As men, we inherently have aspirations, desires, goals, and aims, and so, we tend to easily and regularly be hard on ourselves; giving ourselves shit for taking too long to get an idea (or our careers, or families) started, not earning enough, not having enough confidence, not being healthy or strong enough, being a beta male, p-whipped whiner — whatever it may be. It’s OK! This is natural, and par for the course, and very, very common, even among the most successful, rich and wealthy.
Those who are genuine, of real character and purpose, are always demanding more of themselves; to be less reactive, and more calm and assured; to be of better service, to their partner, their family, their community, or society; to be able to provide for and protect those they love; to be more generous with their time, energy, and money; to challenge conformity, and trust their intuition; to pursue their mission in earnest, and to leave a legacy.
While there is always “room for improvement,” that notion operates both in the areas of learning, training, and self-expansion, as well as unlearning, addressing and healing of personal and family (adopted, inherited, borrowed) traumas, and reconnecting to the deeper aspects of our spiritual nature. We are always unconsciously, subconsciously devising and defining our capacity for growth and integration, while sloughing off the excess and waste of things and ideas and beliefs that no longer serve us.
So, never think you’re alone, or weak, or unfixable, and unique in your self-hatred, self-judgment, or wanting to be better, stronger, clearer, dominant, more secure in your identity, or more materially successful than you are now. Everyone around you is operating within the same earthly milieu, and has the same challenges, regardless of the physicality, or personality traits they were born with, those they have developed, or those they try to hide from and deny.
“That normality does not equal mental health can be seen in the high rates of anxiety disorders, depression and suicides and by the widespread abuse of drugs and alcohol. What is more, the mob mentality and group think which has been raging on social media for a decade and which is now playing out in the streets is a further sign of the collective insecurity of our age.”
The critical issue, in my view, is how the energy is utilized, and whether we are poking, prodding, urging, and pushing ourselves to improve — to apply the lessons, the learning, the training, and the studies — or to perpetuate a victim mentality. In this modern era, I think the latter is far more often the case, much to the detriment of men and their necessary transition from children, to adolescents, into functional, empowered self-reliance, self-knowledge, and manhood. Instant overwhelm is around every corner, and enablers (handouts, apologists, socialists, communists) are becoming far too commonplace and are eroding the fundaments of a resilient culture, society, and greater civilization.
There are many reasons, primary of which is social programming, and social engineering. These are insidious and malevolent elements that are ever-present, confusing, disempowering, and psychologically and emotionally castrating. As a society, we do not challenge these disruptive, forced, unnatural, and often irrational narratives nearly enough. The onslaught of anti-manliness, anti-fatherhood, hyper-sensitive messaging, several generations of arguably weaponized feminism, the celebrated and rewarded anti-heroes, the infantilized, manipulative, narcissistic, and anti-masculine men in all forms of popular, and heavily consumed media… layers upon layers of psychological manipulation both subtle and overt, undermine anyone’s potential for true self inquiry and self love.
And as a disclaimer, please don’t misunderstand me, because women and womanhood have been under attack, as badly, and regularly, if not far worse, than men and manhood. Neither sex has been free from the constant barrage of psychosocial, political, and ideological assault. Both sexes live within a cloud of fragmentation, segregation, polarization, frustration, and the unfortunate proliferation of superficiality and affectation.
Here’s a little truism to consider: you can’t get behind in life, but neither can you get ahead. There is never the perfect circumstance when everything is just right, when it’s ideal to begin, when the outcome can be assured. It is an ever-evolving journey of forward and back, up and down, adaptation and adjustments. You can only ever be fully here, now. That’s all we get, and it’s gone in a second. Everything else is a tool, an informative element of that which came before (and our tricky memories therein), and that which we aspire, desire, dream, hope, and wish to be for us in the future.
“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. . .they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.”
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited
Ultimately, we are our own firestarter, and when the fuel runs low, we have to find the means to rekindle, reinvigorate, and replenish. Outer influences will forever attempt to make inroads to our better knowing, to subsume, disrupt, divert, and displace that which is real and true, with that which is unmistakably specious and false. Our beliefs and emotions will be frequently weaponized against us, should we succumb to the ubiquity of messaging and manipulation that exists all around us.
Let these intrusive plot points and fictionalized narratives serve us as a reminder to step back, consider, contemplate, and stand up for what may not always be easy, or popular, to defend and uphold. But what is true, what is natural, what is real, will always, and inevitably, emerge.