Monday, 7 May 2012
Not So Tough
During the course of my work I see weakness and vulnerability on a daily basis. Part and parcel of my chosen career path. Yet ask me who, of all the people I deal with, I consider to be the weakest, most unimpressive specimens and my answer might surprise you. Its violent men. They are by far the weakest creatures you could ever hope to engage with. If you look beyond the aggression and the verbal unpleasantness and the coercive behaviour what you see is a creature that is, quite frankly, pathetic. Pathetic because they don’t seem able to cope without resorting the extreme behaviour. Pathetic because they often have very small brains that seem incapable of reasoning. It’s frankly bizarre that men who claim to be the ultimate examples of masculinity and manhood seem so inept at exemplifying the kind of qualities that define, by my reckoning, a real man. But then what does it mean to be a real man? Well strength is certainly one aspect of it, along with perhaps a quiet confidence and an ability to think clearly under pressure. Yet surely part of being a man is helping others to realise their potential? Surely we need to be approachable and honest and prepared to give of ourselves for our partners, family, and wider community. Weak men do none of this. Weak men don’t seem able to see beyond their own personal deficiencies, which they conceal amidst a facade of aggression. Yet there’s another quality which I value and one which I think deserves to be at the top of our aspiration list. And it’s the simple ability to be flexible in the face of new information, and honest enough to admit when we go wrong. I see real strength in learning from new information and being able to adapt, even if this sometimes means going down roads we wouldn’t otherwise choose to. More than that, it proves that as men we can grow and that we don’t get caught up in lazy thinking and destructive patterns of behaviour. Heck, these aren’t just male qualities. We should all be chomping at the bit to aspire to them. But what’s clear to me as that nobody grows when they just stand still. Nobody evolves when all they want to do is stick with the staid and with the familiar. Learn from error and build your foundation on the honest pursuit of truth and decency. It makes life so much more beguiling, and our journey all the more real.