What makes a man a man? The answer isn’t new or groundbreaking in application, but it is quite a bit different than what the collective consciousness of society might agree with. A man is and does many things, just a few: he is sure of himself and his decisions, he is able to accept criticism without losing confidence, he admits to mistakes and failures and uses them to improve, he possesses integrity, he is able to stand up for himself or others if someone else is doing wrong, he has the courage to do the right thing and not just the easy thing, he has the courage to be himself and be a true expression of his passions and beliefs, and he has a passion in life and a thirst for improvement.
- He is sure of himself and his decisions.
A man should be sure of himself and his decisions. He should have this confidence because his decisions and actions reflect deep personal values of right and wrong. His decisions are made based off of foundation of values that is built from his priorities in life. If his #1 priority is family, then his life choices should consistently reflect family as the motivating factor in his decision. When you know what drives you, you can take the wheel with confidence.
- He is able to accept criticism without losing confidence, and he admits his mistakes and uses them to get better.
Let’s face it, even the perfect man makes some mistakes. Maybe we act too hastily or make a decision that doesn’t really follow our values: these are the times that can really define what type of man we are. A child makes a mistake and then lies to avoid criticism or punishment, but a man has enough confidence to say “I was wrong, and I will use this mistake as an opportunity to expand my beliefs and become a better, stronger person.” A man doesn’t let a mistake define him, he uses it as an example to become a better man. When you can accept and acknowledge your shortcomings you can become even stronger.
- He has integrity.
Let’s say you have a high value on friendship and honesty, you have two friends who get into an argument and you end up between them. Friend number 1 starts telling you all the things he dislikes about friend number 2, a person of integrity would say, “friend 1 is still my friend and I don’t want to engage in any negative talk about him, I will not say anything about him that I wouldn’t say to his face.” Friend 2 may be upset that you are defending friend 1, but he should still be able to appreciate your ability to stick up for a friend in the face of pressure, it should assure friend 2 you would do the same for him in a different situation.
Integrity is just sticking to your values and beliefs. We may know what are values are, but if we don’t follow through and actually make decisions based off of our values then we end up being dishonest to ourselves and others. People of integrity don’t say one thing and do another; they take action that reflects their beliefs, even if someone doesn’t agree with you, they will respect your integrity and your ability to stand firm in your beliefs without attacking others.
- He has the courage to do the right thing, even when its not the easy thing to do.
This is just an extension of integrity. Sometimes social pressures or life circumstances will call you to do things that are not within the scope of your current values and beliefs. Men should always be willing to examine their stance and search for a middle ground when they are dealing with others, but when something is compromising his deep values or priorities, he should stand up for what he believes is right. Even if almost everyone is against you, you still have the courage to stand up for what you believe in, this is one of the most admirable qualities of a man. Would you rather be the one man that stood against the Nazi party or one of the blind followers that exterminated millions in the name of patriotism?
- He has a passion in life, and he has a passion for self improvement.
Every true man needs a passion, whether its family, success, career, helping others, or something completely different. It doesn’t matter what you are passionate about, but having passion for something, a deep yearning for something more will help you carry on even when times are tough. Even strong men falter sometimes and doubt themselves, but your passion can carry you forward when you can’t take steps on your own. This passion should carry over into your life and cause you to constantly look to be better in every aspect of your life. When you start looking to improve you become more open to beneficial input from others, you grow better at your passion, and you should automatically start to improve your weaknesses and hone your strengths.
- He is himself and follows his vision
Above all else being a man means being who you are with confidence, it means basing your choices off a solid foundation of core values and beliefs, it means constantly searching for ways to improve even if you have to make mistakes to grow. There have been many men who despite questionable practices, mistakes, and criticism will forever be remembered, if for nothing more, for their individuality: there unwavering commitment to who they are. If you take a look around at the behavior of most “men” in our society you will see that many men aren’t men at all; many have no direction in life, no integrity, no confidence in themselves, they hide from failure and mistakes, and slink away from criticism. So above all, what makes a man a man? A man forges his own path in life and never shies away from that path, no matter what the obstacle.