Thursday, February 13, 2014

Be A Man

What does it mean to be a man?
What do I perceive as manly qualities?
I began to delve into this topic and found myself conflicted. Ideally, I know that today's idea of a 'man' is greatly deformed, but I find myself drawn to those stereotypical qualities. 
So I took some time to rid myself of these preconceived notions and start afresh. 

What do I, myself, see to be a man?

Humanity. First and foremost. On the most basic level, I don't want to sense there is a difference between man and woman. We are all human before we start to break ourselves down into groups and races and nationalities. When I see a man and sense he stands before me as a human, and views those around him as fellow humans, I can then perhaps describe him as a 'man'. 

Empathy. Being able to feel and try to understand what goes on within and beyond. There is something robotic and frightening about someone who is unable to feel for anyone other than themselves, if they feel at all. Although, not giving into feeling is promoted as a manly quality, it is this very trait that gives birth to dominating, abusive, egocentric, even violent and evil men. There is comfort being in the company of a man who allows himself to feel, and also be felt. It is not easy to be that vulnerable but it is beautiful and refreshing to see, and humbling to be able to see that side. 

Humility. Man's greatest downfall is the ego. How it manages to get so self-inflated sometimes is beyond me. There's nothing more unappealing then egocentricity. Not to say one should be insecure, that is probably slightly less unappealing than a big ego. Confidence is important. Being able to recognize your self worth and believe in your ability is crucial. But don't taint that confidence by making yourself the center of the world. The world is vast, you are but a tiny speck, but you are a speck nonetheless. 

Authenticity. Being open, honest and sincere by default. No ulterior motives. No hidden agendas or meanings. Oh how simpler the world would be if people allowed themselves to be genuine.  

Loyalty. Not to a a particular family, faction, flag or faith. Loyal to those around you, those directly involved in your life, those who deserve it. Loyalty to your values, ideals and beliefs (key word being your). Being able to consider more than just yourself, your wants and needs. 

Commitment. When you say something, you mean it. When you do something, you get it done. Being 'a man of your word'. Not to be an overachiever, but to know and understand your abilities and your limits. Know what needs to be done and what it is you can do to get there. Know when to draw the line and when to push forward. Know that giving up should not be an option unless all other options have been exhausted. 

Responsibility. Towards your fellow man. Towards your planet. Towards yourself. Towards your loved ones. Having a deep sense of duty and living up to it. You are accountable for your words and your actions so bloody act like it.

Kindness. Such an underrated quality but it goes such a long way. Be kind to those around you. Be kind to total strangers. Don't underestimate the importance of being a gentleman in the true sense of the word. Not in an effort to get laid, just for the sake of being a decent human being.

Respect. Before you demand respect, make sure you deserve it. It would be a start to respect others; their thoughts, beliefs, ideas, actions, even if they may conflict with yours. Who are you to judge? As long as they do not harm you then what reason do you have to disrespect them?

As I go over the list in my mind I realize these very attributes are universal. They are not limited to a single gender. Nor should they be. Man, woman, we should not be measured any differently. Going through this was a healthy exercise for me. Not only did I compile a list of what I look for, it is a list of qualities I aspire to embody. I imagine the list is subject to expand and/or change, but it's a start.

Oh men of the world, before you go pounding your chest and grunting, rethink what it is beyond your anatomy that truly makes you a man. And ladies, start to appreciate these qualities a little more. Get it out of your head that the bad boy will somehow be good for you. It's in the name, he will be bad for you, and this boy will be no 'man'.