The Next Stage For Masculinity
A topic I’ve thought about a lot over the past few years is this: What is the ideal way to show up in this world as a man? How to be around women? In your relationship? In business? Around other men?
Should you be empathetic or put your foot down? How do you integrate emotions and your feminine side? What is most authentic? What garners the most respect?
… As a man perhaps you’ve wondered about the same thing.
Today's Modern Man
I was sitting in my friend’s car a few months ago talking about his relationship with his girlfriend. We talked about how to deal with your girlfriend’s complaints. Her tests. Passive aggression. He concluded that the strongest way to be a man in a relationship is to put your foot down when she throws drama and tests your way. To be strong enough to put her in her place.
Like you, I’ve been watching the whole Trump drama unfold around us and have seen 2 groups of men emerge:
1) The traditional man (pro Trump). This is a return to the “Dirty Harry” Clint Eastwood “real man” motherfucker like grandpa was. He has spine, takes control of his life, does what he’s gotta do.
2) The compassionate man (liberal). A champion of women’s rights and minorities rights and equality. In touch with empathy. Compassion. Equality.
The Trump side calls these liberal men “cucks,” while championing a return to the good old days of “real men.” The liberal side views the trump guys as racists and bigots who are regressing. We seem to be standing at a critical cusp of masculinity, unsure which direction to collectively head next.
But in neither case have we got it right. A better way is to see the evolution of the masculine, and step into the next stage.
The Next Stage for the Masculine
Just as the universe is constantly expanding, we seem to be evolving and expanding along with it:
- We had the macho no nonsense masculine men who fought in wars and fixed their own cars.
- We evolved into the men of the 70s who sang in nature and got in touch with their feminine side.
- In recent years we’ve rolled forward into men of compassion, empathy and equal rights.
There’s a clear forward motion here, where the masculine is evolving and expanding. But what’s next?
In my opinion, the next step is not to go backwards to some glorified past stage of masculinity, but rather to step forward into something new that is a truer and more evolved expression of masculinity:
Balanced, rooted and unflappable.
I got this idea from Ken Wilber, who said the measure of a man is his degree of unflappability.
Rather than try and control your woman and “put her in her place” (i.e. repress all her unwanted behavior that annoys the hell out of you you), you work on yourself to the point that you become unflappable. Where she is free to do or say or throw whatever shit storm your way she wants, and you stand unaffected by it all.
This is the kind of man who has fully explored and developed both his masculine and feminine sides - both spine and heart. Who now stands rooted and unflappable in whatever degree of masculinity is his natural essence. He embodies all the stages (and lessons) that came before.
Afterall What’s Stronger: Controlling or Uncontrollable?
Which do you think is stronger and more trustable: a man who controls, or a man who can’t be controlled? A man who kicks back when triggered, or a man who you are unable to trigger no matter what you throw at him?
Which man would a good woman rather choose for her lifelong partner? Which man would you rather go to war with?
A quote from David Deida comes to mind:
Life can throw whatever it wants at this guy and he stands full, with access to his full emotional spectrum. Rather than AVOIDING “triggers” he INVITES them, knowing that it’s his shit to work on, and has nothing to do with the outside world.
… And then simply does the right action that the situation calls for.
My Own Masculine Evolution
I distinctly remember when I turned 20, I entered a stage where I turned my heart off and my spine on. I started standing up for myself. I was bold and ruthless. I tore through life with zero empathy and zero regard for whatever feelings I destroyed in my path. But although I was brash and bold, emotionally I felt dead inside. The women who loved me I wasn’t able to love back.
Then a few years later a big breakup triggered a crack in my emotional walls, and it all came rushing in.
It was like someone ripped my skin off and I stood completely naked and sensitive to the world, flooded with an avalanche of all the feelings I’d held back for all those years. Intense feelings of sadness. Insecurity. Shame. Kindness. Anger. Empathy. It hit me like a train.
I cried during emotional movies. I felt sensitive. I connected women around me and what they were going through. I had no interest in rough, masculine activities. I remember wondering at the time if I was fucked, and this stage would last forever… if I’d ever get my masculinity back.
However, over time the pendulum eventually did swing back into balance. The feminine faded a bit, and the masculine came back. After having fully exploring both sides, I finally found myself rested in a place of balance - yet with full access to both hemispheres.
This is where “unflappability” opened up as the natural next step.
Decision Making From This Place
People today are craving a quality of masculinity that isn’t easily pushed off center. This is why people cringe when Trump emotionally reacts on Twitter. It's why people laugh at liberal men who get lost in their emotional "triggers.”
When rooted firmly in the masculine, integrity is a natural byproduct. Balance is restored. Decisions come from a stronger, more trustable place.
Now I don’t write this to display some kind of moral high ground or superiority, but rather is the direction I personally feel most inspired by.
... and seems to be an honest assessment of the next stage for where the collective masculine is headed.