The other day I was at the gym and there was a fella bulling up as if he’d stuffed two bread loaves under his arm pits. The term to diagnose this kind of behavior is “imaginary lat syndrome”, or ILS. It’s bad enough on its own to walk around as if your lats prevent you from allowing your arms to hang in a natural manner. It’s delusional and funny to watch. Couple this with his refusal to move or alter his path no matter who walked by him, and you have a full-blown idiot on your hands. It didn’t matter if it was a lady, an older fella, and definitely not someone of his own age group. (Read This: No B.S. Guide to Developing Real Confidence)
Masculinity isn’t loud, nor is pride or strength or honor. It’s quiet. It doesn’t crave recognition or submission. It’s a quiet confidence, not a screamingly loud arrogance or false bravado.
Masculinity has been bastardized over the years, and we’ve been the ones to do it.
We create magazines that deem style and vanity as important focuses for men. We’ve created an industry that makes men impotent and degrades women – the porn industry – and we’re supposed to be the defenders and protectors, not the abusers. We’ve pushed what being a man is to something that’s comical. We look at our forefathers not as strong men with strong values but archaic men with an outdated way of thinking.
We have weakened what it means to be a man, and we’re living this emasculation or pussification or whatever you want to call it on a daily basis.
I’ve been there and am likely still there in many ways. My generation is the entitlement generation. Almost every conversation I have with someone of my age – other than my friends – begins with a complaint. We want without having to work for what we want. We see the world as if it owes us something.
I say we, not because we’re all like this, but it’s a trend that’s headed in the wrong direction.
Sure, things were far from perfect in the past, but men knew how to be men, they didn’t complain, they did what they had to do, and statistically they stuck by their families in far greater numbers than “men” of today do. Rather than a rant, which I can see this is starting to become, I’d like to focus on the individual.
How can you and I stop this emasculation in our own lives? And why would we want to?
For one, a man who accepts control of his life gains power over the actions and choices he makes. This may mean a harder life, but it will mean a life of value and purpose. He will be a leader, a warrior, while those he leaves behind will continue to be victims. Every man should live from a position of power, from a position where he’s at the helm of his own ship, guiding it through the murky waters that life leads us through, navigating it to a place of self-improvement where one day he may reach his potential.
Yet, even in our day-to-day there are little things that pull us from this path of self-improvement and into a life dependent on others for affirmation, approval, and reward. Let’s change this trend, starting not with the masses, but simply with the man in the mirror.
You Say “I’m Offended” or “That’s Offensive”
Have you ever heard a man you respect say the words, that’s offensive, or, I’m offended?
Of course not. Men do not get offended, yet those very terms are being said far more frequently now than they’ve ever been spoken before. The words, you’re racist, are thrown around like hello’s, along with you’re sexist or a misogynist, and for no good reason, and definitely with no real understanding about what either of those terms mean.
You have to be able to see the point of view of someone else without shutting dialogue down by blurting out one of those idiotic statements.
With the rise of political correctness has come the demise of comedy and free speech. There’s a group that would like to dictate what can be deemed as free speech, and box every other kind of speech into hate speech, even if the other speech breaks down barriers, brings people together, and finds solutions.
By saying I’m offended you are becoming less of a man, less of a protector and defender, and by God far less of a warrior. The only logical response to a fella who says I’m offended is to say, grow a pair.
You Look in the Mirror Far Too Bloody Often
The problem with vanity isn’t the attire nor the end result that you see in the mirror. The problem with vanity is that it’s a mental illness that’s fed by the approval of others. Pride in how you dress is personal, it requires no affirmation. Vanity is done for other people, giving them power over your life and whether or not you feel good about yourself. (Read This: 12 Ways to Be More Confident)
It also leads to debt and money spent on things rather than moments, events, or adventures.
There are entire companies and web sites and magazines dedicated to showing men how to dress and groom. Men – and I use that term loosely – are seeing their value in threads. Just like the insecure fella who obsesses over his biceps size, guys are using clothes to cover up weakness and they’re being told that if they dress this way or that way they’re going to get the lady or ladies they want.
Your life isn’t about a purpose or improvement, but show and tell, and the only way you receive value is if others approve, taking control of your life out of your hands and giving it to judges who know nothing about you and base their perception on the rags you dawn yourself in.
Vanity is weakness. It’s worrying about what you look like rather than focusing on who you are.
Our society is far more vain than it’s even been and a fella who’s vain lacks the capacity to reach his potential or be the strong, masculine man that he could have otherwise been. And it’s the rest of us that suffer. Some kid won’t have a good father. Some lady won’t meet a strong, secure man. Our society won’t have a hard worker, unafraid to get in there and get dirty. What we’re left with is a pussy.
Alright, now I’m attacking a bit, but only because I’ve been there. I thought value was found in what people thought of me, and that presented itself in what I wore. I subscribed to Esquire and GQ and it was all (is all) useless.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t dress well, because the other side of the coin is taking pride in how you are, how you carry yourself, and how you present yourself. But pride and vanity, though they can cross paths, should not be the same thing. We can’t buck society completely, we’re not Seneca or Epictetus, but dressing simply and without concern about the opinions of others is important.
You’re a Lapdog
Men have, since time immemorial, fallen under the spell of a lady and will do whatever she wants them to do, no matter how detrimental these things may be to him. That’s not the point, there are and always will be suckers. More men, however, are followers, especially with the opposite sex, and not leaders.
The lap dog syndrome stems from insecurity, and a lack of understanding of one’s true value.
Deep down you are a badass, I’m sure of it. Somewhere in your psyche exists an Indiana Jones or a Theodore Roosevelt. You have the capacity to be who you dream you are at night. You just haven’t been presented with the evidence in the real world that would lend some truth to this narrative, and so you’re shocked that you have a lady, and one that looks that good. So, in an effort to never lose her you follow her around. You dress like she wants you to dress and you become friends with her friends leaving your true friends behind.
When they tell you that you’re being a bitch you ignore it or even get angry, explaining and defending the relationship you’re in.
I’ve been there. Not this bad, but I’ve altered how I dressed and tried to fit a mold that just wasn’t me. It’s puppy love that makes you do stupid things, but if you’re still doing them a few months in, it’s time to wake up and walk away.
Not to call anyone out at all, but this topic is one of the most frequent that enters my inbox. Guys “stuck” in relationships where they aren’t leading, nor are they improving or becoming the men they want to become. They’re too scared to lose what they have so they fall into the aforementioned traps.
If you’re reading this and you realize that this is me. Know the first lesson of business and relationships (dating, not marriage):
Always be willing to walk away.
Never be held at ransom, even if what you could gain is great, by someone who undervalues you, and who you truly are. If you’re being a lap dog, man up and take charge or just get out. It’s tough to break habits that have already been formed from both ends of the spectrum.
Our society today is built to allow gossip to flourish. Walk into any supermarket and upon checkout you’re bombarded by magazines that follow the lives of other humans. Our news focuses around celebrity and gossip, and it’s even crept into the conversations of men.
Men of my old man’s generation talk about ideas, things, religion, hobbies, and family. I’ve never once heard my old man, nor my grandfather begin a conversation with…
So did you hear about Billy?
Yet that’s how many of our conversations begin today. Their content isn’t ideas or goals or life’s greater questions, it’s often something that happened to someone else that gets the ball rolling, and it shouldn’t. (Check This Out: Are You The Strong Man or The Critic?)
Gossip breeds envy. It puts the focus of your life and your time and brings all of your energy into the life that someone else is leading. It’s a dangerous road to walk down yet many of us talk about others instead of talking about things that are far more interesting and beneficial.
You’re Blaming Others for Your Lack of Success
Now, this may not be emasculating, but it is pussified. Any fella who blames someone else, be it a human or an entity, for his lack of anything in life can’t honestly look in the mirror with pride and call himself a man. There is good in this fact, though, and that good have everything to do with power.
The man who accepts responsibility for his happiness and success also accepts power over his life. This cannot be taken away from him. He is in control and the only one that can relinquish it from him is him. That’s true power, but it isn’t easy. It’s far easier to blame others for what’s going on in our lives. The problem with blaming others is that it’s never true, and by blaming someone else you’re removing any possibility of improvement because it’s only you, the individual, that can create improvement in your own life.
This trend to look at those with power and wealth as innately evil feeds this narrative. When there are “big bad people” and “big bad corporations” keeping me down, I can be lazy, I can avoid doing the things I must do to improve, because the exercise of self-improvement is a useless one so long as someone else is pulling the strings.
The problem with this line of thinking is evidence. There’s far too much evidence of men who’ve risen from poverty or from a place where many more remain victims to turn our backs on the fact that where there is a will, there is, indeed, a way.
When you accept responsibility, something that men have been great at since Moses wore short pants, you at least allow yourself the capacity to get to where you want to be by becoming the man you can become.
Stop being a wuss and blaming others for where you are, it’s the best way to stay there. Start accepting responsibility and gain the power that comes with it.