5 Things All Guys Should Know About Being a Real Man
Being a man in today’s society is tough. There are plenty of stereotypes of what a man should be like, what a man is, and how he should behave. However, each man is different and should not be expected to live his life the way society deems appropriate. You don’t have to play the role others have cast for you. Here’s how to stop acting like a man and truly become one.
1. It’s OK to cry
Being a man does not mean you have to always be tough and aggressive. It’s OK to lower your shield from time to time. That means you are allowed to be expressive, cry, and just be connected with how you really feel. Don’t push all of your emotions down; they will eventually surface and you may demonstrate them in ways you later regret. Give yourself permission to feel.
Society has generally limited the acceptance of male tears to sports. A recent study conducted by Pennsylvania State University researchers found that emotional expressions during a game were considered by many to be normal for men. However, limiting emotion to the confines of a sports event is neither realistic nor healthy. Have the courage to move beyond these implied restrictions.
2. Ask for help when you need it
You may feel pressure to figure things out on your own for fear that others will think you’re weak or incompetent, but those fears will keep you from getting things done and receiving the help you need. When you don’t ask for what you need or want, you are not living your best life. This is especially true if you’re struggling with feelings of loneliness or depression. Feeling alone or sad does not mean that you are weak. Know that you have a strength within that has yet to be realized. If you are feeling hopeless, take the first step and seek assistance from a professional who can help you work through this rough patch.
3. You deserve love
You deserve to love and to be loved in return. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship where you feel safe, wanted, and deeply loved. It is great to feel needed, but that is not love. Know that you are more than just a means to an end. Don’t be embarrassed about wanting to feel emotionally connected to and loved by others. A study conducted by anthropologist Helen Fisher found that humans have a drive for love that is just as strong as the need for food.
“Romantic love is deeply embedded in the architecture and chemistry of the human brain…I came to see this passion as a fundamental human drive. Like the craving of food and water and the maternal instinct, it is a physiological need, a profound urge, an instinct to court and win a particular mating partner,” said Fisher in Why We Love.
4. Accept and admit when you are wrong
When you realize you are wrong and own up to it, you are taking an important step toward building more authentic relationships. Knowing when to admit to wrongdoing (and following up with an apology) demonstrates not only strength of character but also acknowledgement of the other person’s feelings. Being a man is not about “saving face.” Sometimes you have to admit that you are human, just like everyone else. Being a man does not mean you have to be perfect. Accept your shortcomings and learn to be comfortable with your flaws.
“Done well, an apology can bring closure to tensions, conflicts, and hurt feelings that have been sore spots for months, even years. It can change the way your spouse thinks of you — the way she looks at you. It can break down barriers faster than any other words or actions can,” said Dr. Gary D. Chapman in The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great.
5. You do not have to take on the burdens of the world
While people in your life may depend on you, it is not your responsibility to be everyone’s rock. You have your own concerns and problems that affect you, and you must do your best to take care of yourself. It is often said to women that they cannot be of help to anyone if they don’t take care of themselves; the same is true for men. Engage in self-care by getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well, and learning how to say “no.” You don’t always have to be the strong tower that everyone leans on. Communicate to your loved ones that you cannot be everything to everyone and that you have limits. Also remind yourself that you don’t have be — and cannot be — everyone’s savior. Accept your humanness.
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