Living in the Anti Male Era Part II Acceptance Is Not the Answer
In my last article, I talked about the elephant in the room. There is a certain pleasure America takes in male failure, male depression, and ultimately male suicide. It is important to discuss the effects this negative pressure can have on guys. Every time we approach the subject the focus immediately shifts away from the listening and healing we need to attacks and blaming men. Eventually, we learn that if we keep quiet people will not attack us, and we will be accepted. Then we read articles full of assumptions about how we think summing up our experiences and insulting our intelligence. At some point enough is enough, and we realize that our silence is not the answer. I believe it is up to us men to pull ourselves out of this slump. The answer is simple, and it comes from our hearts. First, we must shed the need for acceptance and be unafraid to walk alone. Next, we must let go of anger and forgive the people who manipulated and hurt us in the past. We must work hard to establish our boundaries, and within that space create room to grow and understand ourselves. If we take the time to focus on that we will surpass our potential. This will not come without a struggle, and it will not happen without resistance. We can choose to embrace the lies ideologies feed us about men and masculinity, or we can believe in ourselves and chart our own course to a life full of peace and fulfillment.
Acceptance is a slippery slope, and it can allow men to widen their boundary to unhealthy distances. There are no shortages of orders being thrown at straight men. Just thumb through Medium and you will find many articles telling you how to benefit someone else with your life. If you try to jump through each hoop eventually you will end up lost, frustrated and alone. Your life, your values, and your beliefs were never meant to be designed by anyone other than you. I believe it is time to take a step back from all the noise (other people’s opinions) and remove acceptance as the top priority. I understand that the desire to be accepted is a human trait. We want people to like us and accept us. This mindset can trip men up, and send them on a path to depression and confusion. It can lead us to accept values that are not our own. How do we approach this? The first rule is boundaries. At boyhood ages, we naturally do this when we play with other boys. Those guys are on that team, and we are on this team. The guys in our boundary we defend, and the guys outside of it we go against. As we grow older this mentality still has importance. We were never meant to accept every idea thrown our way. We analyze it and decide if it will benefit either ourselves or our families. Then we either accept or reject it. This is where our ability to shut off our emotions and look at ideas rationally benefits us. If you are an ambitious man no one has the right to pressure you into becoming anything other than an ambitious man. The arguments that go against your ambition are not ideas you need to entertain. Before I go on, it is important to understand this. You will always be criticized and given shit for your choices. That is the nature of being male in America, so expect it and rest easy knowing you followed your heart. Following your heart is the key to happiness. The tough part is standing up for yourself, and what you believe in because that means you are standing against someone else. Somewhere along the way we grew afraid to draw a line and set boundaries that keep unhealthy people, opinions, and ideologies out of our lives.
I played on a flag football team for 10 years. Our team name was “Chowder” and we loved to play hard. I had a game where I almost got into a fight with someone on the other team. The leader of our team pulled me to the side after the game and told me straight up, you pull that shit again you are off this team. He told me this team is about paying for the guy next to you, and proving that we can depend on each other. A few years later I was the leader of the team. We had a kid get into a fight with the other team. I remember he was stuck on the fact that he played Division 1 football. I pulled him to the side and told him we pay to play here. There are no recruits, no scholarships and no one is above anyone. We play for each other. You either need to accept that or you are free to leave. If you start talking shit and fighting again I will kick you off this team. He listened and we had fun playing flag football together. I had another guy do the very same, and I pulled him to the side. This guy choose to fight me, he lost and I kicked him off the team. If I did not stand against him, then his bad attitude would have brought the entire team down. We cannot be afraid to draw a line because it might cause offense. This mentality smothers our greatest instincts and hurts a lot of good men. I know I’m talking about flag football, but I hope you see the example I set there. It can be applied it to any situation. If you have friends that are constantly disrespectful, then call it out and tell them they can forget about hanging with you if they keep that behavior up. If you are on a date, and your date is rude to you and the server. Tell that person at the moment, if they do not start acting respectful this date is over. This is how you can establish boundaries on the actions you accept, and actions you will not tolerate. Everyone wants to tell men who we need to accept and respect. I’m here to say it is time we start accepting and respecting ourselves first. We do this by setting high expectations for ourselves, and the people we choose to spend time with. This is how we earn respect, and how people earn our respect consistently. It is time to move away from the old model of, if I do what people tell me they will accept me. This model does not work because your life is bigger than other peoples instructions.
Men we are creative, and we are designed to test our ideas against what the world offers. Sometimes the results are fantastic, and sometimes we knocked on our asses. While we are down in that moment we have the unique ability to shut off our emotions and think about the situation, find a solution and get back after it. Guys no one who has the best plan for your life than other than you. It is time to stop being followers, and show the courage to forage own on paths. I know it is tempting to look at my message and use it as a weapon against people and ideas that have hurt you. Set a higher standard for yourself and choose not to become what you hate. We have this innate ability (as humans) to want people to feel the way we felt when it comes to pain. The second we give into that emotion we are just as dishonorable as the people who hurt us. The key is forgiveness, and walking away from the unhealthy choices, people and the ideas that hurt you. I go back to boundaries here, please learn to be selective about who you let into your life. This will create an important opportunity to be great for yourself, and in the new relationships you create with authenticity and the courage to follow your heart.
I wrote this to point out our detractors as men. What are the ideas and thought patterns that keep us from pursuing the lives we want? Is acceptance and fear of confrontation an issue for you? Are you afraid to stand for what you believe in because people will shun you? Is your life, your dream worth fighting for? It does not matter if people around you accept your dream. You need to have the courage to pursue it regardless of what the world will say. One thing is certain, people will always have something to say. Will you believe them or will you believe what is in your heart? That is the choice we have my friend. I better get this out of the way. Naturally, if you believe in slavery, or racism or Nazism you know you are wrong and you will get what you got coming. However, if you have conservative views or goals people around you do not understand, I am here to say accept yourself and pursue the life you dream about living. Next time I’ll talk about how to keep your fire burning white hot in some of your darkest moments.