A big thank you to our partner EVRYMAN for this insightful writeup. Nobody's ever perfect, but here's to trying.
The areas in which we should focus our self improvement are of course relative to our individuality and the situations we habitually face. Yet as men, there are common factors that affect our general happiness; confidence, self-acceptance and communication. Make efforts to improve just one of these areas and you’ll be well on your way to being a better man.
1. Get raw with your emotions
Men have been conditioned to hide their emotions for decades. And while the space to be sensitive and open is slowly growing, there’s still a lot of work to do. The idea that sharing your feelings shows weakness is archaic. In fact, bottling up negative (or positive) emotions means we end up feeling much worse – a result that can have damaging consequences for our mental health and relationships. A better man is able to share their emotions without letting them get the better of them. This comes in the form of being connected to the physiology behind your emotions, asking for help and letting go of limited beliefs. So next time you feel angry, upset or worried – slow down to feel the physiological experience of what you are feeling emotionally. Allowing yourself to feel the emotions in your body helps in telling your body you are safe and allows you to release some of the charge. Additionally, seek support from those who can accept your vulnerability and courage. Find out more about the power of embracing male vulnerability.
2. Be yourself and love yourself
Learning to accept yourself is a vulnerable ongoing journey. While we can make efforts to improve our faults, it’s even more important to accept what is behind them. When we allow ourselves to feel the uncomfortable sensations behind our reactions, only then can we open up to better relationships with loved ones. Practice self love by taking care of your emotional and physical needs in the form of exercise, nutrition and connecting to others. Avoid being misled by the outer world’s expectations of the ‘perfect man’ and instead learn to accept how you learned to survive. Remember, confidence is attractive! Those who are comfortable in their own skin are often the most approachable, most looked up to, and happiest in life.
3. Improve your communication skills
Communication is key to any relationship, whether it’s romantic, with family or in business. Being able to express yourself clearly but more importantly, listen to others with more than your head, is a vital skill in life. It allows us to build deeper connections and reduce misunderstandings that would otherwise escalate. Feeling your body’s and emotion’s response as someone speaks has them feel safer which will relax them. There are various ways to improve your communication. But the most important thing to work on is your ability to accept others’ emotional experiences as theirs. Learn to read body language rather than taking what’s said at face value by first reading and listening to yours. And always listen with intent, asking questions that come from less from your head and more from your curiosity. Remember when you were a kid, and you were excited to learn because everything was new. Allow the innocence of a child to lead you.
4. Be accountable and take responsibility
Being accountable for our actions, words and behavior is part of being a man. Men accept obligations and duties either as a parent or in the workplace to as means of self-development. This doesn’t mean failures don’t happen – mistakes and failure occur no matter how much we attempt to avoid them. Framing them as learning opportunities is much more empowering than being victims to them.
5. Surround yourself with supportive people
The people we engage with are a reflection of ourselves. Think carefully about your friendship group. Do they bring you up? Create a space to be open about emotions? Are you able to be your true self? Negative or toxic relationships (whether they be with lovers, friends or elsewhere) can be detrimental to our own mental health and happiness. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should immediately cut off any negative people. Are they attempting to change or are they saying they will? There is nothing that will burn you out more than trying to help someone who is not wanting to do his or her part. Dedicate time to growing a support circle of positive individuals who inspire you to be a better man. Those who embody the qualities that you want, such as – success and generosity.
At heybaby, we know that a little effort can go a long way. And are always here support members who strive to be the best version of themselves. Thank you for reading this great post from EVRYMAN and please write firstname.lastname@example.org if you have ever have feedback or thoughts you'd like to share with us.