Be a Man

I struggle when using labels. I need them to make sense of my world, but each label has its baggage. The baggage can weigh me down, reduce my range of vision, and limit my ability to see things in a different light.

For example, think of the labelling of some activity as boring. That will certainly put me into autopilot mode while engaged in that activity. It helps me get through that experience, and sometimes I have no choice but to do the boring activity.

But it robs me of elevating my experience, so the whole activity has increased value. When I was younger, and had to cut our lawn with a push mower. Boring. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Even at that young age, I turned it into some mental tasks. I could shorten the job but be careful not to overlap and cutline. Would it take me less time if I cut diagonally, or would the long runs be offset by the more frequent turns I’d make as I mowed closer to the corners? What if I started in the middle and walked in ever wider circles like the groove in a record? Oh, the lawn is all mowed now!

Another example is the label ‘foreign’; as in that person is a foreigner, this food is foreign, and that idea is foreign to me. I can tell, that word starts to shut down my learning opportunities. When I hear myself use these limiting type labels, I search my limited vocabulary for a more useful synonym.

Be a Man, Grow a Pair, or Man Up are labels I left behind many years ago.

Why tackle something head-on? I know life is stacked against me on this one. It took me until my late twenties to realize I was short. A serious thank you to my parents for that; five foot six inches with an effortful stretched neck. I can wrap my thumb and index finger around my skinny wrist with a lot of a digit left over.

Early in my life, I chose to value being human over being a man. I never encouraged or tried to convert anyone else to my way of thinking. But in my Western Society, I’d never move to the front of the line trying to be ‘a man.’ But I did think I could at least join a crowd at the front of the line who valued being a good person; compassionate, loving, caring, fair, and on it goes with similar words. I realized being ‘strong’ or ‘aggressive’ would never be my strong suit.

Please give this a bit of a think. If you had one label, you’d embrace that describes who you want to be, what label would it be?  For even more fun, ask a partner or best friend to identify their label for you.  Was there an overlap between both of your choices?

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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