2. Do What You Want To Do
“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be” – Abraham Maslow
Mmmmm… one of my favorite quotes of all time from my homie Maslow! The only way to ultimately be at peace with yourself is to do the things that you know you want to (as long as they don’t harm anyone).
If there is a burning desire to accomplish, create, or be something in this world that lives within you, you must adhere to this inner voice.
What does this have to do with being your version of an authentic man? Everything.
I believe that it is our frustrated desires and our under-utilized potential that eats away at us from the inside.
If you have a book or an album inside of you that gets ignored… or you have a career path or potential romantic partner that you want to go after but you never do… it will eat away at you like acid eroding the undercarriage of a car.
Life is short and it’s the “what ifs” that eat away at you the most.
What if I had just gone to that concert despite what my friends’ opinions of that artist was? What if I had approached that woman who I told myself was out of my league? What if I had broken off from the corporate world and started my own thing?
Whatever burning desires live inside of you, pay them the attention they deserve. You must listen to them and act accordingly… otherwise, they will end up hurting you.
3. Let Go Of Needing To Justify Your Actions Or Preferences
You don’t need to justify your actions or your way of being in the world to anyone.
I do some pretty weird stuff with my life.
I run an internet-based business. I spend a few summer days per week at a nude beach. I often go to the BDSM/kink themed parties with my friends. I spend more money on vitamins and supplements than some people think is normal. And I have experienced resistance to all of these things on multiple occasions.
But you know what the great thing is? At the end of the day, I only have to answer to myself and my conscience. When I’m lying in bed at night and I’m navigating the whirring thoughts in my mind as I doze off to sleep, the only question I can ever ask myself is “Did I live today according to my values and beliefs? Was today a day of integrity for me?” And if the answer is a resounding “Yes!” then I feel like I have stayed on my path and used my day wisely.
So why do so many people justify their actions, preferences, or way of being in the world to others? Because they’re still tied to the external validation and need for approval from others.
The need to fit in is universal and hard-wired into us. External validation isn’t unhealthy either. The forces of social tension keep us safe in a lot of ways and keep social order in place. But where this tension oversteps its boundaries is when we start living our lives for other people and not primarily for ourselves.
In the process of individuation in human development (separating from our parents) we learn how to shift from being someone who is primarily concerned with pleasing our parental figures, to discovering who we are and how we want to view the world. Personal values are largely formed during this stage as we question everything around us in our lives.
So if you still feel the need to justify or explain yourself to others (even without prompting) then you might want to consider how much importance you place on other’s opinions of you.