I'd like to start by mentioning that I'm well aware of the current social climate surrounding gender identity. With that said, I identify as male and this is by no means any sort of attack against those who identify differently.
The second note is that I'm inviting anyone with constructive insight to share their thoughts on the topic. It's all about learning, growing, and gaining the opportunity to make better use of our judgment.
I've been wanting to do this for quite some time now and for several reasons.
Let’s start by acknowledging that with every new year, we have an opportunity to let bygones be bygones and fully reset. Of course, we can achieve this daily also, but that’s a different topic for a different day.
Despite our differences, if there’s one thing that I believe we can all agree on is that we’ve faced tremendous challenges when looking at everything that happened in the past couple of years. There’s a lot of new information for us to process, but at the same time, it really isn’t all too new when we peel the layers back...
You see, life is a wild journey that has an interesting way of teaching us lessons and putting us back on our intended path if we stray too far. Oftentimes, we miss the lessons and the signs we're presented with. That's fine, it happens. We can look at all of these lessons and obstacles from several angles, and by doing that you’ll see that there’s one common factor in all of them.
(Hint: it isn’t what you think it might be.)
It’s not your job, not your neighbors, not the COVID-19 pandemic, not your country’s politicians, your significant others, or anything else beyond your immediate control.
The enemy here is a pervasive idea of disempowerment.
Navigating Through The Chaos
Ask any chef worth their spoonful of spice and they’ll tell you that all good recipes share common ingredients. The same can be said when it comes to the way we’re navigating the disasters we’re facing. Disempowerment is to chaos as salt and pepper are to any recipe. Sure, there’s fear, confusion, anger, divisiveness, and many other things that play into the grand scheme of things.
We’re human, so we're 100% entitled to feel any kind of way about the chaos in our lives. The key to our success here is how we express those feelings. Especially if they happen to be negative ones...
Meaning that just because you're angry, you're not going to instantly fly into a rage, or just because you're sad, you're not going to instantly break down into a river of tears.
I don't say this to invalidate one's emotions, but to point out that there are better ways of communicating our displeasure and our shortcomings, and we should do what we can to practice new ways when the opportunities present themselves. This is why learning to communicate effectively is supremely important.
How Does This Pertain To 'Men' or 'Power'?
Again, putting semantics aside, one of the reasons this is a message for men is because I believe in the power of the content of one’s character and our ability to shape this character into anything we want. To clarify, I’m not saying this quality is unique to men only. Anyone has the innate ability to do this.
The second reason is that I’m not a woman. (Surprise.) What I mean by this is I feel it’s unfair of me to speak on their behalf when women know and understand things men don’t. That’s their power and theirs alone, so I’ll let someone else be their voice.
To understand how power comes into play here, it’s important to acknowledge that we all will have our unique journeys and personal challenges. We’re not all going to have the same advantages or even be fighting the same kind of demons. Our present circumstances may be blessed beyond belief or seemingly cursed.
What I'd like to say to men of all ages, nationalities, ethnic groups, etc. is that, as chaos continues to brew, let this day be the day to understand that your character is the source of your power. It is time you develop your character into a symbol of formidable strength.
I mean this physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and any other ‘ally’ you want to have with you on your journey.
It’s time that we, as symbols of strength, come to terms with the fact that our power has not been stolen from us. If you have access to this message, you’re not disempowered. Not a single thing or person on this green Earth has ever or will ever take your power away from you, so long as you slow down, be patient enough to observe, listen and not let your impulses get the best of you.
When I speak about becoming a symbol of strength, I don’t mean becoming more combative so as to use your power to tear others down.
On the contrary, be so confident in your own strength that it becomes virtually impossible to let disempowered individuals poison your character.
Just Because It’s Bait, Doesn’t Mean You Have To Bite
The pattern is self-evident:
-Chaos shows itself in the form of (insert challenge).
-People get wounded, resulting in (insert destructive emotion).
-Instead of using this opportunity to grow, they blame (insert external factor).
-The cycle of self-perceived powerlessness repeats.
Here’s a situational example:
Let’s say, you got a flat tire on your way to a job interview. You didn’t have the money to hail a cab or the tools to fix it yourself. This led to someone else getting the job over you and you having to inconvenience a friend to come pick you up; despite his best efforts to tell you it wasn’t all your fault.
Now, a disempowered individual will blame the tire or even the road they were on for putting them in this predicament. They may even blame the company for not understanding their situation. They may even blame their poor spending habits and not being better prepared.
The truth is, even if the blame is put on ourselves, power is never really fully surrendered unless we allow it to be.
The moment we allow ourselves to be wounded by trivial things is when we willingly surrender all of our power and dismantle the character we worked so hard to develop.
Men, don’t fall for this trap…
We’re being misled by powerless people and powerless events.
Worst of all, I think most of us are actually starting to believe in all the fear and uncertainty being propagated in social media, by figures of authority, celebrities, and sadly, even our close friends and loved ones who bought into this lie that we always have to fight the Big Bad Wolf at every corner.
That’s not strength; that’s fear. While fear is a great alarm system, it’s a terrible weapon - so put it away once it has served its purpose.
Men, as symbols of strength, make it a mission to make this year your opportunity to be selfless.
Give yourselves the chance to give less weight to things that don’t deserve it. Avoid petty arguments, needless explosive behavior, or the constant desire to feed your ego.
Don’t focus so much on how the world needs to change for you… Rather do more self-examination, expand your knowledge, your adaptability, and learn to add layers to your character’s armor so that it becomes untouchable.
Don’t be so quick to get defensive. Lead with compassion and go from there. Don’t give your power away so easily when the chaotic world we live in provokes you.
Even if you already know all of this, share it with another man that needs to hear it.
Let this serve you as a reminder that whether it’s trouble at work, relationships, past traumas, your neighbors, family, the noise from the world, or any other test that you face, you’re never alone.
Develop your character to be dangerously disciplined, to forgive quickly and often, to speak your truth with kindness, to start your days with patience, and use your impregnable power to build others as much as humanly possible.
This is not a call to become perfect or any less human, but to simply recognize that you don’t have to mirror other people’s poor behavior.
Even if you slip and fall, every day is a chance to make things right.
How To: Exercising Dangerous Patience