Recently, Edward Bailey, our Executive Director, shared a new perspective on manhood with the residents of No Longer Bound – a faith-based addiction treatment center. This is one resident’s key takeaways from that discussion.
What Is A Man, Anyway?
When you think about what we have been taught about manhood, a few things may cross your mind. For example, fathers teach their sons that boys don’t cry, or men must provide for the family without allowing anyone to see him struggle. According to this definition of manhood, men certainly don’t ask for help, and they definitely don’t have any intimate relationships.
Maybe your definition of manhood comes from a famous movie where a man demonstrates that emotions are for girls, and men simply “don’t have them”.
Perhaps you believe that as long as you have all the money, the latest car in the garage, the biggest house on the block, and “manly” friends, then you’ve got it made.
Regardless of how your beliefs formed, most men define manhood in just a few short phrases:
- Be brave
- Take risks
- Work hard
- Be cool
- Get rich
But what if that was all wrong? What if we took these simple concepts and added to them, completely changing the way we think about them, effectively redefining manhood?
Here’s a fresh way to think about what it means to be a man.
Be Brave with Your Emotions
As a man, of course you want to be brave, but you can be brave about the wrong things. What if you change what you’re brave about?
As a man, be brave with your emotions. Allow yourself to feel. Honor your feelings, name them, and don’t allow certain emotions to have the power to control your life.
Take a Risk To Be Rejected
Most men like to take risks. Some can be dangerous or damaging, but taking risks in a new way can pay off. Considering taking a risk that could lead to rejection. Sounds intimidating, right?
You must be accepting of the fact that some people may reject you and your decisions. The sense of belonging is comfortable, but when that is threatened, it can lead to fear regarding our social standing.
Rejection hurts because it threatens our entire identity, which is exactly what makes it so freeing when you make it to the other side. Once you shed yourself of people who hold you back and judge you, gone are the days of being stuck within the boundaries that are set by “the wrong crowd.”
Work Hard On Yourself
Working hard is also a “manly trait” that fits most people’s definition of manhood. Although working hard at a job or relationship is extremely important, working hard on yourself is, too.
Do you know what’s manly? Taking the time to know yourself. Knowing what makes you tick and why, as well as knowing and setting goals for yourself to work towards. This is one of the most responsible choices someone can make for themselves.
The ancient thought of real men not asking for help is truly for the birds. Don’t be afraid to speak up, and ask for all of the help you need. Everyone can benefit from therapy because learning more about yourself is a blessing to everyone around you.
Be Cool To The Right Tribe
There is just something cool about being, well, cool. And deep down every man wants to be cool in their own way. However, being cool with the wrong people can be life-threatening. That’s why it’s important to find the right tribe.
Redefine cool, and find other people that have been rejected by taking their own risks. These are the people that will appreciate love, belonging, and the safety that comes from being rejected. They have experienced pain by people who don’t know what cool really is.
Get Rich in Love for Others
One of the most common stereotypes about manhood is wealth. For many, getting rich is important. But pursuing financial wealth is not what Jesus wants from us. In fact, he says that getting rich is a foolish goal. As Paul tells us, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:7.
That’s why this new definition of manhood encourages you to get rich by loving and caring for others. The act of caring for others may not always bring about financial worth, but it will give you personal wealth.
Jesus’ second commandment is to love others as you love yourself. But of course, to do this, you have to start by wholly loving yourself. Self-love is an ongoing process, and by redefining manhood, you are taking a great first step.
Learn more about our faith-based addiction treatment program.