forward. I still have to make sure no stone is unturned in my life. I need to reconnect further with my own father.
Some of you may be further along on your journey than me, and still have yet to find healing. I believe true healing happens when we reconneect with the primal masculine energy of the Universe through the Ultimate Father. It’s where it all began.