The Importance of Establishing Genuine Character as a Man
We live in a world that is defined by character, and when it comes to the people who we feel deserve our respect and attention, we generally choose to give up our time and efforts on those that we feel have the most authentic character traits.
As social beings, we are acutely aware of who has a sound sense of who they are, and who is just trying too hard; with a tendency to attribute unfavorable traits with the latter. This is a possibly unfair approach to determining the worth of people since we live in a complex society with so many conflicting norms and beliefs, that embarking on the path to being an authentic person can be a truly harrowing affair.
That is why people feel safer working a nine to five, settling down and starting a family, staying in the cozy shores of their home-towns and keeping their opinions to themselves while bolstering their own egos.
The tried and tested, stamped down paths of life that most people opt for are generally a good way to go for life on a boat that can’t be rocked; however, living like this will keep your uniqueness in check and will do little to help you establish your own sense of authenticity: which is why the vast majority of men choose to opt for the safer, less challenging route.
However, establishing your own character as a man is important for a fulfilled and respected life, both in the eyes of your peers and yourself. So how can you establish your own character without putting your lifestyle at risk?
These simple traits of genuine men might give you a milestone to work towards:
- They don’t fear failure or vulnerability
Failure is an important part of life, no matter how unappealing it may seem. People who are generally regarded as authentic have a tendency to take life’s challenges head on, even when the risk of failure is looming over their activities.
You see failure is unavoidable in life, and more importantly, each one of our mistakes has a lesson to teach us, and authentic people often see the value in that; allowing them to see the worth of every endeavor, even those that seem unlikely to work out.
When it comes to criticism, authentic men are generally thick skinned, but are also able to concentrate on and embrace both negative and positive feedback in such a way as to improve themselves.
For this reason, they are not easily shaken by nastiness, bitterness, jealousy or fear of failure. This stems from a need to do something for their own benefit, as opposed to looking good or competent in the eyes of others.
- They are critical and form their own opinions
Authentic people tend not to take things at face value, or for granted. We live in societies that are closely governed by societal norms and traditions, and those who abide closest to these systems tend to move through life with relatively little turbulence. This doesn’t mean that these norms are suitable for everyone, and it is authentic people who tend to question the practicality of seemingly outdated social rules.
This isn’t to say that they will reject them outright, but will rather spend some time coming to terms with their own feelings and beliefs surrounding such norms, and will opt to stay true to their own beliefs on the matter regardless of social pressure.
This sort of criticism in the face of an overwhelming general consensus points to a remarkable type of bravery, one that isn’t seen often enough in this word.
- They can not only give compliments, but can take them as well
In today’s world of narcissists and fake people, receiving a compliment is often more uncomfortable than openly giving one. Most people squirm or brush compliments off when they are received in fear of being seen to let it go to their heads (a clear and common sign of a low self-esteem).
Those who display authenticity (which is commonly associated with a sound sense of self-worth) are good at humbly and appreciatively taking on a compliment without it inflating their ego, or undermining it. So, next time someone tells you how amazing you are, thank them and enjoy the compliment.
Of course, those authentic men who have a sound sense of worth are also able to give out genuine compliments when they are required, without the matter bruising their own egos. They understand that life is not a competition, and will give kudos wherever it is due in a genuine, non-shallow way.
- They are driven by their own thoughts
It is all too easy to follow the advice and wishes of others without giving too much thought about what would be best for you. Being a sheep does provide safety in numbers, but you need neither be a shepherd nor a wolf to cut your own path.
Authentic men see the value in following others, but will not settle for it when they know such a path would hold them back; nor will they insist that others join them in their way so that they can have company should the ship sink.
They stay true to their own goals and way of life, welcoming any risk or challenge that this may bring. Having said this, authentic men also take responsibility for the negative and positive side-effects of their actions; because they know that no one else will.
- They find balance in their self-esteem
If having a low self-esteem is not a sign of having a genuine character, then one should also be careful of avoiding the trap of regarding oneself too highly. There is such a thing as having too high a regard for oneself and we often see this trait in bosses, co-workers, friends and even spouses.
Living as though the sun shines out from your colon is never a nice quality in a person, but it is also one that is commonly mistaken for confidence.
What you are actually seeing when someone blows their own horn all too often, is an insecure need to bolster their own self-image; giving themselves an inflated sense of importance that is easily shaken by criticism.
Those men with an authentic character who have a sound and realistic opinion of themselves tend to stay humble while acknowledging their past achievements. This doesn’t mean that they rest on their laurels, since they know there is always room for improvement. But they also don’t go beating themselves up over every little mistake that they make.
- They are not aggressive or passive, but affirmative
According to many communications theorists, there are three types of people on this planet. There are those who bully their way into getting what they want by being aggressive; those who get satisfaction out of playing the victim; and those that are affirmative in what they want and feel.
The differences between being passive and aggressive are often easy to see, but the latter is often confused as a sign of characteristic strength; but experts would disagree.
Aggressive behavior is just another sign of insecurity and overcompensation for a lack of self-confidence, and more often than not leads to a lowered opinion of one’s character.
Being assertive, on the other hand, describes one’s ability to stand fast in the face of obstacles while trying to get what you want, without having to behave badly to get it. Affirmative people are fair but firm, reasonable but unyielding, and are able to criticize their own desires, actions and means of getting what they want without lowering their sense of self-worth.
- They show respect even when it isn’t due
A great way to tell what sort of person is, is to see how they treat those that are essentially beneath them. How do they talk to waiters, those who work below them, and even more importantly, those who bring strife into their lives?
If even the nicest and most characteristically strong people neglect to respect the people they deal with on a daily basis, it tends to send a message of insecurity, as well as being out of touch with reality to those around them.
So, next time the waiter messes up your order, you get blamed for something at work, get cheated on by your girlfriend or slapped and sworn at by your friend, be the bigger man and treat them with respect regardless. It is a strong sign that you will not be shaken, and will not resort to childish behavior when things are not going your way.
All of these characteristics are easy enough to develop and incorporate into your own personality, all you need is a little patience, some dedication and a lot of practice.
Living by these characteristics typically associated with men of high character will not only change the way others fell about and deal with you, but will also raise your own sense of self-worth; leading to a fuller, more respectable and enriching life.
Terrence Kennedy is the man’s man on a journey to self-discovery. A traveler, extreme sports aficionado, an observant wanderer, a DIY man, an ultimate outsider and documentarist of culture, sex, dating, relationship, fashion, style and gentleman’s etiquette. He has learned a lot through his escapades and continue to do so, and is happy to pass that knowledge to you.