This post is not just for men!
In fact I would say that both men and women should read it as the perspective might give worthy pause for consideration.
All men grow up with a chip on their shoulder, put there by their father’s and their father’s father, and put there by society at large.
You don’t feel, you do.
You’re job is to work and to provide, not to connect with your feelings, or to be vulnerable.
Suck it up son, you’re not injured!
Get up, get up!
Don’t cry, why are you crying?!
What are you going to do for a living, how are you going to provide for your family?
Stop being lazy and get after it!
We watched our dad’s work their tails off, and they watched their dad’s work their tales off, and we never saw them show their soft underbelly.
The real soft underbelly.
Ya, they might have laughed and joked, roared with laughter over a good story.
They might even have been the life of the party, back-slapping, high fiving, and making everyone in the room smile.
But you never really saw them wounded or sad.
You saw them angry and frustrated, maybe for some even more than the expression of the mood, the outward punishment from those moods.
Maybe you or someone in your family suffered the wrath.
Be a manly man, no time for a pussy in this world!
As men we live our lives with an understanding that to embrace our emotional center is somehow a weakness, never to be seen by anyone, not even those we love. For if we do, we risk being taken advantage of, our value lessened, our ability to succeed somehow tarnished.
So when we become fathers, we struggle with the opportunity to emotionally connect with our child.
We love them, of course we do. But showing it is not a naturally understood reality.
Having little girls perhaps softens us up, forces us to connect with a side we’ve never understood, which in some ways can be even more confusing.
Having little boys, well here we go, a chance to perpetuate the story. The story of manliness!
Grow up, get a job, make a living, take care of your people, they are your responsibility.
The truth is, you can still be a man, and be a great dad.
How you say?
Here are ten things you need to do every day that will help you be the best man and the best father possible.
1 — Understand that unless YOU are good to you, you can’t be good for anyone else.
Being a martyr, sucking it up, dealing with your pain only ends up making you sick. Sickness manifests in many ways.
We carry more weight
We sleep poorly
We eat poorly
We get tired easily
We are exhausted each day
We can’t get out of bed
We become less active
We feel like shit!
We kick our dog!
Then real disease starts to appear, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, all sorts of lovely stuff.
If you are sick, you can’t be your best for others, you might try, you might get the job done, but it will be nothing like what you can really bring to the table day in and day out.
Treat yourself with care and consideration first and foremost. It’s the number one rule!
2 — Let your partner know what scares you.
When you let your partner know you are human, they begin to see you as human, not indestructible. In turn, they will begin to consider how their behaviour or energy supports you.
If they don’t know, they won’t likely read your mind.
If they know, they can help you move through your fear they can help you get to the other side. No matter what you believe, they won’t see it as weakness, they’ll see it as vulnerability, and they’ll cherish it.
If they don’t, well they shouldn’t be your partner in the first place. Really!
3 — Being vulnerable doesn’t mean you can’t be tough when necessary.
I worked for eleven season’s in the National Hockey League (NHL) and it was a funny irony that the nicest, sweetest, most vulnerable people were often the tough guys.
Yep, the tough guys had soft centers!
Perhaps because they knew they could handle themselves, they were more comfortable with not having to be tough all the time.
I’ve seen the same thing in meeting many MMA fighters, and boxers they are often very good-natured people, and often the most connected father’s that I’ve seen.
4 — The shield you carry to manage the war of each day in business and life must be placed on the floor upon your arrival home.
When you walk in the front door to your home, understand that your home is your sanctuary. Your family is your safe place, not a place to shut down, but a place to share your life. Let your family in on what’s been going on in your world, good and bad.
Yes, we don’t have to give all the gory details and scare our kids when things are maybe not going so well, but we also don’t have to slog it out day after day, coming home with a frown on our face, and hoping no one is noticing.
Even though they are all scared shitless of asking!
The more honest and up front you are about the good and bad of life, the more they will be prepared for the life they will one day live, and the more human they will know you are, leading to greater empathy and kindness on their part for you.
5 — Treat your family better than you treat your best client!
A lot of men think (and this is true of women as well) that their family should just put up with their shit. They should just understand. They treat their family way worse than they would treat their worst client.
Instead, we should all be treating our family better than anyone else in our lives.
Yes, they should and will be there for you, but that means you need to honor that unconditional love, not expect it!
6 — Always treat your partner with the greatest level of respect, especially in front of your children.
You are a beacon.
You are an example for your children.
How they see you treat your partner will be how they treat their partner. They will seek out partners that emulate the behaviours of their parents, and if you have set an amazing example, they will in turn expect to be treated in the same way.
When you set a poor example, your children’s choices are going to be a crap-shoot you will in turn be required to watch!
7 — Set an example in front of your friends!
Too many guys like to pull out the machismo badge when their friends are around. They want to appear to be large and in charge, as though their partners and children are servants to their cause.
We all know its bullshit, so drop the façade and be a good partner and father in front of your friends, set an example. By setting an example, you in turn move the tone and character of the moment towards kindness and honesty.
8 — Know who your good friends really are, and don’t be afraid to tell them you love them!
Men seldom confide in one another that they love each other. The weight of life each day requires the support of our peers. We can’t get through life without the love of our parents, our family, our partners, AND our friends.
Why is it ok to share your love with your family, but not ok to do it with your friends?
Let them know how much they matter, you’ll be surprised how often it is reciprocated in kind.
9 — Tell your kids you love them all the time!
This would seem to be the easiest rule to follow, but for some reason lots of fathers rarely say the words “I love you” to their kids.
Say it, because you know you feel it. Say what you feel, it really isn’t that difficult, we just need to make it so!
10 — Give your kids hugs, hugs and more hugs!
Along with the last rule, tell them you love them, this one is just as important.
You can tell them, but if you don’t embrace them and make them feel your deepest connection, they might not believe you!
Hugs are the essence of love!
Manliness and fatherhood are one, be good in both.
P.S. If you loved this post please take the time to share it with someone who will be moved to do better. Thank you 😉
Originally published at medium.com