This has been in my mind for years and years now, as I experience life, observe my social and physical environment, evaluate and re-evaluate the roles of man in our society, internationally and universally. I find that many are unaware, unconscious and generally living life without much conscious thought and living. I know, as I've just starting becoming conscious and aware in the recent years – since 2008, to be exact. I do agree with the adage shared by Pastor Kong Hee of City Harvest Church (Singapore) which is "Male by birth, man by choice."
What does it mean to be a man? Can men express masculinity without the mechanical attitude, without becoming devoid of emotions or clamping their hearts (and minds too), as opposed to the other extreme end, which is to become too emotional and wimp-like on the other end? What would be the best way, in love, masculinity, and all consciousness for a man to express himself?
Here are 10 ways to live more and more consciously, as a man.
A real man knows and respects the power of choices. He makes his life, his future, his world by his decisions, the ones that he takes, and the ones that he didn't take. He understand that life goes on without him regardless when he makes or not make a decision, and he must decide to make a decision and move onward.
When a man makes a real decision, he closes the door he is not interested in, and opens/keeps open the door he is. It is a focused action, though he knows that there's no guarantee that or when he will reach his target destination, he knows it (yes, he does), and there's no need for guarantees.
A real man doesn't need the approval of others – willing to follow his own heart, and the heart of those that truly inspire him. When such man is following his path of his heart, it doesn't matter if the world is against him. What matters of a world against him, when his heart and inspiration is for him?
*This is very important.*
A man who shouts out that his number one commitment is his spouse, family, or work, is not trustworthy. I say this as there will be too much misplacement of trust and loyalties. A man who places individuals above his own values and integrity is not grounded. It is a wretched and down hill path.
Imagine this, a person who prioritizes spouse, family, or work above himself and his values – when something happens to them, his values will be misconstrued. If they had made a mistake, or is living in a life, mind and heart of limited consciousness, then he must bring himself to to place those mistakes and negative values as above himself, and live with it. Like them.
This is a man who is too weak to be trusted, not only as a man, but as a person and individual as a whole. He will live his life trying to accept and placate people whose values and ideas which are unstable.
A man knows he must commit to something greater than satisfying the needs of a few people in his life. It's not about willing or unwillingness to be domesticated, nor is it about loving or not loving others for who they are. A real man must be willing to accept the fact that responsibility is greater than just satisfying the needs of others around him. He cannot shirk, nor change that responsibility, that duty, if he does, he becomes less of a man. When a man has a greater commitment to his values, grounded in his ideals, unshaking to the common winds and rain, he then becomes a pillar, a mighty pillar for those lesser around him. Even the people who don't support him or like him, will know that he stands by ideals, values and commits to them higher than anything else. The fastest way a man can lose the respect and trust of others, especially his own, is to violate his own core values and beliefs.
As men live life, there will be a lot of tests, temptations and tribulations to try him out. It is meant to shake him, to weed out and expose what or who he is. It is and forever will be a great reward to live a life full of integrity and see the rewards from integrity, as opposed to living a life with placing things above his integrity. If that happens, he will be pitiful.
It's really alright to make mistakes. A real man is willing to make mistakes, willing to have a chance to be wrong, in the pursuit of trying and doing something to the best of his ability than to do nothing at all (and achieve a 100% chance of failing).
Trust yourself. It is one of your greatest assets. Don't worry too much with "what-ifs" and failings – don't limit yourself. A fairly conscious and intelligent man considers and understands the chance of failure in all he does and plans, but it is not at the top of his list. There's no need to fill his mind with endless and pointless worry. He understands and accepts that if a failure happens, he can learn and deal with it.
A man grows more from mistakes and failures as opposed to success. Having made mistakes and faced failures, they test his resolve and persistence, moulding his character in a way success never can. Success has its fair set of challenges, yes, but a man learns and experiences so much more about himself when he takes on challenges that involves a measure of risk. Don't take any risks, and you'd end up blunt, take calculate risks, and you'd end up getting sharper and sharper.
A man's attitude is his own, and no one can take it from him. He speaks and acts with his own confidence.
No postures or breathing styles can change one's attitude, though it can boost what is already there. A real man understands that there is prospects of failing in whatever he sets his mind to. Even when the chances of failures are stacked against him, he still is confident. It's not because of ignorance or denial – it's because he has self-belief which is greater than the self-doubt. This builds his persistence and his courage, which are great assets.
A real man is willing to be defeated. He is willing to be taken down and out by circumstances that are above and beyond his control, but he will always adamantly refuse and resist to be overwhelmed by his own self doubt. Because he knows that when he stops believing in himself, there's no point in having anyone of anything believing in him. He is willing to surrender to fate, but never to fear.
A real man is an active giver of love. He is not a passive, grunting recipient. He will be the first to initiate a conversation, he will be the first to ask what is needed or required, and he will be the first to say "I love you." Waiting for someone else to make the first move is not an option. When that happens, it is the unbecoming of a man. He doesn't wait for the approval of others, the universe doesn't work when he hesitates. Only and only if he takes action and motion, then do things work.
A real man is a source of energy, power if you must. It is his responsibility, his duty to share his love with the world. He must wean of from just taking the energy of others and become a source of vibrant energy for others. He must allow the energy within to flow from him, through him, to the world.
A real man does not need to hide his sexuality. If others have to hide or shrink away from him because he's too masculine, he allows them to do so. There's no need for him to decrease just to avoid scaring the timid. A man accepts the consequences of being a male, and there is no need for apologies.
A real man will be careful not to allow his energy to be stuck at the level of lust. When he re-channels more of his sexual energy into following his heart and mind, it can serve his higher values that just of his basic instincts.
A real man is able to channel his sexual energy into his heart's pursuits, allowing his energy to come out and explode through his heart, and not just his genitals.
As a man, being fearful of something is often reason enough to go out and do it. It is a call to be tested. When a man hides himself from his fears, he has become mis-aligned with his true self. Misalignment causes bouts of weaknesses, depression and helplessness. Nothing can help, nothing can comfort him no matter what, sleep too will evade him, as he cannot overcome the feelings inside, the dread knowing that he did not face what he needed to face.
Only when a man faces his fears can he experience peace.
A real man makes risk a friend. He does not hide or run from the tests of fear. He will face them and engage them.
A real man succeeds or fails. The fearful coward will not even try. Specific outcomes are less important then his direction.
A real man is a real man when he is correctly aligned, staring fears in his eyes. More so, he will feel and be more confident even when he moves and advances in the direction of his fears.
When a man sees another male friend taking the plunge, going for that venture that has a very high chance of failure…what should he do? Does he stop him? Definitely not. He will encourage his friend to continue, with caution. A real man knows that it is better for his friend to venture out and do what he has set to do as he planned, and work or not, to learn from the experiences he had gone through. The man honors his friend's decision to reach out and try. He doesn't deny his friend the positive benefits of a failed experience or venture. He may offer advice and guidance, but he knows that his friend must go through few experiences and failures to grow.
The path of a man is filled with obstacles. More often than not, it is also filled with more failures than it is with successes. These say something, that the obstacles that he face will help his develop and discover what is truly important to him. Through repeated and frequent knocks can a man lean to persist in the pursuit of worthy goals and abandon those which are not worthy of him.
A real man chooses his spouse, friends, and associates consciously. He will actively seek out the company and time of those who inspire him, those who challenge him, and he willingly will drop those who limit him and hold him back.
He doesn't blame others for his relationship problems. If a relationship is no longer compatible with his heart and mind, he initiates the break up with pain, but without blame or guilt (doesn't apply to marriages).
A real man holds himself accountable for the relations he pursues and allows in his life. He holds others responsible for their own behavior, but he holds himself accountable for his decisions to tolerate such behavior (positive or negative, or both).
A man shows others how to treat him by the relationships that he allows into his life. He doesn't fill his life with negative or destructive relationships – he knows that that's a form of self abuse.
One of a man's greatest challenges is to develop an inner strength to express his real self, as well as to be courageous enough to do so. He must learn to share his love and self with the world without pulling back, without holding back. When a man has done that, and when he is satisfied with that, then he will make peace with death. Failing to do so, death then will become his enemy and haunt him until he dies.
A real man cannot die well unless he lives well. A man lives well when he accepts his mortality and understands and draws strength knowing that his physical existence is a temporary situation. He accepts the inevitability of death.