You know what I think is one of the biggest, most destructive lies that has ruined the modern man? Pornography, for sure could top this list, and indeed I detest the industry, and have written about its effects on man before. Today though, I’m thinking about ”macho-ism”, how men feel they have to be Macho, cool, tough, and “manly,” whatever that means. I think men are taught to give up so many facets of themselves in exchange for the empty lie that they must be macho. Facets like compassion, empathy, tenderness, sadness, and love often times hardly see the light of day past age 7. And what do we exchange them for? Individualism, coldness, indifference, detachment, shallowness, and phoniness. We exchange the emotions, thoughts, and feelings we were created with and hand them over to society in exchange for a mask.
It saddens me to encounter men who do not engage in all aspects of their personhood for the sake of being cool or tough. We don’t need men who are large, unfeeling goons. We need men who not only can step up, save the day, protect and defend, but also those who can serve, love, provide, listen, and care for others.
Here is a great article from a former tough guy, who bought into the image of the macho man, and later realized the pain that it caused him. After sinking to the low of hitting his son on the head one day, he eagerly sought out how to become more compassionate, and was shocked at how many different ways the perceived un-manly skill of compassion brought loads of happiness and peace into his life. It’s worth a read.
In case there are any tough guys out there reading this, I’ll end with a challenge in the words of one of the strongest, most courageous, effective, and compassionate men out there: “Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep!” (John Paul II). I think we would all be amazed by how full our lives could be, and how rich and deep our relationships can become, if we would let down our walls of inhibition, discarding our “masks of manliness” for an authentic life, lived to its greatest potential.
Happy Easter everyone!!