We are not the first generation to ask, what does it mean to be a man? it is a question that most humans have contemplated at some point. We have spent centuries trying to unpack this labyrinthine question, even though Aristotle figured it out in like 350 B.C.E. For Aristotle, manliness is marked by a life filled with eudiamonia- or for the non-Greek speaking reader, it means living a life of excellence where one can flourish. Strip away male archetypes, social expectations, and chauvinism and let that sink in. Today, Oprah would call this living your best life.
Not to be outdone in simplistic beauty, Greece’s neighbors across Adriatic define manliness as living a life of virtue. In fact, the word virtue comes from the Latin work for masculinity. In this context, virtue is not within the construct of a religious or pious virtue; rather for the Romans, a virtuous man cultivates behaviors and attributes toward which any reasonable human would strive. Virtues like loyalty, courage, friendship, and trustworthiness, those were the mark of manliness.
There is something pure and truly liberating about these ancient definitions of manliness. Modern definitions tend to focus on creating pressure and standards of manliness to which one can never truly measure up. At no point in ancient manliness has the subjugation of women, children, or marginalized people been considered a virtue or living a full life.
The notions of physical prowess and virility as the hallmark of manliness have destroyed the very essence of masculinity. One who is oppressive, derogatory, or arrogant is hardly the measure of a man, but rather indicative of the deep emotional trauma and distress that all men carry, but somehow are expected to master alone. As our modern focus on masculinity has shifted, so has the emotional wellbeing of men deteriorated.
It is time to reclaim masculinity as virtue and life in abundance. Whatever your path to abundance may be, know you are not alone. The lies you were told that you must go through pain alone, serves nobody- especially not those who matter in your life. This is the purpose of our blog, to invite everyone to live their best life, cultivate virtues, honor their values, and be happy.