Are The “Best” of Us Men Possibly Living Lives at Our Worst?
The worst fathers, lovers and friends
I thought of something today…
As I tend to question absolutely everything, I started to wonder what it means for me to be my best. And before I get started, I’d like to acknowledge that my best is yet to come. It’s definitely not now, but I see the potential of what it is. And it has very little to do with what others might say it is.
But what bothers me is this: at what standard do we decide what our best is? Better yet, who’s standard?
I have a constant battle about what best means to others rather than myself, and what I have to do to earn love and recognition. And every time I fall short of that best, I lose that battle. A dark day ensues.
So, how many men is this happening to?
As I read personal articles(painfully, a lot of them being Medium based) and news stories, and hear what’s going on in the corners of the world, I see a fuck ton of pain. I see lofty expectations that we have for everyone around us, and the constant bashing of the parties that are not being “their best.” A HUGE one of those bashing on men, as a whole.
Hmm…and who decides what best is?
I’m a good man.
I don’t need anyone to tell me that, even though I struggle to prove it to myself some days. There are a lot of good men actually. And despite the fact that man hating feminists and their white knight puppy dogs think that the patriarchy and men are not exclusive of one another, I’d like to claim otherwise.
Does “patriarchy” play a part?
As defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, patriarchy is: a social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line.
With a simple search, this was probably the easiest and most objective definition of the word. And, I’m not even stating the “patriarchy” isn’t potentially an issue. If we were to really use the bipolar design between patriarchy and matriarchy, I think both would have their pros and cons. And it seems that patriarchy has taken on a very skewed and bias new definition. It’s become a damn hot trigger word.
Wikipedia defines patriarchy as: an institutionalized social system in which men dominate over others, but can also refer to dominance over women specifically; it can also extend to a variety of manifestations in which men have social privileges over others to cause exploitation or oppression, such as through male dominance of moral authority and control of property. Patriarchal societies can be patrilineal or matrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male or female lineage respectively.
Are men really so bad?
The “best” men who have all the things and hit all the marks a lot of times are the ones who behave the worst. Aggressive abusive, self-absorbed, unempathetic, destructive, volatile…and I’m not even mad at these men. We didn’t get taught on how to deal with experiences, face emotions, and win over the internal voice that runs us.
As a good man though, it’s hard to maintain any sort of healthy mindset while being bombarded about how plainly horrible, manipulative and corrupt the sex that we belong to is. And what baffles me, is that I don’t think, by taking the above objective definition into consideration, that a lot of us in any way are a piece of said patriarchy, if at all.
I live my life trying to be kind and open minded to everything I can, and to every person that I can. Yeah, I may not have been in any position to have advantage or inequality over a woman, but doesn’t that make me not a part of it then?
And if the patriarchy was tied directly to sex, wouldn’t I then have some benefit regardless of my status?
Point being…if there is a supreme patriarchy, it’s in control of millions of men as well as women. This type of design of society may be ran by big bad men, but their not completely sexist in what they control. Sheep would still be sheep to them.
And if there’s anything that I think is destructively influential about the patriarchy, then it’s that they have created a defined expectation on a lot of us that destroys any chance of men being healthy and balanced…or maybe that’s political and governmental corruption and supremacy, not patriarchy?
What’s being left out of definition
If men at “their best” means that they work to make the best money, to become high status, to create home and haven…then what does that mean for everything else that makes a man great? If the pressure to just be a contributing part of society, climbing a ladder, being a provider, being the best performer in bed and in the office, would that mean that all men that have these things are the best men?
What about a man’s value system? What about a man’s emotional needs? What about a man’s intimate needs? What about a man’s needs for trust and vulnerability? What about a man’s needs for support and love?
And if you don’t know what the above questions mean or they make you uncomfortable, then it’s because you’ve also been sucked into societal superficiality.
No wonder there are so many shitty men.
Patriarchy or not, the societal definition of “men’s best” is hollow. It’s a shiny shell of smooth perfection that fucks up everything else that demands depth in a man’s life…and most men are suffering because of their inability to understand what it means to be balanced. To be intimate. To be vulnerable. To be valuable. To be passionate. To love themselves.
And that’s the biggest issue isn’t it? Men don’t love themselves…men get validation through a lifelong pursuit of the shiny shell that tells them that they’re good enough to receive love. Most men don’t know how to give love to themselves.
What I’m saying is…that men are expected to be a lot of things. A lot of things that by societies definition has a lot of fucking holes in it. One that doesn’t include men’s reflection of self and acceptance. If all we are is status and success(which is a set of very highly desirable traits for attraction, so why wouldn’t we be convinced?), then what will we be as lovers and husbands? As fathers? As friends? As brothers and uncles?
We fake our way through all of the other things we won’t slow down for in order to understand, or take advantage of…
It’s a mind fuck. And because of it, men don’t understand why they are miserable, why they are so aggressive and angry and on verge of depression and suicide. Men don’t understand why everything feels so lonely and exhausting. Men don’t understand why they are so easily led by their dick and drugs and money.
We need to understand that good men start with self acceptance and finding what makes us feel full, not necessarily what makes our pockets full. We need to understand that economic and societal contribution may be necessary, but it has to be separated from our identity.
“Men’s best” should be defined individually by each man. Our best should be a constant progressive resiliency. One built from our own desire and value system. Believe it or not, if men truly felt like they were free to define their own success, they would work harder for that than any other materialistic standard laying in front of them today.
I see my future self. He works harder and more efficiently than I do now. He’s happier. He’s not held down so heavily by assumptive societal expectations of men to be everything. He accepts his personality, constantly works on his character, and gives less fucks about the dramatics of resentful and pained voices. He acts more, and focuses harder. He can more easily listen to the world and see solutions, rather than be distracted by it’s problems.
The belief that men are their best only by what they provide society falls very short of men at their best can be. And as men, we need to find the courage to be more than that.
Men’s best is what we say it is, not what patriarchy, society or government says it is. Not what women say it is. Not what other men say it is. It’s an individual choice based on our own love for ourselves and our people. It’s filling our own hearts and providing value that satiates our own desire for purpose and influence.
To be a better father, lover, friend….and HUMAN.
Think “your best” not “their best”.