What does it mean to truly be a man?

man wearing sunglasses facing backward stands beside ocean looking at sunset
by Vance Larson

I have worked with a lot of men over the course of 30 years helping them identify who they are, and what it means to truly be a man. Just because you have a penis, does not make you a man. Male, yes. Man, no.

What I find interesting is that it does not matter if one comes from a place of privilege or not. The same bullshit characteristics applied no matter where one comes from. With that said, in random order, the defining qualities that a man has, and displays.

1. Own your bullshit. You cannot command respect if you’re not living a life of honor. I get that we all fall short, so embrace the concept of imperfection, and get on with living an honorable life.

2. Stop creating bullshit. Just because you own your BS does not give you licence to keep on creating it. We should honor the path of the pure. Life is hard enough as it is. Slinging bullshit only intensifies it.

3. Can you please say goodbye to your side chick? Gay, straight, married or single. If you’re not disclosing that you’re seeing multiple people, that’s messed up. {See Number 2.} 

4. If you have children, love them. If they don’t live with you, really love them. The earth is paved with boys and girls who have a father, but he’s not there. This is where a man will stop at nothing to let his children know that they are loved, despite him not physically being there.

5. Its okay to be strong and not use your strength. Too many males are trying to power their way through life. A true warrior avoids war until it is a last resort. A man thinks and then responds, rather then reacts. 

6. Believes in something much bigger than himself. Be it God, higher power, or just humanity, connectedness and community makes the man.

7. A male embraces material success. A man embraces his internal circle being healthy and balanced as success. Over the course of 30 years in mental health I watched those who chase money. Most lacked self love and intimate relationships. 

For all of the hard working men out their who are making a contribution, you should feel proud. Men often go unrewarded. Its perfectly fine to cheer for yourself. And, if you’ve made this far, how about making a small investment in a male who may need direction. It can be something as little in trying your very best to model “Man” behavior. If you didn’t get that while you were growing up, that’s all the more reason to help break the cycle for the next male. 

We need to honor our space. Embrace our journey. And if need be, fight for the one who have no defense. Being a male is a matter of birth. Being a man is an extension of eternity.

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