In your journey of how to become more masculine, it is of great importance to consider the spiritual aspect of your own life and the spiritual influence on the culture you are trying to gain the respect of. This factor will have a major influence on your self-perception of what it means to be a man and also affect your ability to gain the respect of those around you.
Every culture and era of time has different cultural and spiritual influences on what helps determine the definition of masculinity. This is a complex topic for sure but I will do my best to slim it down into some basic principles.
"Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life." —Buddha
As you proceed on this journey I hope you honestly evaluate your life and culture and embrace the growth that is before you. It is hard to break free from the ideology that surrounds any human. To take a step back and objectively look at how you were raised and influenced will have a powerful effect on your beliefs and spirituality.
I would wager on the fact that many of the men or humans you and I look up to subscribe to a religion or belief. Observing this may reveal to you the level of impact spirituality has on the masculine reality you are desiring to embody.
Alright enough with my poetic jargon, the following points I have put together are to try and help you find out what it means to be spiritually masculine in your context.
Finding Your North Star
If you choose to go down the path of spirituality it is important to know what your north star is. What I mean by that term is determining what your compass is for navigating life. It is hard to go on a journey if you have no sense of direction or destination.
There is a multitude of reasons why people turn to religion and spirituality. It could be a terminal illness, fear of death, loss of a loved one, craving a purpose in life, or just simply looking for truth. Whatever your motivation is, knowing generally where you want to go on a journey makes it much easier to get directions.
As we proceed just to be clear I will be using the term North Star as a metaphor for life guidance and direction. The following steps are a great way to get started in finding your north star.
Finding and assessing your end goal.
Discovering and revealing to yourself why you want to find a religion will help you significantly on your journey. So how do you go about doing this? Grab a pen and paper or pull up a word document on your computer and take the time to write down and answer the following questions.
- What type of answers am I looking for from religion?
- What type of community am I looking for?
- Am I relying on religion to bring me happiness?
- What is the ideal environment I am looking for?
- Am I looking to find emotional safety?
- Am I looking for acceptance?
- What types of truths am I seeking?
- What are the questions that I am trying to find answers to?
As you ask yourself these questions and honestly answer them I am sure other ideas and thoughts will pop into your head. Take time to write these down and process them with some friends if possible.
Do not rush or make instantaneous decisions when it comes to this topic. This is your life and future. Methodically and persistently address these questions.
Making a plan of action.
Once you have decided what you are looking for and where you want to head. Now it is time to make a plan for moving forward. Take the following steps to make a plan of action.
- Once figuring out what questions you are trying to answer pick the one that interests you the most.
- Make time on your calendar to start exploring this.
- After selecting a question and allotting time to dive in, start by doing some reading online. It is generally amazing what you can find by spending just some basic time on Google.
- Then talk with some close friends about this question you are trying to answer. Listen to them earnestly and do not speak over them. Remember you are the one that came to them.
- After that reach out to religious leaders and ask for their assistance in answering this one question. Religious people love these types of interactions and will most likely talk for a very long time with you. Make sure to keep the conversation on topic though as I have found people like to go on bunny trails away from the main purpose.
- Journal about this journey and notate anything that fascinates you.
- Once you have found a satisfying answer or developed a more interesting question rinse and repeat this process.
Now this plan of action is just a beginners guide. If as you proceed on your journey you find a more efficient way that fits you better that is great! I just compiled these to help give people a jumpstart!
Embrace the journey.
Chances are as you go down this path of finding your North Star things will change, unforeseen developments will happen, and you may not find what you are looking for. BUT being able to embrace the journey and keep moving forward is crucial in this process of becoming spiritually masculine. I think what Drake had to say about this fits perfectly.
"Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination." —Drake
As you go down this path though, just remember that working to articulate your thoughts and beliefs is something that will empower you and grow you in the realm of being spiritually masculine. Many, humans go their wholes lives not knowing what they believe or why they believe it.
This leads us directly to the next section
Know what you believe.
It is very easy in western cultures to just embrace the religion you grew up with or are surround by. That is an easy option that many men have chosen and this influences the polls. I mean check out the following.
Yet, I can almost guarantee that many of these people only subscribe to Christianity because it is safe and easy. The idea of people being able to articulate the core beliefs and history of Christianity is highly doubtful. They are followers, not thinkers. This may seem harsh and a broad stroke. But the reality is many do not take the time to think on their own.
In western society, we are trained to trust the professionals and not question them. You trust that the plumber, doctor, or lawyer knows more than you. These are all great things and allow you to specialize in an area that others trust you in. BUT this rule should not be applied when it comes to personal belief. Sure you can ask a professional questions but trusting your local religious leader with the foundations of your morals and spiritual beliefs is a bad idea.
This is something you personally need to own and not delegate to others. I developed this question a while to help jumpstart my process and encourage others to do the same.
"If you are unwilling to question what you believe is it because deep down you know it's false?" —Timothy Wenger
Asking questions like this will instantly cause friction with passive belief structures that may be present, but this is essential in taking ownership of your life and beliefs. Once you start this journey, though, you will realize how much knowledge you lack. This is highly important, because realizing what you know and believe only comes from intentionally questioning and thinking about this very topic.
Beliefs and truths just don't hit you on the head like bird shit. No, this takes intentional thought and effort. Knowing what you believe and why you believe it, empowers you with confidence and direction. This is what will make you become more masculine in the eyes of others and most likely yourself.
Don't be pushy.
Chances are once you have found a religion or spirituality that feels like home to you the idea of sharing it with everyone who you love seems like the best thing since sliced bread. Sadly, often times this zealous passion comes across as being a dick and way too pushy.
So, if and when you find something that you are passionate about when it comes to spirituality be respectful of others. Here are some things to consider before evangelizing your friends, colleagues, or family.
- Am I approaching them with my ideas respectfully?
- If they disagree am I trying to change their mind or hear their thoughts?
- Do I have a hidden agenda behind my conversation? Like do I want to convert everyone?
- When I talk about my faith with others what does their body language say during those interactions?
- Am I being respectful of others times and beliefs?
These are all great questions to ask yourself before you bring the world into your fold.
Be open to others.
This last section I think I am going to catch you a bit off guard with. When I make the statement be open to other I do not mean believe everything you hear nor do I mean never share your thoughts.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein
When I say be open to others what I am hoping to encourage you is the following attributes.
- You will honestly and respectfully share your beliefs and thoughts when appropriate.
- You will listen and engage in conversations about others beliefs.
- You will critically think, analyze, and consider beliefs and opinions you had not thought about.
Learning how to respect others while holding your own beliefs and being open to new ideas is a serious skill that I hope every man takes the time to develop. It will open opportunities, conversations, and friendships that you would have otherwise missed out on.