The Self problem

In his book, Manhood in the Making, anthropologist David Gilmore claimed that

“Manhood is the defeat of childhood narcissism.”

In other words, you become a man when you can think beyond yourself to see the needs/desires of others.

I love kids but any parent/caregiver will be the first to tell you that children often focus on themselves more than others. Fights over toys sound familiar?

Unfortunately that narcissism, or love of self, doesn’t automatically go away when you turn 18. Gilmore said that we defeat selfishness which shows that:

Putting others first, or becoming a man, is a conscious choice that must be practiced daily. 

This is such an important lesson for us as men to keep in mind as our society places more emphasis on ourselves than on others. Even our charitable contributions can be turned to our benefit by lowering our own tax liability.

As a man, it’s critical that you place the needs of your family, loved ones or spouse at the forefront of your decisions. For example, if you take that promotion you might make more money, but will your family truly benefit from having more of your time consumed with work? Are you considering your ego more than the needs of those you love?

If you’re single or don’t have dependents, are you using your free-time to improve the lives of others or lavishing it on yourself?

Do a 3 minute self-evaluation each day to see where your priorities lie.  Ask yourself:

  • What am I doing?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • Who benefits?
  • Can I refocus so others are being served not just myself?

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