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Real man doesn't seek that title

3:27 PM, Jun. 13, 2013  |  Comments
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When you hear the words "real man," who comes to mind? A "real man" who you know, or someone who tries to convince people that he is? Does the term have a positive or negative connotation for you? Perhaps it brings a smile, a laugh, a shudder or a knot in your stomach.

Ironically, a true man is very unlikely to ever use the term "real man" to describe himself, except possibly in humor. The phrase "real man" is most often used by wannabes and posers, as in "What you need is a real man" or "That takes a real man" or the infamous "How'd you like to be with a real man?"

The true man, however, has nothing to prove. He doesn't have to assert that's he's "real." He doesn't spend time comparing himself to others or talking up who he is, how he looks, what he can do or what he has. He doesn't have to tell anyone he's the best, the coolest (or hottest), the smartest or the toughest. That's because the true man is not all about himself.

The true man doesn't have to show anyone "who's boss" or "put the fear" into anyone. He doesn't attempt to bring himself up by putting others down. He does not act entitled to be served by others. He is not the egotistical braggart, nor is he always calling attention to how much he is doing or how hard it is. He may enjoy competition, but he keeps it in context, so he doesn't have to "win at all costs," constantly best everyone at everything or have the last word in every situation.

The true man does not need anyone else to "make him feel like a real man." He knows that his manhood doesn't come from the outside, it comes from the inside, so he doesn't need to use other people to feel good about himself.

The true man is true to himself and to others. He doesn't put up a fašade or pretense that he is larger than life. He doesn't exude false charm or cast himself as a hero. He is honest about his accomplishments and capabilities. He is honest in his relationships. He doesn't regard the people close to him (wife/partner/children) as possessions or extensions of himself who must be slaves to his ego or dirt under his feet, nor does he act like a good guy in public while being the opposite in his own home.

A true man is not a tough guy. He's not cold and hardened or on the defensive. He doesn't need to use degrading language, fear, deceit, manipulation, abuse or violence. There's no chip on his shoulder. The real man is strong because he lives with courage. The word courage comes from "cor," the Latin word for heart. The true man's strength is rooted in his heart and motivations toward others. His belief system is not self-serving, and he uses his knowledge, strengths and skills for the greater good.

The true man is mature and secure, he values and appreciates people and wastes no time on jealousy. The true man doesn't use power to force his way, subjugate or punish. He's not a "my way or the highway" kind of guy. Rather, he has a realistic confidence in himself, and in his abilities. He recognizes the value of cooperation, whether he is leading or following. He is quick to encourage and slow to judge. He has learned and grown from the experiences of his life. He owns his shortcomings. He can ask for help when needed. He is not afraid to listen with an open mind, to express emotion, to have compassion, to give grace, to protect the vulnerable and to live with integrity. He is a person who can be trusted. The true man has no need to demand respect because his character evokes it.

Many survivors of abuse and assault have encountered the fake "real men" of this world. Survivors describe the beguile of false charm, the manipulation of false words, the pathology of false beliefs and motives, the cowardice of false power and the very unreal life they come to experience while trying to make sense of the harms perpetrated on them by supposed "real men."

On Father's Day, just past, we recognized with gratitude all the grandpas, dads, husbands, partners, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews and friends who live as true men, and who share these values within their families and extend them into the community.

If you would like more information, or if you or someone you know needs help concerning issues of personal abuse or violence, call HAVEN 24 hours a day at 715-536-1300.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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1016 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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