20/06/2017 by Kevin Campbell 0 Comments
Transitioning into the Mature Masculine
In the last blog we looked at the two most common personas of the masculine. The Macho and Nice guy. These two are not the Mature Masculine, rather are its immature relatives. For many men the stage of adolescents becomes the end point of Masculine identity. This teenage mindset defines men’s actions, goals, relationships and quality of life. It is for many the go to in understanding how men work, how they think and feel, and who they are. It has become socially acceptable and encouraged. But who wants to live at a stunted stage of maturity, with so much unfulfilled and so little explored.
This teenage mindset tends to lead to the Macho Guy persona. This is where the man is the bully, stumbling to understand emotions, looking at relationships only through sex, seeking approval everywhere, viewing strength only through the physical and trying to dominate others through fear of them being better than him. The Nice Guy is the rejection of the Macho in all of its forms, in favour of a softer more “kind” approach to Masculinity. While the Macho Guy can clearly be seen as an immature version of Masculinity, the fact that the Nice Guy is based on a rejection of the Macho through shame it also is an immature version. In a man’s search for his Masculinity these have their place, but once explored they do not provide further growth, fulfillment and satisfaction in life. If these are serving you thats great, but if they’re not then its time to examine what isn’t working. One of the hardest parts of transitioning out of the adolescent mindset are the expectations that we place on ourselves and the identity that we create around them. Men are purpose driven. Without purpose men feel lost. It is extremely important for a man to feel a sense of purpose to his emotional and mental wellbeing. Growing up, young boys define a man’s purpose by what they see around them, through their fathers, male teachers, movies, and TV shows. What then are the messages that they receive? Well I am sure you can answer that, because you have also been brought up in the same culture and same expectations. You know deep inside what those messages are. The question now is “Are those messages defining a healthy me?”. Are you happy with the definition of masculinity that you carry? Just because the messages are mainstream doesn’t mean that it is right, doesn’t mean that it is the only way.
It is the buying in of the messages around us that creates the hardest part of transitioning into the Mature Masculine. The value we place on the identity that is created from the messages holds us to it. It keeps us safe and provides us with meaning. It also defines our power. Masculinity is connected to power and action, and so a man roots his power in the way that he defines his masculinity. It is then ironic that by having outside expectations define the way his power is used, he is actually losing his power. When we let others determine how we define ourselves we are creating a power dynamic that puts the power into the hands of others and not the man who is identifying with it. The identity that a man wants for himself must come from inside him and not be defined by outside expectations of what it is to be a man. For me this is the heart of Mature Masculinity. The ability for a man to step into his own power, own it and use it to shape his life the way he wants to, without guilt, shame, fear, or doubt.
This final piece comes with responsibility. There is no way around it. The responsibility to act from a man’s inner convictions and values, reflecting who he really is. The choice of continuing on the path of the Immature Masculine, or growing and thriving through the Mature Masculine.