It can be hard to pinpoint yet most men can immediately recognize it when they see it. Think of the men in your life. I bet you can very quickly make that determination. It seems to describe a confident man. He is good at what he does. He works hard. He doesn’t compromise his values. You respect him. It’s difficult to articulate, almost mysterious.
As you can imagine, I’ve thought a great deal about this subject, given the name of my website. When I share something with my readers, I’m actually telling myself, “I need to be more real.” Although I have a very long way to go to be considered the real deal, I think the litmus test is really quite simple.
Are you Authentic?
Are you trying to be like someone else or are you being yourself?
When you’re not “The Real Deal,” people can tell. This concept is so eloquently summed up in a word that I’ve heard since middle school. Poser. “Why are you wearing soccer shoes, you don’t play soccer, you’re such a poser!” “Is that a Ramones T-shirt?” “Can you even name more than one of their songs?” “You’re such a poser!” From a very young age, authenticity is core to even a boy. As boys become men, we become master pretenders. Some are so good at pretending that they even fool themselves. Ironically, the effort to be respected by pretending to be someone you’re not is the very thing that prevents a man from being authentic and therefore respected.
Men are haunted by this question. “Am I the Real Deal?” Most of the time, if they are honest with themselves, they don’t think they are. They spend their whole lives trying to prove that they are or they just give up all together. I’ve struggled with insecurity throughout my life. Insecurity is the reason why I have tried to be like other people. I don’t always believe that who I am is good enough. I think a lot of men feel this way.
What do we do? Here are 12 suggestions:
- Stop Trying to Be Someone Else: The quicker you can give this up the better. Don’t waste anymore time, it’s not helping you, it’s hurting you. You’re not fooling anyone.
- Be Grateful For Who You Are: Be thankful for how you were made. You’re unique. There is no one like you. Who you are is the only thing that will work for you, so embrace it!
- Stop Hating Yourself: Ok, so we all have things we don’t like about ourselves. They are usually based on lies that we’ve heard from other people or lies that we’ve told ourselves through experiences we’ve had. Let them go. These lies usually start with: “You’ll never…” “You always…” “You’re so…” “You’re such a…”
- Forget Hollywood: They are not real. The Marlboro Man, The guy in the suit from the vodka commercial, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, etc. They are the ultimate posers. They pose for a living! They are not the standard. On one day or another, they all have gone home with heartburn and insecurity.
- Invest in Yourself: What you were given is all you have to work with. You wouldn’t let your only car or house slowly disintegrate. Take care of you. Eat right, exercise and take time to do things you love. Train your mind. Read, learn from others, connect with people who make you better. Work with what you have.
- Write Down What You love: Make a list of the things that make you feel alive. What did you love to do as a kid? What’s the best time you’ve ever had? Do you like being around a lot of people? Do you like consistency or variety? Build a list of things you like. Use it as a guide to creating your future.
- Ask People What They Think: It’s humbling but helpful. Ask some people who love you and support you to tell you what they think of you. Do more of the things that you’re good at. You will enjoy life more.
- Don’t Worry About What Negative People Think: No matter what, there will always be someone who disagrees with how you’re living. People who don’t know how to be themselves, often feel threatened by someone who is living authentically.
- Don’t Compromise Your Values: Be consistent with what you believe to be right and true. Don’t ever give that up for the affection or acceptance of another.
- Don’t Judge: Every man is fighting a great battle. Have compassion on where people find themselves at this moment.
- Do Your Best: Strive for excellence in everything you do. Have the pride to give it your best shot. Taking this approach with the small details in life lead to you becoming the best version of yourself.
- Be Honest: Don’t try to make things seem as if they are better then they are, just tell the truth consistently.