When it comes to what it means to be a man, there are a number of different views. For some people, it will relate to someone who is mentally strong, is able to provide and can lead, while for others, it will relate to someone who is in tune with his feelings, cares about others and takes responsibility.
These can be seen as just a few of the things that someone would come out with, with there being a number of other things. Still, what is clear, by only taking these two examples into account, is that what one person sees as what it means to be a man can be radically different to what it means for another.
Now, although there are a number of different views, there are likely to be a number of things that each view has in common. If these points were all put together, it might lead to the following list.
Being a man can then involve:
If, then, a man was looking to become a man in more than name only, he will have a rough idea about how he needs to be. He may find that he has a few of these traits, others are not very developed and still, others are more or less non-existent.
After this, he could end up looking for guidance about how to go from where he is, to where he wants to be. Due to the amount of information that is available online, it shouldn’t be long until he finds what he’s looking for.
He could soon come across information that tells him that he simply needs to be a man and by taking action, this will gradually take place. This is not to say that there won’t be anything for him to read but this could be the basic gist of it.
In other words, he will need to stop being passive and waiting around for things to change or for others to do things for him and take life by the horns. Along with taking action, he could be told that he needs to start meditating, with this being seen as what will allow him to control his thoughts and feelings and, in the process, experience greater self-control.
What is clear from this advice, or advice that is similar, is that the focus will be on doing certain things. As for engaging in inner work, this will only relate to observing inner processes and perhaps changing ‘negative’ thoughts to ‘positive’ thoughts.
With this in mind, even if this approach is effective, it could be said that it is likely that the outcome will be the man replacing one role for another role. He might end up coming across as a man, or at least what some people view as a man but it doesn’t mean that he will feel different on the inside.
Behind how he comes across could be the same person who he was before. This could be someone who feels more like a child than an adult and doesn’t feel ready or capable of being a man.
Thanks to what he has been doing, he will have become estranged from how he really feels. The information that has entered his conscious mind will have ended up being pushed down into his unconscious.
As a result, he could be more of a man but he could have a very weak connection with his emotional self. He will then have gained one thing but lost another, and this is likely to have a negative effect on his ability to deeply connect with others.
Instead of simply changing his behaviour and potentially losing touch with a large part of his being, another approach would be for him to also look into what emotional wounds he needs to resolve. A number of these emotional wounds can relate to the experiences that he had with his mother for the first few years of his life.
Another way of looking at this would be to say that they will relate to his inner feminine aspect. At this point, he could wonder what emotional wounds are and find it hard to accept that he has an inner feminine aspect.
As a consequence of what he has learned up until this point, he could believe that his thoughts create his feelings, so there are no ‘emotional wounds’ for him to resolve and he could believe that he doesn’t have a feminine aspect as he is a man. However, these will be wounds that he experienced when his developmental needs were not met during his early years and he will be made up of both the masculine and the feminine, with each part providing different qualities.
If, for example, his developmental needs were rarely if ever met during this stage of his life, it would have stopped him from developing a strong core. He wouldn’t have received the nutrients that he needed and this would have deeply wounded him.
His physical self would have grown but his emotional self wouldn’t and this would have left him greatly weakened. After this, he might not have been ready to be a child, let alone to grow into a man.
Through being in this developmentally stunted and traumatised state, he won’t be in his power. This is why it can be normal for him to be passive, to follow others, to avoid responsibility, to be fearful, to take and to be controlled or to disconnect from his feelings.
What this illustrates is while his father will have had a big effect on him as the years passed, how his mother treated him at the beginning of his life was would have played a key part in his development. If his developmental needs had typically been met, he would have developed strong foundations and it would have paved the way for his masculine element to be built on top.
If a man can relate to this and he is ready to change his life, he may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.