What a Gay Guy Taught Me About Masculinity

“Men don’t realize that the key to their success and their power is their heart.”

That’s a pretty gay statement to begin with. But I learned a couple more things from an interview with Chris Lee on Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness podcast.

Here is what I learned from a gay dude about masculinity and showing vulnerability as a man:

1) We all live behind walls hiding our true authentic self.

We are all wearing masks.

I guess I wear at least ten different ones right now.

Every day I try to unmask myself a little bit more and forgive myself for the horrible things I did in the past (both to myself and to others).

I try to make peace with what I find underneath once I tear down the walls I’ve built to “protect me from harm” and I go through the piles of debris.

It’s painful and scary.

But eventually I might get to the core.

I’m looking for the real me underneath all the superficial crap, the stories of my past, the “ideas of how things SHOULD be”, my ego, my concept of what I want others to think of me, and a lot of other crap.

I try to get rid of all that stuff a tiny bit more each and every new day.

But it’s hard work.

And it’s fucking scary and frightening to “let it all go”.

2) Men have to access their hearts to become more effective.

When I was in Thailand doing an intense six-hours-a-day-one-month-long Yoga program one of the instructors said: “You have to combine both your mind and your heart in order to achieve ANYTHING in life.”

I didn’t get it back then.

Now a gay guy literally says the same and tells me that men have to access their hearts more in order to become more effective.

He says that men USUALLY don’t have problems to be aggressive enough. Or assertive. Or logical.

They struggle with being in touch with their emotions and ambitions.

And with combining the two.

And bringing love to their mechanical and logical tasks they do each and every day.

But in order to do that, you have to let your guards down. Accessing your vulnerability and bringing whatever is left into the world for others to see.

And I am not sure if I am ready to do this yet…

3) The ego stops you from being vulnerable.

I was such a big cunt only a couple of years ago, the first half year of this blog’s existence was dedicated to getting rid of the ego within me. That’s how much there was to work with…

I was on a two month trip to Australia with my girlfriend back then and read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now at least six times in a row.

It was my emergency brake. And it was about time. And I pulled it as hard as I could.

My girlfriend was already getting pissed at me for reading it over and over again. Each day I was pointing out new passages in the book to her, discussing it for hours.

I was a fucking annoying cunt, I can imagine.

But letting go of our “walls” and the ego within ourselves which created them in the first place is a very difficult challenge. And much more so for men in particular.

We are taught and raised to be the strong gender. To not cry. And suck it up. To not ask for help, because we ought to be able to do it ourselves. Never admit mistakes and hide them from the world to see, because else we are no “true man”.

“Men are experts at stuffing their emotions, people die and you stuff it, people break up with you and you stuff it, you lose a job and you stuff it. But that stuffing eventually manifests in a lot of different ways. Drinking, abusive behaviour, being miserable, empty mansions, cancer, heart disease.”

Suddenly I don’t feel OK anymore.

“I am in dis-ease” and I wonder how I ended up here.

How do you stop this madness?

You simply stop the stuffing.

And let it all out.

4) Everything we own is borrowed.

“Look at my fucking car! Look how much money I made! I’m the freaking CEO of my own startup! Have you seen our new pool in our new house?”

We get so caught up in the possessions that we forget the fact that everything we can possibly own in a life time is borrowed anyways.

You won’t bring anything with you when you die. It stays right where you left it. And you are dead. And with you goes the memory of your superficial past.

The worst thing that can happen to you as a man is when you link your ego and your self-worth to your materialistic possessions and your achievements.

Your core strength comes from tapping to a greater power WITHIN yourself and bringing it out into the world.

That’s every man’s duty.

And yet so many take the easy way out.

By building a big ego around your possessions. Stopping you from finding true fulfilment and happiness.

Instead it fuels scarcity and fear of losing your “toys” again.

Therefore internalising the “come and go” of things helps you to find your freedom and peace again.

And then you won’t freak out when they eventually “go”.

Because you know that something else “comes” again.

5) Generosity will always be remembered.

You won’t be remembered as the one fat guy who made a lot of money. But you will be remembered for being a humble and generous person to a shitload of people.

Although, being generous and helpful to others long enough will eventually make you rich as well…

Funny how this works.

6) How to identify and break false beliefs.

Here are some beliefs of mine:

  • If I open up I will look weak.
  • If I share my true feelings people will laugh at me.
  • If I am not acting tough enough around her, she will replace me for a more masculine man.
  • If I say “I love you please don’t go” she leaves me and then tells her friends about it, while they all enjoy a great laugh together, talking shit behind my back.

We all have stupid beliefs about the world.

But most of them are false. And unless we fix them we are not able to tap into our full potential. Because until we let go, most of our energy is dedicated to maintaining these beliefs.

Every day I try to write down my deepest beliefs. And then I try to figure out why they COULD BE utterly wrong.

Maybe there is a chance they are?

I assume the opposite and see where it leads me:

  • If I open up she will understand my behaviour better.
  • If I share my true feelings people will eventually get me and respect me for sharing.
  • If I stop acting tough enough around her, she doesn’t have to put her guards up as well and we both might enjoy a more honest relationship.
  • If I say “I love you please don’t go” she knows I care about her deeply (and might even stay with me).

These beliefs could be wrong as well.

But they are more encouraging to believe in.

7) The mission is to lift others up.

As a man you have to be of service and devote your life to improve the one’s of others. Lifting others up, always bringing out the best of the people around you, making it easier for others and being a positive influence to every new group you enter, is what defines true masculinity.

Creating good emotions within yourself — building something from nothing — and spreading it to others. Because they are “too beta” to do it themselves.

Eventually they will learn and be able to pull it off as well.

Or not.

8) The most humble man is the most masculine.

I am so not able to acknowledge my accomplishments, it’s far beyond humble. It’s closer to imposter syndrome than humbleness. But that’s a whole other problem I have.

Still, it’s about being humble and taking nothing for granted which is the ultimate virtue.

It’s not about what you have amassed or achieved in your life. It’s about how you use it to continue to be of service.

How you can make the best out of the things and gifts which were handed to you.

Because resourcefulness is way more important than having resources.

And eventually if you are resourceful for a little while you also amass a lot of resources along the way.

So be humble about what you have and continue to find better ways to share and multiply the little resources you have.

Because sooner or later you are going to lose it all again anyways. But that’s OK, because it wasn’t yours to begin with (remember point 4).

9) How to combine loving and powerful.

Here is possibly the best advice in the interview:

“It’s possible to be loving AND powerful.”

By combining these contradicting concepts you access true masculinity and power.

A lot of men don’t get this because they never want to be seen as weak (their beliefs). That’s why they stay away from “loving” and stick to what they were taught in young ages — strong and powerful.

The thing is neither of these two contradicting states is working without the other.

If you are JUST loving that shows up as WEAK. And if you are JUST powerful it shows up as AGGRESSIVE.

Both extremes shy people away.

“But if you combine both it’s an unstoppable combination.”

10) The biggest obstacle for men.

Because of our messed up upbringing and our years of social conditioning and trying to get all these girl’s attention, battling and competing with other males for their affection, we adapt in ways we didn’t even want to.

We change and do stuff which we never even would have thought of ourselves. We learn to do shit we are told is necessary to function in the world. To be a strong man. Whatever that means to us at this early stage in our life.

So we learn patterns. Just to hide the fact that we are all insecure little boys trying our best to be liked by the external world. And eventually find our spot.

Because there is nothing more frightening for a man than to be seen as a loser. As a guy who is no “real man”. A pussy. A wimp.

“Don’t be a pussy you fucking faggot!”

Because men’s biggest fear is not failing, but failing in the eyes of others. People who we try so hard to impress and be part of.

We truly don’t care falling down a tree. We can handle that shit very well because we did it for years. And we also have no problem picking ourselves up and trying again.

We just hate to be seen lying on the floor. Naked and in pain. With all our guards down.

Because that’s when we are the most vulnerable. When we are there lying in agony trying to put the scattered pieces back together.

Because in these moments they used to tell us that we are less of a man.

But are we?

Originally published at thomasmondel.com on August 15, 2016.