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.
If you need someone to incessantly tell you you’re doing a good job or doing the right thing, maybe you need to tell yourself that more often.
What It Means To Be A Real Man
Individual cultures tell us that there is only one way to be a man. And living in the male box can feel pretty limiting sometimes… if you let it get to you.
But you can also choose to just say “Fuck it. I am what I am. And that has nothing to do with my gender or orientation.”
So what if, as a guy, you need to feel an emotional connection before you can sleep with someone?
So what if, as a guy, you sometimes don’t feel like having sex with your partner?
So what if, as a guy, you get emotional while watching American Idol contestants get closer to their dream by making it through another round?
None of these things makes you any less of a man.
Don’t live life in someone else’s reality. Choose your own path.
And by being you and inhabiting your version of what it means to be a man, you will give others around you permission to do the same. You will be a beacon of hope for others who need a role model who owns their stuff.
Dedicated to your success,
Written by Jordan Gray Originally appeared in Jordan Gray Consulting