As a generation of men, we need to reclaim the means by which we validate ourselves. We need to stop acting out, showing off, and begging each other, and women, for validation. We need to start assessing ourselves by our own standards.
This is hard though. It involves being honest with ourselves. It involves being brave, and not using the validation of others as a surrogate for the self-validation that comes from knowing you have become the person you know yourself to be. You can’t fuck around. You have to be straight with yourself.
But it is much more fun than trying to win the love of others, or win the validation of them. It is about looking at whatever it is that appeals to your masculinity, whatever it is that gets your heart going, your blood flowing, and pursuing that without apology or a second thought for the opinions of others.
A few conversations I have had over the last week or so have really made me think along these lines. There is nothing more unattractive in a man, than when he is acting up for the attentions of a woman. There is no sexual power or grace in this. What is attractive, and it is attractive to us as much as it is to women, is a person who is self-validating. Who has their own values and lives by them and really doesn’t give two shits what anyone else thinks.
Now all of this sounds very good, I know. But actually living as this person is the biggest challenge you’ll ever face. To live truly according to your own values, without the validation of others, and with the risk of losing the love of others, is the very definition of courage.
If we are going to start using the language of archetypes in this blog, I will use the archetype of The Poet, or The Artist. The Artist is that person in all of us, who is willing to risk the anger and rejection of the tribe for what he knows is right. He is the one individual who challenges the comfortable norms of the group, and forges new visions by which the tribe can live.
The Poet is vital to the survival of the tribe. But it means being unpopular. It means being infamous. It means being hated and pilloried, for expressing what is in reality the greatest act of love and compassion.
The Poet is a crucial aspect of any man. It is a fundamental aspect of anyone’s masculinity, regardless of whether they are actually a poet or not. And it is this aspect that is the most attractive and beautiful in a man. Because it takes a strength of character to stand up for your own values, even when all those around you are rejecting you for doing so. The Poet is that aspect of humanity which is dangerous. It is unscientific. There is no proof that the intuitions of the poet are correct. There is no guarantee, only risk. But The Poet does it anyway.
But my original point is this: we need to stop looking outside ourselves for validation as men. We need to get to that place of knowing within ourselves, and the only way we can do this is by being completely fucking honest with ourselves. It is easier to hide behind a relationship. It is easier to hide behind the encouragement of our mothers. It is easier to fake emotional balance, than to actually confront our fears. It is easier to adopt a mask of masculinity, than it is to grow into one’s manhood.