What Makes A “Real” Man?

Piggybacking on the Year of the Pig theme brings up the question, “Have you ever been called a “pig” before?”

For some men like myself, I’ve had the piggy-pants label hurled my way, more often than not, when I young, acting foolish and didn’t know any better.

Though women are rarely called pigs.

Unless the naughty ladies are caught watching the movie Magic Mike, claiming Chippendales is art or grabbing their crotch while flipping you the bird!

Of course, a lot of what I’m writing is pig-tongue-in-pig-cheek.

It’s no joke that the bright light shining on “toxic masculinity” and male privilege is long overdue.

That light has been traveling a long time and its arrival is good news for all of us, especially for our boys and girls.

I was recently asked if I was a Feminine type because I know how to sew, cook and enjoy doing the shopping.

What I believe is missing from the conversation about “pigs” – which sadly often resembles a fire-fuelled monologue – is what really good, kind, evolved, loving men we are especially when we embrace what was considered in the past a woman’s job or duty.

We can truly thrive and be recognized in this brave new world where the old titles or labels no longer apply, where we embrace as men, the softer nurturing side of ourselves.

I strongly and passionately believe the majority of all people, men, and women, are beautiful inside and out.

We all want to love and be loved.

We all want to feel happy and be a source of happiness for others. 

These benevolent desires are as old as the hills. What’s just as ancient?

Our old way of thinking and our innate instinct to lash out when we’re scared. Act out when we’re ignored. Move out of peace so we can march into war.

Men are active and creative creatures. Over thousands of years, we’ve earned our reputation; the good, the bad and the ugly. 

After decades of fighting my own internal demons inside my head, out on the streets or inside the ring, to healing fighters (men and women) of their physical-and-emotional injuries, I have come to know one thing above all else.

A true fighter knows the opponent standing before him or her is not the enemy.

The true enemy lives inside the fighter’s heart and threatens to attack the mind.

You don’t need to be the Karate Kid to understand that we lose 100% of the time when we try to control people, places or things.

We desire control and permanence when we have none. We fight to block out feelings of pain, inadequacy, comparison, shame and sorrow.

If I were to paint a picture of how the status quo tends to raise boys and indoctrinates men in this culture, I would describe a big red button, right where his heart should be, that says PRESS WHEN SAD OR SCARED.

You know the rest.

What feels better than sad or scared?

Mad, especially when you’re male and rewarded for being the strong, silent type who never sheds a tear, but can always flex a bicep or flip the finger!

The first time my kids saw me cry I knew they were alarmed. I knew my tears made them uncomfortable and possibly feel less safe in the world.

I understood my boys were being forced to re-examine what “strong” looks like and so were my girls.

Life demands courage when we want to create a more vulnerable and tender world.

Real men combine the Yin and the Yang, the masculine and the feminine. And real men cry and have feelings.

Real men – and there are more than a “few good men” out there – thrive when we’re given the space to safely and positively express what’s in our hearts.

When men take “me time” to meditate, breathe mindfully when they’re stressed, go for a walk alone when they’re angry, stay sober when they’re sad, then all of us benefit.

We can love better, feel better and respond better when life kicks us in the groin.

Even better?

All those “pigs” won’t have the power to pull us into the mud anymore. We’ll be too busy and happy living from our hearts and smearing Joy all over people.

Keep your heart open, head clear and fists down.



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