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One of the most interesting things in this world is when we come to a place of peace and understanding. There is a saying “Just because we are the same does not mean we are equals”. On the surface, it would seem like a simple concept – but trust that it runs much deeper than that.

It is easy to look at the male species in general and lump all of us into one group. Sure there are anatomical similarities and physical characteristics that we all share that separate us from females, but all in all those things barely define us as men. While some may not what to admit, we each possess a potential for depth. Some of us realize that potential sooner than later. Some of us get it later in life. Of course, there are some who never realize their potential to become the men they are meant to be.

Choice, Chance or Circumstance – these are the three C’s that will often determine our life’s path. Ideally, we’d all be born with the same numerous opportunities for success in every facet our lives. But that is not the reality we are faced with the moment we come to be on this earth. We each come to a point – a crossroads if you will – at certain points in our lives that will define us in our pursuit to be the type of people that we want to be. The question is what is it that separates the men from the boys (or in the case the males). Why did the lines of men and males become so skewed?

There are several truths about men and males that must be embraced in order to truly understand where the miseducation lies. This is by no means to take shots at anyone but the heart of any matter must always begin with honesty and in order to improve, we must face things that force self-reflection.

Truth #1: Simply being or saying you are your own “man” doesn’t make you a man

There comes a point in every man’s life that he should be able to look himself in the mirror and ask himself one question: Am I being or working on being the best me I can be? The idea of growth is rooted in the central principle that we can always be better at everything we are involved with. You can be a good husband – but can you be a better husband? You can be a good friend – but can you be a better friend? Using the cop-out “I’m my own man” is no excuse not to evolve. Standing on your principles is great provided that they aren’t counterproductive to your individual growth and those around you. Men who seek continuous evolution come to grips with this at some point. Males are comfortable in the idea that they are good where they are.

Truth #2: Men shed the idea that they must mimic the men they admire; males are ok mimicking

Early in manhood, you, unbeknownst to you, will mimic the behavior and personality traits of the guys you grew up admiring. Think long and hard on this one. We all have that one. In the interest of “trying to be a man”, we make it point to do what we know which is often a result of our environmental exposure and in that, finding something or someone that we like and can use as an example. This is not to say that something or someone doesn’t possess admirable qualities. In some cases, they often do and those things shouldn’t be understated. This more or less is based in the principle that best thing you can learn from a man is to find your own path. Doing it exactly like someone you admire could stunt your growth as a man. As you age and mature, ideally you start to realize and come to grips with finding your own path. Men aren’t afraid to step out the comfort zone of mimicking. Males will ride the mimicking train until the wheels fall off.

Truth #3 – Men aren’t afraid for anyone to see who they really are; Males go out of their way to conceal it

This is a big one. There are a lot of males out here masquerading as men. Harsh but true. Men who desire to be the best men they can be will strive to push themselves to the brink of perfection and in the moments they make mistakes, they aren’t afraid for anyone to know for one simple reason: they embrace that mistakes are a part of the process of becoming the men they are supposed to be. The key word here is transparency.  A man will use his mistakes and the transparency of those mistakes to lift himself higher. He’ll own his role in those mistakes and use them to better himself and hopefully those around him. He does this because he believes firmly in taking ownership. Males on the other hand will conceal their errors, act like they never happened or worse, always shift blame elsewhere because it is easier than confronting their issues.

Truth #4 – Men aren’t afraid to commit – they welcome the opportunity

Commitment is defined as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc; an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action. Our abilities as men are often tied to our thought processes on commitment. Commitment gives us purpose and a sense of direction. It is the carrot in front us that keeps us moving toward achieving something that is often greater than ourselves. This is not to say that we should commit to everything that comes our way – we shouldn’t and men understand that they can’t do everything. This is to say there is nothing wrong with commitment and in spite of the definition, there is a freedom in commitment. It is the freedom of knowing that once you make a conscious choice to give yourself to something wholeheartedly, the journey will be worth the destination even if it is not what you expected. Males won’t see it this way. They view commitment as a set of shackles. They see commitment as the end and not as a beginning. Commitment to them is a punchline and laughable at best.

Truth #5 – Men are in touch with themselves emotionally

There was a time that it was frowned upon for guys to show any sign of emotion. Getting choked up was not allowed. Crying in public was a no-no. One would venture to think that are no records of the cavemen wiping away tears.  Emotions simply remind us that we are human and therefore prone to have unexpected moments where our feelings overtake our façade. Big. Tough. Strong. Unflappable. These things make you no manlier than standing in a garage makes you a car. The strength of a man knows within that is more than okay for you to be emotional from time to time. Imagine for a moment if you went through life with no capacity to feel. What type of existence is that? Even the Grinch eventually realized that it was okay to have a heart. Men understand at times your emotions will knock you on your tail but it’s the process of getting to the place where you can be better for and from them.

Truth #6: A man understands that a weakness does not make him weak

The idea of having an exposed weakness scares males. There is nothing worse to them than for someone to know that they have an internal or external weakness and it be used “against” them. Men on the other hand don’t see it that way. They realize that we all have at least one weakness and understand they are not in any way defined by it. They understand that weakness must be worked on and it is ultimately the work that builds strength. Additionally, there is in an internal strength when someone takes the time to be self-reflective to identify their individual weaknesses.

Obviously, there are more but there is no sense in trying to identify all of the differences between a male and a man. The intent here is not to male-bash or man-glorify. It is simply to point out some distinct qualities that delineate the two variances of the species.

The most important that can be said is that each person has to be completely forthcoming with himself about where they are in their lives. Every day you wake up is a chance to create a new beginning for yourself – regardless of your circumstance. All it takes is the choice to take a chance on you. The male today can start on the path of becoming a man tomorrow but it is totally up to him and his ultimate desire for his life and the legacy he wants to leave. But he must be willing and committed to doing the work. He must be open to the idea that his purpose and presence supersede any of his own selfish desires and intentions. He must want to constantly evolve. He must accept that he cannot change his world until he changes himself.

The miseducation of men versus males will not be fixed overnight. It is not a societal problem first. It is an individual issue that must be addressed individually if there is to be some real and lasting change.


Food for thought….

A man's deepest fear shouldn't be that he's inadequate; it should be that he is not pushing himself to be what he is meant to be - Max