The age of the authentic man is well and truly here. And as far as I can tell, for a long time.
The macho man is gone, the sensitive new age guy blew away with the wind. And what’s emerged from their ashes is a man who’s seemingly struck the balance between both. Still enormously capable of being sensitive. In fact, he may be the definition of sensitive; possessing the ability to sense himself and others deeply. To feel and understand. Likewise, he may be even more assertive than the macho man. But his assertion is done with consciousness, integrity and purpose, not out of sheer neediness to be perceived as tough or ‘manly’.
The intention of this article is not to bring forth another set of rules on “how to be a man.” The potential for dogma is high here (I’ve already spat some), so I’m going say this: there is no one way you must live. You are not here to live up to anyone else’s expectations. And this is a conversation that extends far deeper than the length I’m given to write here.
Having said that, here’s what I believe:
Every man has an essence at the core of his soul that is 100% unique to him. I believe he has a spirit that hasn’t been seen before. Like a fingerprint, no one before him and no one after him will have the exact same essence. This essence is the combination of his unique personality, his way of viewing the world, his genius (we’re all geniuses at something), his playfulness, his values, his desires, and his purpose.
Therefore, an authentic man would be one who is connected to these things in himself and expresses them into the world (if he so chooses).
It is a gift to the world when a man knows his truest self and shares it. However, I believe that many men have had this essence cloaked by layers of cultural conditioning and pressure, shame, fear, and guilt amongst other things.
From what I can see, the men who are most authentic are highly aware, highly loving, and accepting of themselves and other people. These are things the world desperately needs right now: awareness, love, and acceptance. The entire world is crying out for authenticity, transparency and honesty from the world’s powers: banks, big companies, governments. We really seem to be in an age where more so than ever, people want to find their “true selves.” They want truth. Revealed and expressed. From themselves and from others.
To me authenticity isn’t about adding layers or a check list of how to act, it’s about shedding them. Shedding the parts of you that aren’t truly congruent and expressing that which in you is true and congruent. Maybe that’s an outdated story of you and your life. Maybe that’s giving up drinking beer with the boys. Maybe that’s leaving a relationship. Maybe it’s leaving corporate. Maybe it’s entering corporate. Moving overseas. Sharing some pain with your partner. Taking dance classes.
What I love more than ever is seeing someone shed the skin of who they’re not. Something deeper shines through and carries them. They’re liberated from their former shell. I’ve seen magic happen when someone discovers their authentic self. Lives transformed. Destinies re-routed.
To discover who you most authentically are takes journeying. It takes pain, love, experiences, introspection, breakdowns and breakthroughs. There isn’t a right or a wrong way to do this and there’s no finish point. It’s not always easy but it’s usually powerful. It’s a beautiful journey and I wish for you to find your authentic self and glow with the flow and live in the liberation that accompanies it.
Kristian Stephan-Martin is an inner-power coach and works with people who wish to connect with and harness their own authentic power and freedom, so that they can quit hiding and show up.