Self-love has become the new trendy must have in personal development and while many people are jumping on the self-love train in theory, in real life it can be a little more challenging to integrate. Add to it the complex conversation about masculinity and we’ve got a real pickle of a situation to unpack.
Just like anything in life, understanding self-love and masculinity theoretically doesn’t necessarily make much of a difference when it comes to living it.
To live it requires a deeper level of integration, and to integrate something we must understand on a mental and emotional level.
To begin, let’s start with a definition of self-love to give the while conversation context.
Self-love is the capacity to embrace the totality of who we are, the totality of our human experience from a place of internal freedom, awareness and compassionate understanding.
Developing self-love in this capacity is a lifelong pursuit. It’s not something we achieve once and then never have to look at it again.
It’s an ongoing process.
It’s an ongoing unfolding.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELF-LOVE AND RESHAPING MASCULINITY FOR GOOD
The practice of self-love teaches us how to embrace our wholeness as humans and for the current state of masculinity, this is such an important thing, given men are up against a lot of social pressure to fit a certain mode of masculinity.
Phrases like, “man up,” “be a man,” “real men _____,” contribute to an unconscious belief system linking masculinity and being a man to the limiting box of being tough, hard, focused on success, producing results, fixing problems and be an unwavering pillar pf strength to everyone. Any behavior outside this limiting paradigm is grounds for shaming, criticism and social rejection which is pretty problematic.
Not only do these social belief systems limit men, they also take away from the ever expanding, ever evolving nature of men and dims the brilliance they are capable of contributing to this world. To be a man is a limitless endeavor, filled with the endless possibility and the embodiment of diversity in all its glorious forms.
However, without a strong relationship to self-love, it’s common for men to get stuck in the box of “socially acceptable masculinity” while battling a conflicting internal truth of who they are and the expression of their unique experience of masculinity.
There isn’t one form or definition of masculinity that fits for every single man. Sure, there will be similarities between men, biological hardwiring and hormonal makeup creates a common baseline between men. However masculinity is so much more expansive than a biological predisposition.
If the current framework of masculinity works for you, there isn’t anything wrong with that, keep doing you boo. Chances are though, if you’re here and reading this there is a curiosity for something more. The integration of a deeper level of self-love can lead to a freer expansion and understanding of what it means to you to be a man, in a way that celebrates your unique expression.
When men face narratives telling them to toughen up in some way shape or form, it automatically throws them out of sync with a huge aspect of their humanity – the innate capacity to feel. Toughening up, is nearly exclusively designed to shame and shut down emotions.
Shame is a toxic beast. Nothing good comes from it. Yet currently masculinity ideals are primarily built on the foundation of outdated paradigms rooted in shame.
Self-love is the antidote to shame. It creates space to be human and accept the full range of what being human entails.
MEN ARE FEELERS TO0
I have yet to meet a man both professionally and personally who doesn’t feel deeply. Men are emotional, it’s part of our hardwiring as humans. Our capacity to feel allows us to build connections that complement our ability to achieve greatness.
Anyone in a unhealthy relationship will tell you the non-stop drama is a momentum killer when it comes to producing results in other areas of life, as well as a massive drain on the health and vitality of both people. Our ability to create healthy relationships with one another (romantic, family, work) is completely dependent on our ability to respect our own feelings and emotional nature.
If there is one high level, potent solution to re-creating an empowered masculine identity, it is the development of self-love, which includes giving yourself permission to feel fully and feel deeply.
For when men are able to embrace their feeling nature and give themselves the permission to feel fully, they become much more present to their capacity to relate to the world around them. This presence and emotional attunement, expands the ability to produce high level results in the most efficient and effective ways making it a winning option both internally and externally.
Creativity is unleashed when feelings are felt, honored and processed. When creativity thrives the infinite gifts of masculinity are activated and men’s unlimited capacity to show up powerfully is brilliantly amplified and the world becomes a much more enjoyable place to be.
Not only does this free flowing of creating energy make for a much more harmonious community, on a personal level the impact is profound.
If we’re walking around constantly rejecting ourselves for feeling, it makes it pretty hard to accept any other human on this planet who is having a feeling experience. If we habitually suppress our feeling nature, it has no choice but to come out in a pretty toxic way, which ultimately sabotages results, achievements, success, happiness, relationships and fulfillment.
Feeling deeply and fully doesn’t mean we emotionally bulldoze others with what’s going on for us, nor does it mean spewing untamed emotions all over everyone and everything. In other words it’s not dramatic or toxic if we have an empowered and accepting relationship to our feeling nature. To do this requires us to expand our emotional literacy. We have to expand our vocabulary when it comes to emotions in order to do something more responsible with them when they rise.
Most of us have limited verbiage to identify and categorize our emotions and needs. One of the most comprehensive resources for expanding this language of emotions and needs can be found in the book Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD The more comfortable we get at identifying the experiences we’re having emotionally, the more attuned we naturally become to the underlying needs we have. To know this information is key to having a self-loving relationship to our emotional being.
As the relationship to our own emotional essence improves our relationships to others also benefit.
As a woman, being in the presence of men who are in touch with their emotions and accept themselves as feeling beings automatically leaves me feeling safer in their presence. I know that as a fellow feeler, emotionally I’m safe because when a man has embraced and welcomed their emotional nature there is space for mine. I also know a man who is emotionally attuned to his own feeling nature has a higher likelihood of constructively relating to those emotions, which means there likely isn’t a toxic well of suppressed shadowy feelings ready to blow at any given moment, which leaves me feeling physically safe.
Men, if you want the women in your life to feel safe, secure and protected, make sure you are a safe place for them to come home to emotionally. To do this embracing your feeling nature is key, but in a way that honors your masculine spirit. Men process emotions differently and that’s ok. This is why high quality masculine mentorship is so valuable in generating healthier, happier human relationships. To be guided through the process by a man you respect, in a way that honors who you are as a man is key.
Instinctively we all know when someone hasn’t actually dealt with their past, their emotions or their pain, they are a very unsafe person to be around. When people don’t deal with their stuff (whether by choice, full denial and suppression, or because they lack access to resources to properly deal, heal and integrate) energetically those toxic experiences build up. Like a pressure cooker, anything can set them off which is the opposite of what is safe or conductive to a healthy world of human connection.
So, if we are committed to generating a world where men stand for each other, women stand for each other and men and women stand for one another, self-love is a non-negotiable.
By redefining the relationship to feelings and emotions men become an even more powerful force for goodness in the world.
And we all benefit from the brilliance.
4 powerhouse actions to amplify self-love and practically integrate into daily life:
1. Deal With Your Past
Get real honest about where you’re still carrying anger, resentment or pain from your past, and from there dive into a program or work with a professional to get those things truly complete. You know they are complete when you think back on them and are able to remain feeling open, neutral and powerful.
2. Expand your language around feelings and needs
We all have feelings and needs. If we reject this part of ourselves we’ll keep reaching the same crap results and our self-esteem, self-worth plummets. By expanding our language around feelings and their correlated needs we’re already on a brighter more aligned track. Check out Non-Violent Communication for a comprehensive list of feelings and basic human needs HERE
3. Change Your Environment
Love yourself enough to create an environment around yourself conducive to your positive expansion and ability to fully express who you are in the world. This means letting go of toxic relationships, situations or habits that keep you stuck. Start simple. Trade out an hour of mindless numbing out on social media and TV and do something of higher transformational value like reading, journaling, physical activity, time with friends, meditation, listening to music that gets you pumped.
4. Challenge What You’ve Been Taught
Self-Love gives us the courage, self-esteem and self-worth to challenge the world around us. To challenge what we’ve been taught. To challenge what we believe. To challenge the legitimacy of the paradigms we attach ourselves to. Test things out for yourself. Don’t accept someone’s truth as your own, unless it legitimately makes sense to you on a mental, emotional and spiritual level. This human thing is for you is discover. Many people will offer you perspectives, ideas and beliefs, you have the freedom to challenge them, to try them on and to let go of any that don’t align for you. Belief systems are meant to be challenged, this is how we evolve, this is how we grow. Chose a definition of masculinity that truly makes sense to you, honors you and honors those around you. Start uprooting any belief systems designed to limit you and your potential, and exchange them for a beliefs designed to have you win in life. And the author of these new belief systems is you. You are that powerful.
Men, we love you. Thank you for your honor. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for your dedicated desire to make this world a safe, brilliant place to be. We respect you, we adore you and we deeply acknowledge you for stepping onto this path and leading future generations of men to this integrated place of self-worth, self-acceptance and healthy self-love.
As Love and Relationship Educator rooted in Radical Self Love Methodology. Kelsey Grant writes, speaks and teaches men and women the art of accessing greater alignment with love. Her love and relationship education provides live events, online self-study programs, online group classes and retreats, all designed to teach the art of uncrossing the wires of understanding between men and women, so legendary love, healthy relationships and sustainable partnership become possible again in this disconnected digital age.