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HowtoFeelLikeaMan|TheArtofManliness

May13,2012
AMan'sLife,OnManhood

WanttoFeelLikeaMan?ThenActLikeOne

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/05/13/wanttofeellikeamanthenactlikeone/

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HowtoFeelLikeaMan|TheArtofManliness

SincestartingTheArtofManlinessnearlyfiveyearsago,Iveinteractedwiththousandsofmenfromall
overtheworld.OnethingthatIvelearnedovertheyearsisthatmanygrownmenouttheresimplydont
feellikemen.Imnottalkingaboutfeelinglikeamaninthecartoonish,hypermasculinesense.
Rather,Imtalkingaboutfeelinglikeamaninthesenseofthatquietconfidencethatcomesfrom
movingfromboyhoodintomaturemasculinity.
ManyoftheguysIvetalkedto(particularlytheonesintheir20sand30s)haveconfessedtomethat
theystillfeellikeateenageboywalkingaroundinagrownmansbody.Becausetheydontfeellike
maturemen,manyoftheseyoungmenareputtingoffadultresponsibilitieslikecareers,families,and
civicinvolvementuntiltheycanlookatthemselvesinthemirrorandsay:Imaman.Inthemeantime,
theseyoungmendriftinsecurelythroughlife,wonderingwhentheyllfinallystartfeelinglikegrown
men.
Wevetalkedalotonthesiteaboutwhyyoungmentodayarestrugglingwiththetransitionfrom
boyhoodtomaturemasculinitylackofariteofpassageandpositivemalementors,afaultydefinitionof
manhood,andsociologicalandeconomicalshiftsarejustafewofthereasonswevediscussed.
Whileallthosethingshavecertainlycontributedtotheenervatedstateofmodernmasculinity,Ithinkan
underlyingproblemisthatyoungmentodayaresimplyfollowingmodern,conventionalwisdomonhow
apersonbecomeswhotheywanttobe.

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IllDoItWhenIFeelLikeIt
Conventionalwisdomtellsusthatbeforewedosomething,wefirstneedtofeellikedoingitorfeellike
thekindofpersonwhowoulddothatsortofthing.Andinordertofeellikedoingsomething,the
thinkinggoes,youneedtogetintherightmindset,findyourself,ordiscoveryourdeepinnertruth.
Soyoungmenfollowingconventionalwisdomdriftthroughlifewaitinguntiltheyfeellikeamanbefore
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HowtoFeelLikeaMan|TheArtofManliness

theytaketheirplaceinthecircleofmen.Theybelievethatatsomemagicalmomentinthefuture,theyll
feellikeagrownman,andoncethathappenstheyllfinallyhavethemotivationtostartdoingmanly
things.Ortheyreadbooks,meditateaboutmasculinity,andattendweekendmensretreats,hopingthat
theyllstarttofeellikeamanthroughponderingmanhood.Buttheydontseemtomakemuchprogress.
Sure,theyhavetheirmomentsofinspiration,butwhentheretreatisoverorthebookisfinished,theyre
backtofeelinginsecureabouttheirstatusasmen.
Buttheproblemwithconventionalwisdomonhowapersonbecomesisthatitdoesntwork.Atleast
notverywell.Ninetimesoutoftenyouwontmagicallystartfeelinglikeamanbysimplythinking
aboutbecomingaman.Sohowcanyoustartfeelinglikethemanyouvealwayswantedtobe?By
followingtheadvicegivenbybothancientphilosophersandmodernpsychologists:tofeellikeaman,
youhavetoactlikeaman.

AncientandModernWisdomonBecoming
Severalancientculturesandreligionstaughtthewaytobeliefandpersonalidentitywasnotthrough
contemplation,butratherthoughaction.Theyunderstoodthepowerthatouroutwardactionshaveonour
innerpsyche.
AccordingtotheTorah,whenMosesstoodatopMountSinaiandpresentedhispeoplethestonetablets
withtheLawofJehovahinscribeduponthem,theHebrewsspokeinunisonnaasehvnishma,which
meansWewilldoandwewillunderstand.BasicallytheHebrewscovenantedthattheywouldlive
theLawfirst,inthehopethatthroughlivingthelawtheywouldeventuallycometounderstandit.
Today,thisstatementrepresentsaJewishpersonscommitmenttolivealltheLawofMosesevenifthey
dontfullyunderstandthereasonsbehindeachcommandment.Modernrabbisteachthatnaaseh
vnishmaishowonecomestounderstandGodandHislawsforman.Bylivingtheoutwardordinances,a
changehappenswithin.
EsquireeditorandselfproclaimedJewinthesamesensethattheOliveGardenisItalianfood,A.J.
Jacobsputtheprincipleofnaasehvnishmatothetestinhishilariousmemoir,AYearofLiving
Biblically:OneMansHumbleQuesttoFollowtheBibleasLiterallyasPossible.Jacobsdidntjusttry
tolivetheTenCommandmentsperfectlyforayear,butalsotheover600obscurelawsfoundthroughout
theBible,likenotshavingthecornersofyourbeard,blowingashofarbeforeprayer,andnotsitting
whereamenstruatingwomanhassat(thatonegothimintroublewithhiswife).
Comingfromascientificandagnosticfamily,Jacobssawmanyoftheritualsandlawsofhiscultural
heritageasstrangeandirrational.ButafterayearoftryingtoliveaccordingtotheBible,Jacobsfelthis
attitudeshiftaboutreligiousritualsandeventhedivine.Whilehedidntconvertfrombeingasecular
Jewintoafullontheist,Mr.Jacobsnowconsidershimselfareverentagnostic,whobelievesthat
whetherornottheresaGod,thereissuchathingassacredness.Lifeissacred.Jacobscreditshis
attitudeshifttolivingBiblicalprinciplesevenwhenhewasntsureofthereasonbehindthemheacted
firstwithoutunderstandingtobecomeamorereverentperson.
TheGreekphilosopherAristotletaughtsomethingsimilartonaasehvnishmainhisNicomachean

Ethics.IntheNicomacheanEthicsAristotlelaysouthisideaoftheGoodLifeandhowtoobtainit.
ForAristotletheGoodLifemeantlivingalifeofvirtue.UnlikesomeGreekphilosopherswhobelieved
thatvirtuouslivingcameonlyfromponderinguponthevirtues,Aristotlebelievedthatunderstanding
Brett
wasntenough.Tobecomevirtuous,youhadtoactvirtuous.
154Comments
Butthevirtueswegetbyfirstexercisingthem,asalsohappensinthecaseoftheartsas
well.Forthethingswehavetolearnbeforewecandothem,welearnbydoingthem,e.g.,
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HowtoFeelLikeaMan|TheArtofManliness

menbecomebuildersbybuildingandlyreplayersbyplayingthelyresotoowebecomejust
bydoingjustacts,temperatebydoingtemperateacts,bravebydoingbraveacts.
Virtuesdontcomethroughsimplythinkingaboutthem.Youhavetoexercisethem.Aristotles
promiseisthis:ifyouwantavirtue,actasifyoualreadyhaveitandthenitwillbeyours.Change
comesthroughaction.Actfirst,thenbecome.
ThePatronSaintofManliness,TeddyRoosevelt,alsolivedbythisprincipleofactinginorderto
become.Hesaid:
TherewereallkindsofthingsIwasafraidofatfirst,rangingfromgrizzlybearstomean
horsesandgunfightersbutbyactingasifIwasnotafraidIgraduallyceasedtobeafraid.
Teddywantedtobefearlesseventhoughhewasnt.Insteadofsittingaroundandthinkinghiswayinto
courage,TRputhimselfintodangerousanduncomfortablesituationsandactedcourageously.Eventually
hebecamethemanwholedthechargeupSanJuanHillandjourneyeddownanunexploredriverinthe
Amazon.Hetookactioninordertobecomethemanhewantedtobe.
Modernpsychologistshaveatheoryonwhyactingtobecomeissuchaneffectivewayofchangingwho
youareandhowyoufeelaboutyourself:cognitivedissonance.Whentheresaconflictbetweenyour
selfperceptionandhowyoureactuallybehaving,youexperiencedissonanceortension,andyourbrain
movestoclosethegapbyshiftinghowyoufeelaboutyourselftomatchhowyoureacting.
Inherbook,TheDefiningDecade:WhyYourTwentiesMatterandHowtoMaketheMostofThemNow,
adultdevelopmentalpsychologistMegJayrecountsanexchangeshehadwitha27yearoldmaleclient
namedSamwhohadbeendriftingalongformostofhisadultlifewhilelivinginhisparentsbasement:
Itsweird,Samsaid.TheolderIget,thelessIfeellikeaman.
Imnotsureyouregivingyourselfmuchtofeellikeamanabout,Ioffered.

Samhaditallbackward.Thewayhesawit,hecouldntjointheworlduntilhefeltlikea
man,buthewasntgoingtofeellikeamanuntilhejoinedtheworld.
Dr.JaygoesontosharehowSamsattitudeabouthimselfstartedtochangeoncehebegandoinggrown
manthingslikestartingacareer,establishingacommittedromanticrelationship,andmovingoutofhis
parentsbasementandintohisownplace.Samstartedtoactlikeamanandconsequentlyhebeganto
feellikeone.Hegavehimselfsomethingtofeellikeamanabout.
Heresthebottomline:Ifyoudontfeellikeaman,yousimplyneedtostartbehavinglikethemanyou
wanttobecomeandeventuallyyoullstartfeelinglikeyourethatman.Actasif.Fakeituntilyoumake
it.Yourbrainwilleventuallyalignyourattitude/beliefaboutyourselfwithyournewbehavior.

YourActLikeaMantoFeelLikeaManRoadmap
Ifyourereadytostartfeelinglikethemanyouvealwayswantedtobe,todaysthedayyoubeginthat
journey.Likeanyjourney,itsnicetohaveamap:
1.Figureoutwhatsortofmanyouwanttobe.Pleasedontmisunderstand.Imnotsayingthat
contemplatingmanlinessisawasteoftime.Farfromit.AswearguedinManlinessDoesntJustHappen,
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HowtoFeelLikeaMan|TheArtofManliness

contemplatingmasculinityandmanlinessisanessentialstepinbecominganhonorableman.Itsnot
enoughtoknowyouneedtoact,youalsoneedtoknowwhatactionstotake.Whatshouldwestart
doing?Wheredowehopeouractionswillleadus?Sobeginattheend.Whatsortofmandoyouwantto
become?Maybeyouhaveapersonalherooragrandfatheroramentorwhopersonifiesyourideal
versionofmanhood.Onceyouknowwhatkindofmanyouwanttobe,studyandcontemplatehowthat
sortofmanwouldlivehislife.Whatwouldhedowhenfacingadversity?Whatwouldhisdailyroutine
belike?Howwouldhedress?Howdoeshetreathissignificantother?FormaCabinetofInvisible
Counselorstoguideyouonyourjourney.
2.Startdoingthethingsthatsortofmanwoulddo.Evenifyoudontfeellikeit.Onceyouknow
whatsortofthingsyouridealmanwoulddo,startdoingthem,andheresthemostimportantpart,do
themevenifyoudontfeellikeit.Someofthestuffyoullhavetodowillbehard,someitmaymakeyou
feeluncomfortable,andsomeofitwillmakeyoufeellikeaphony.Ignorethosefeelings.Thatsjust
theResistance,asStevenPressfieldwouldsay.Knowthatwithtime,yournewmanfulactionswill
transformthewayyoufeelaboutyourself.Youwillbegintoseeyourselfasaman.
3.Virileagiturfortherestofyourlife.Evenwhenyougothroughariteofpassagethatreally
transformsyouandputsyouontherightpath,youcantrestonyourlaurels.Becomingamanisnota
onetimedecisionorevent:itssomethingyouhavetochooseeveryday.Itslikeshavingjustbecause
youdoitoncedoesntmeanyouredoneyoustillhavetowakeupanddoitagaininthemorning.Virile
agiturisaLatinphrasewhichmeans,Themanlythingisbeingdone.Isbeingdone.Alwaysand
foreverongoing.Takethatasyourmottoformanhood.

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