"What's Your Idea of a Man?"

Relationship’s; I’ve long held a belief that ‘relationships’ might be what life and existence is all about.

Then I saw some dude with a T-shirt that asked; ‘What if the hokey cokey is what it’s all about?’ and I was reminded of another favourite saying of mine – ‘When you think you know the answer, life changes the question!’

This last saying has served me well in life; for example, I went from being dogmatic about a previously held religious position to no longer following religion. – Because when I thought I knew the answer life changed the question.

Likewise, in relationships – I have been married for 24 years, and I’m only 42, so you can do the maths, I’ll be honest, I thought I knew a lot about love, marriage and relationships, but life has taken me down roads lately which have challenged my entire perspective and caused me to have to rethink my entire approach.

Of course if helps to be flexible, being overly rigid about a point of view makes it impossible to flow with the currents of life. Not to say that you shouldn’t be confident in your truth. In our previous conversations on self-discovery, I have encouraged you to establish some key anchors of truth from which to launch the rest of your life.

Knowing yourself, knowing your values and living a self-actualised life requires you to come to some conclusions.

But I encourage you to maintain a dimension of flexibility once you have arrived at whichever conclusions you arrive at in order to have a space for potentially challenging truths. Truth’s that may require you to overhaul your life and implement radical change.

Okay, let’s get down to business, were looking at ‘where do we fit?’ and specifically we’re looking at ‘where do we fit – in the area of relationships?’

We are on a journey; so first of all, we need to do the work of self-discovery – and ask and answer the question for ourselves of ‘Who am I?’

Once we’ve come to terms with this, we must ask and answer the question; ‘Where then do I fit?’– Where do I fit in terms of my career? – Where do I fit in terms of relationships? – And where do I fit in terms of the social circle in which I wish to interact? Because ultimately were looking to build a life for us that has meaning to us!

A life with direction and clarity, purpose and poise. Because if you know who you are and what your about, you have at the very least a clue where you’re going and certainly a sense of direction, which makes you a prime candidate for a quality relationship.

If you aim for nothing you hit it every time, It’s sometimes shocking however when we discover how many aimless people abound, but who wants to hook up with that shit.

I mean you hitch your cart to that waggon and hit ‘literally nothing’ – you better have a good existential philosophy about achieving a state of emptiness to assuage the sense of complete failure that will result.

As a man nothing attacks your sense of self-worth as not having a sense of purpose, in fact this is a cycle or hamster wheel, where a lack of self-worth feeds a lack of a sense of purpose and a lack of purpose fuels a sense of worthlessness. – And when you bring this dynamic to a relationship you have a recipe for disaster because all the feedback will impound these dynamics because you get back what you give.

So tip number one, in order to succeed in your intimate relationships as a man, get a sense of personal purpose. Know where you fit in terms of your life vocation and career and make sure you are working at it, honing your craft and building something with your life.

Then when looking for a potential partner, not only are you looking for the characteristics of attraction, beauty, nice personality etcetera, but also; Is this individuals purpose, direction, aspirations and personal aims in alignment with your own? Essentially, can you complement each other?

They don’t have to be on the exact same path as you, and their vocational aspirations may even differ considerably from your own, but can they operate in tandem, or is the direction this however attractive individual is going in utterly divergent to the direction in which your life is traveling?

I’m going to put it out their I’ve recently been reading GS Youngblood’s book ‘The Masculine in relationships’ and as one of the 80% of men who have a predominant masculine energy, I found the book extremely useful. (I’ll review it in another article for the resources page on my website). But suffice to say if you fall within the category of the 80% of men who primarily have a core masculine energy, GS explains that your masculinity is a gift you give to your partner. The three key traits he exhorts you to develop throughout his treatise is to learn to respond vs react, to provide structure and to create safety. What I found so useful about this framework apart from it giving me something practical in which to pour my masculine gift, (I think you’ll find the book tremendously practical,) is that if I wish to provide structure, I need to have structure in my own life.

Structure comes from clarity. Like every other element in establishing your unique identity and knowing what you want in life and going for it, the same is especially true in the area of relationships, what is it you want out of a relationship, it may be that you are already well and truly embedded in an intimate relationship, or you may be on the market seeking out a prospective companion. Whatever the case, knowing what you want in your relationship goes a long way towards making the relationship meaningful, fulfilling and mutually beneficial.

As I said at the beginning of this article I have just celebrated my 24th anniversary, and being able to look my woman in the eye and tell her that she is what I want, all I want and that I want to grow old with her and love her intimately for the rest of my active life feels wonderful especially when it comes from a place of having done the work of really asking and answering the question for myself; ‘What do I want?’

It helps take away distractions, and grounds you with a direction in which to pour your energy and endeavours. Like anything in life, nothing guarantees a life skipping through the tulips, but having a sense of clarity and direction in life and critically in the area of relationships enables you to structure your activities around a theme, which enables you to get things done. And getting things done is the first step toward creating any kind of success in life, essentially creating a life for you that has meaning to you.

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Hi I'm Omar Zac Phillips and I’m a writer. My Blog; theideaofaman.com is where I journal my experiences as a man and share The Idea of a Man Project, a 12 step process of self-discovery.

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