What It Takes To Be A "Real Man" (From The Voice Of A 19 Year Old)
Now I know what you're thinking when you see this headline. "A real man? Who is he to say what a real man is?" "He's only 19 years old? What does he know? He's still so young!" I'm going to stop you right there with this one sentence. A "real man" is whoever you want it to be. There is no set of guidelines that you have to follow to be a "real man." Some may say, "Well what about being strong? Never crying? Owning luxurious things? Being muscular? Having a nice woman in your life?" To those people, I ask you, how do you define something as being manly in the first place? What about those men who are not physically strong, men who are comfortable showing emotion, men who do not have a lot of money, men who are not muscular, men who are not straight but identify themselves as gay. Does that make them any less of a man compared to the next guy? With today's society, a lot of people would think, yes. On Father's Day, I'm here to set a new norm and share the things that I think create not only a "great man", but a great human being.
Now I don't mean physical strength. Someone's manliness is not determined by how much they can lift. What makes a great man is someone who is strong, emotionally. The man who sits with his wife, husband, or loved one as they go through chemotherapy. The man who knows money is tight but always tries his hardest to make ends meet. The man who continues to fight through depression or a point in his life, even when things get rough. You see, you don't need to be physically strong to be a "real man." Their are many other forms of strength to show.
Be Open To Emotion
With strength comes emotion too. Not all people can remain emotionally strong their entire lives. Eventually, some people break down. Some people lose a family member, a pet, a loved one, and can't hold that in. Us men hear it all the time growing up, "Don't cry. Suck it up and be a man!" The worst thing about that statement is that we are told at a young age that showing emotion is an unattractive and unmanly characteristic to have. Being a man doesn't mean suppressing all emotion. What makes an attractive human being is someone who is comfortable with their emotions and someone who is open to showing them in times of trial. Life gets hard sometimes and it's ok to show that. This doesn't just apply to men, but to men and women both.
Emotionally and physically, just be there. If someone is relying on you for emotional strength in a time of need, be there for them. Nothing is better than a person who listens, shows up, and gives their all to a person no matter who that person may be. Don't be the person who listens to respond. Be the person who listens to understand. The person who listens to help. The person who is always there and the shows up when they say they will be.
Admitting when you were wrong in an argument, knowing you've made a mistake that needs to be corrected, taking responsibility instead of placing blame on others. Whether it be in a relationship or throughout your day-to-day life, take responsibility for your actions and hold yourself accountable. There are so many people who try to hold their ground in an argument for the sake of self pride. Set your pride aside if you're in the wrong and just learn from your mistakes. Know that taking responsibility for your actions will say a lot more about you as a person than anything else you could do.
Don't Treat Women Like Objects
Rape and sexual assault are some of the most insensitive and emotionally impacting actions that any person can be taken part in. Yes, it happens to both men and women but this message is targeted towards men specifically. Men didn't just wake up one day and start treating women this way. It starts from a young age and it needs to end in society, today. It is not "cool" to have sex with bunch of women and to treat them like objects. It is not "cool" to call them insensitive names to their face or behind their backs. It is never "cool" to engage in sexual actions with another person without any form of consent. No means no and women do not want to be groped or called names in public if you are not their significant other. This is something a "real man" would never do and it's something that needs to be taught to our children, today.
Respect All Human Beings
With the recent events in Orlando, this couldn't be stressed enough. No matter what you believe in and no matter who you are, set all of that aside for a second and just respect others. Life is all about encountering individuals who are different from our own. Some people may be straight, gay, bisexual, transgender. Some people may believe in Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or atheism. But whatever that person may be or whatever they may believe in, it does not matter. It should not cause you to spew hate onto other human beings who are in fact still human. The only person who controls your actions is you. Respecting all humans and animals is probably the most "humane" thing that you can do. Be a "great man" and start by respecting all life around you.