Debunking 5 Myths Around Being a Man
Whilst there are many ideas around what it means to be masculine and what it means to be a man in today’s world, many of them are either based on outdated cultural norms or are distorted and unrealistic. Why? Because, we are placing far too much emphasis on what man ‘should’ be in an idealistic sense and not actually placing attention on the gifts of man.
Whilst this article will offer insight in to the myths around what masculinity is or should be, it will also offer alternatives to being healthy men in the world, potentially different to mainstream views, and that are more aligned with the potential and authentic power of man.
MEN ARE NOT MEANT TO CRY
This is more about healthy emotional expression than just being limited to crying. Men do cry and when they don’t if they want to, it’s because they’re more often than not suppressing themselves. Do men need to cry often…? Perhaps, for short periods of time as they psycho-emotionally move through pain and / or trauma. Is it safe and healthy for men to cry continuously or all of the time? No. It is not. Men don’t think about crying or emoting all of the time, nor do they need to.
The issue largely resides in the truth that men are not taught to emote and that emoting in men is not something that is endorsed by mainstream society. Men are inadvertently and directly told or shown that emotions make us weak as men. Whilst there is truth in this, it is not applicable to every situation. For example. A man may be in a precarious situation and find himself feeling vulnerable, scared and sad. Is it in his best interest to step out of being hyper-focused, solution orientated and resilient in order to feed that fear? Not necessarily. In this survival situation, he must refrain (not suppress forever) but just delay his most prominent expression in that moment (hopefully) for later.
As a side note, it’s not about men being a blubbering mess at the site of a puppy, a newborn or an emotional scene in a TV soap opera. It’s about emotional range and being able to access this. So, men do and can cry. We have a limbic system and amygdala that regulates our emotions. When we are able to tap in to our range, we liberate ourselves of archaic limitations that inhibit our potential. Try this… Try emoting new feelings and emotions with people (namely men) that you trust, respect and revere. This will help you build emotional fitness, expression and help you connect and be intimate with those you care about.
MASCULINITY IS TOXIC
If masculinity is toxic then so is femininity by default. The truth is, any expression can be ‘toxic’. Masculinity itself is NOT toxic, nor is femininity. Allow me to define ‘toxicity’ in masculinity. What many think or perceive is masculinity is the intersection of extreme behaviour meeting our shadow self. As a collective we have largely remained in shadow-based behaviour for so long that we think it is and needs to be the norm.
For example, when it comes to power, we forget that power has multiple expressions. It can either be oppressive, subjugating, hyper-selfish, imposing, corrupt, controlling, inconsiderate, autocratic and isolating or it can be expressed equitably, inclusively, for the greater good, openly and for the advancement of not just one interest but many. The last few thousand years have seen (mainly) men misuse and abuse power and use it largely for excessive self-interest (and excessive here is the operative word, for self-interest is healthy, it just depends where on the spectrum it resides and for how long) and therefore we perceive it as the norm. This is not the case. It has been distorted over time, we have associated men with power and have therefore concluded that power and men alike are not good.
We need to see beyond this as the two are not mutually exclusive. We have an opportunity to express differently both culturally and socioeconomically. I have written extensively to this in my programs such as Reclaim Your Kingdom. Here, we unpack the responsibilities and roles of both men and women.
MEN ARE PURELY DRIVEN BY STATUS, WEALTH, POWER AND SUCCESS
Again, a fallacy that has been habituated for so long that we perceive it to be complete truth. Our society is largely driven by status, material acquisition and external success. We validate our self-worth through these means. Again, because so many man hold positions of power, we associate this distortion of validated self-worth with being limited to the realm of men.
Men are also driven by pain, and what they do not wish to experience. The collective wounding of man consists of avoiding fear of being seen, critic, rejection, abandonment, ostracization and humiliation. Wealth accumulation, status and externalised success then become better motivators for validating our egos and feeling good in our bodies and minds. Men yearn for acceptance. The sooner we cease to perpetuate this false ideology, the quicker will be less attached to it.
MEN DON’T FEEL PAIN
Men suffer and feel pain deeply. Our society requests we hide it AND at the same time wants us to emote and express freely. Most men are confused. It’s not manly to feel pain. Many of us rest our laurels and ability to be strong men on our toughness, resilience and ability to cope with high pain thresholds. Is this wrong? Not necessarily. As being strong constitutes (in part at least) what it means to be a healthy man. However, we do wish to feel and not suppress our pains.
MEN ONLY THINK ABOUT SEX
Yes, AND… We think about more than just this. We also crave connection. There is nothing wrong with thinking about and wanting sex. It is when the contemporary man is not integrated in his being (heart, mind and loins) that he becomes hyper-focused and extreme in his behaviours and obsessions. These obsessions drive his actions and he is perceived as a beast.
Man is a beast AND… He is more than just this. He can own his beast and still act from an open heart and higher consciousness. He can indulge his sexuality, with consideration for the depth of the interaction, thoughts and visceral exchange. Men want to be seen and loved and not rejected or denied. We crave this and often mask it with a focus on sexuality. To be clear, there is everything right with primal sex AND there are even deeper expressions we can reach that teach us so much about who we are and our potential.
As men, we can show our women various sides of ourselves. Compassionate, affectionate and considerate sides that also have the ability to ravage and ravish. This can only unravel when there is trust built. It is the responsibility of man here to demonstrate his prowess and range. That is power.
One is glad to be of service.
Relational Alchemist, Speaker & Author
Relational Alchemist, Speaker & Author