In part one, I shared how today’s masculine culture compels you to compare and compete with other men. It’s a culture that encourages perfecting the “pretender” in you and the masks you wear. It’s a competitive culture that discourages deep, meaningful relationships with other men or mentors.
On June 19, 2007, Bon Jovi released their album Lost Highway. One of the bonus tracks was “Walk Like a Man.” Here is the chorus of that song written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and John Shanks:
He said stand tall when you stumble
Stay proud when you’re humbled
The lessons you learn
Won’t be the ones that you plan
And every step up that mountain
Will be more than worth countin’
And when you walk through the valley
May you walk like a man
These are heartfelt, wise words from a father to his son, whose life lessons are just around the next bend. Do you see the caution, care, and encouragement? That’s how healthy manhood is supposed to be passed on. Intentional heartfelt instruction, backed up by a life lived as an example, not preached as a sermon. Teaching him that life is tough, but you’re tougher. Helping him to understand that learning and failing is a part of life, but always remember to never let failure define you.
Don’t miss this message. Healthy men are able to reject the masks once they understand that imperfection is what makes you unique, approachable, and relational. Masks perpetuate the pretense of being perfect, which actually makes you appear superficial, shallow, and less approachable.
In my previous blog, I encouraged you to learn to recognize and identify all the masks you have felt compelled to wear during your lifetime. Ask yourself in what ways has each of these masks helped you pretended to be someone or something you knew you weren’t. Identify when and where you still feel the need to wear a mask today.
Remember, wearing a mask says, “I don’t want others to see the real me, because I don’t believe the real me is good enough, smart enough, rich enough or handsome enough, that others want to be with you or your friend.” Ultimately masks say that you don’t believe in you!
How do you change this? You do it by changing what you believe about yourself. You stop believing things that are not and never have been true. I’ve shared this in a previous blog post, but it is worth repeating here. Be mindful that:
What you believe affects how you think. How you think affects how you feel. How you feel affects how you behave. Your behavior becomes your reputation and what people believe about yourself.
If you believe you’re broken and somehow less worthy, you will spend the rest of your life working to “earn” the love or respect of others. However, if you don’t love and respect yourself first and foremost, the love and respect of others become a constant moving target. You’ll work day and night trying to “please” them, but never getting what you desire the most in return – to be loved for who you are, not for what you do.
So how do you get off this treadmill? By forging and restoring what it means to be a healthy man based upon your beliefs. By seeing the way, a healthy man is supposed to see and treat himself.
Here are some examples of how a healthy man believes, sees, and treats himself:
- Believe and know that you are unique and valuable. There never has, and never will be, another man like you. Your unique blend of character, talents, personality, humor, and wisdom are what make you uniquely you.
- Believe and know in the man you can be. When you stop believing, thinking, and treating yourself so badly, you free yourself to become the man you’ve always wanted to be but never knew how.
- Believe and know that you can change and stay the course no matter how long it takes. Be enthusiastic and realistic about your restoration process. Healthy men are life-long learners and never stop growing.
- Believe and know that there are healthy men who will help you with your restoration. These men will be experienced mentors and life coaches for every area of your life – intellectual, emotional/relational, physical, and spiritual. They will come along-side you, willing and able to help you.
- Believe and know that as you change the way you see yourself, your thoughts, feelings, and actions will change too. You will begin to do the right things, the right way, at the right time, for the right reason.
- Believe and know that you are worth all of this time and effort. The man you strive to will be a far greater friend, husband, father, son, and man than you are today.
- Believe and know that there are some great resources out there, books, articles, videos, and groups that will help you to recognize your strengths and teach you how to develop them.
My previous blog, “Healthy Beliefs Generate Healthy Activity,” is a great resource for learning how to develop a healthy identity. In upcoming blogs, I’ll share how more about how developing healthy virtues are essential to becoming a healthy man. I’ll share how to nurture and strengthen these virtues.
Forging and restoring the healthy man within you will transform you intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. However, remember it’s a process, not a quick fix. It is well worth the effort. Changing how you see yourself enables you to become more confident, approachable, and intimate in all your relationships.
I hope today’s blog was helpful to you; if so, sign up to receive blogs when posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Unbreakablebond.org/ is here to help you discover and develop authentic, healthy intimacy in all your relationships.
I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you would like to improve your relationships, or you want someone to talk to, e-mail me at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, and we’ll schedule a time to connect. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.