How do you feel about being a man today? What challenges do you face to be authentic? Where do you find your touch points that guide you in determining how you will show up in today’s society?
Personally, I feel it can be overwhelming to live as an authentic, powerful man in light of all of today’s issues. Privilege, domestic violence, sexism, racism, fatherhood, mentorship, sexual consent, child abuse, discrimination of all kinds, poverty, it seems like the list just keeps growing. Overwhelm.
As men how do we collectively and individually address, confront, and solve these big issues in our society? Issues that have direct effect on people, everyone…women, children, and men. These people may be in our family, in our circle of friends, or may just be names and faces we see in a web article or on the TV. Regardless of how close to us those affected by these issues are, as men what is our response? As a man living in my daily life, what is my response?
I have come to recognize that being a man means resisting the feeling of overwhelm that can lead to inaction and silence. Instead of being effective on any front, succumbing to overwhelm creates ineffectiveness on all fronts. For me that isn’t how I want to show up as a man. So what helps me?
- A willingness to listen to and learn about the issues, AND an agreement with myself that listening and learning does not mean I have to act immediately.
This takes the pressure of expectations off me when educating myself and becoming more informed. Once I am more informed however, I become more conscious and more aware which helps me take action naturally where I’m able.
- Don’t judge anyone before listening to what they have to say.
I think this takes courage, and for me exhibiting courage is one way I want to show up as a man. I have a position that I can get attached to, and I don’t want it to be threatened because then, what are the implications for my life? But isn’t being challenged one way I can continually assess my motives, my fears, and my values that create my beliefs? Maybe I need to change, and maybe I don’t, but as a man I want to have the courage to stand in the conversation.
- Find a simple way to take action on just one thing.
It’s like priming the pump, or building muscle, the more you do it the easier it gets, and the more you want to do it. Donating to a cause with money is probably the easiest, giving time a little harder, and maybe the hardest for me…speak up when you hear someone say something that you believe perpetuates the problem.