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When men refuse to be a real man

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the implications of when men refuse to be a real man.

First a quick update:

“Tiger Wood’s wife takes him back”
John Edwards, Governor Elliot Spitzer and now Tiger Woods. Why do wives take back their cheating husbands? Read the transcript of the radio interview I gave to Russ Morley, host of 850 WFTL.

“Fear, anxiety & grief relief”
George Clooney and Wyclef Jean organized and led the Hope for Haiti Telethon which raised 58 million dollars. At Wyclef’s request, I’ve just created a special audio program to help the volunteers, workers, friends and families of people in Haiti. These simple exercises will neutralize the fear, anxiety, stress and trauma brought on by extreme challenges and stress. Of course, anyone can use these powerful techniques to erase their own bad memories and begin to feel better immediately. They are my gift to you and anyone who needs them, click here to enjoy it.

Now, let’s talk about when men refuse to be “a real man.”

This week, a client was telling me how her boyfriend expects her to carry her own weight:  he doesn’t offer to carry her bags, and lives by the Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

I wondered why this man felt it necessary to teach rather than to help or assist her. It also begs the question: does this man expect her to carry her own emotional baggage? Can he be strong for her? Is he dependable, reliable and responsible? Is he a real man?

Of course, it is possible to write reams about what it is that defines a real man. And yes there are certain masculine qualities such as assertiveness, confidence, energy, incisiveness, determination, strength of mind and body, stamina, nobility, self sacrifice and leadership. We can add to that devotion to family, caring, acceptance, commitment, honesty, reliability, respect and love for women, children & all living things, responsibility, and the ability to admit that he’s not perfect, and thus always remaining willing to work at being a better person.

My client’s situation raised parallels with the actions of three other famous men – Tiger Woods, Michael Richards and Mel Gibson.

You might recall that Michael Richards, who played the affable, wacky and emotional Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld, created a huge storm in 2006 when he exploded into an angry tirade at a group of black people attending his comedy show in Los Angeles. During the three-minute rant, Michael Richards made various racist remarks and used the N-word multiple times.

Soon after, Michael Richards appeared on the David Letterman show along with Jerry Seinfeld. Richards apologized for his remarks and his anger but also said he was not a racist. Instead he explained his behavior as the result of frustration, anger and his stream-of-consciousness comedic style. It was obvious from the video that Michael Richards was truly remorseful for what happened but not necessarily remorseful for the racist remarks – he showed almost no signs of guilt or shame for what he had said.

In a similar incident, earlier the same year, in July 2006, Mel Gibson was stopped in Malibu, California and detained for alleged drunk driving. During his detention. Mel Gibson made various anti-Semitic remarks, even blaming the Jews for al the wars in the world. Soon after, Mel Gibson apologized for the entire incident, saying he was ashamed of what he said and did but also adding that he said things he did not believe to be true. In other words, similar to Michael Richards, Mel Gibson was saying that he too is not a racist. Moves quickly began within the Hollywood community to blacklist Gibson. Later, Mel Gibson took strong action and reached out to Jewish community to seek forgiveness and “have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.”

What did Mel Gibson and Michael Richards have in common?

They both made strong racist remarks but just as strongly denied that they themselves were racist. And yet, Mel Gibson’s father, Hutton Gibson is a notorious Holocaust denier. Maybe when Mel Gibson claimed that he said things he doesn’t believe to be true, he would have been more accurate to say that he was not consciously aware of what he believes at a deeper, subconscious level. Benjamin Franklin said: “It’s common for Men to give 6 pretended Reasons instead of one real one.”

The point here is that it takes a man to apologize but it takes a real man to admit who and what he is, accept responsibility and then take action to correct it. Few of us like to admit who we are. And we all have some level of bigotry, prejudice, bias or even racism within us; we are imperfect and we all fall short, but it takes a real man to look in the mirror and say, “Yes, I am a racist” or “Yes, I was raised by a father who is openly anti-Semitic and I admit that he has influenced who I am and that I will now work to change that, to be more loving, accepting and compassionate.”

Harvard University created a special test to determine subconscious beliefs surrounding race and prejudice. You can take the Harvard Racist Test here.

And yes, let me add that I too, have expressed prejudices and judgments in the past as I admit and concede in my book, “Finding God – Spiritual strategies to help you find happiness, fulfillment and inner peace”:

“Daily we are challenged to forgive and love others and ourselves. Jesus and many of the great masters taught love, compassion and acceptance. As these teachings entered my heart, I suddenly looked around and many of my prejudices and judgments dissolved. The sense of separation was lost, and I felt a connection and empathy for people around me.

 “I noticed the change one day and surprised myself as I smiled warmly at a young man in Jewish Hasidic clothing -long black coat, long beard and hat. He was dressed differently to me but that’s not what I saw – I just saw a person. In the past, I would have been critical and made a judgment regarding his beliefs and apparel. I would not have looked into his eyes and smiled. And now for the first time, I saw him as a human, as a real person. He had not changed. I had. This was my enlightenment and freedom in action, my inner peace.”

It is simple but not easy to admit one’s errors; to admit the very things that we do not like about ourselves; it takes great courage to admit our weaknesses and our failings. And this brings me to Tiger Woods.

It was Tiger Woods who promoted himself to the world as a family man and a role model, even though he betrayed his family, his wife and two young children – the youngest just 11 months old. Now it seems that Tiger Woods has entered a rehab clinic for his alleged sex addiction. Had Tiger been a rock star or any other pro-athlete, he would not be considered to be an addict but rather simply a philanderer, a narcissist or just a man who gave into temptation and opportunity multiple times. (Warren Beatty and Julio Iglesias claim to have been with thousands of women but no one has called them an addict.)

The findings of a recent study out of Europe support my observations that power leads to cheating; the study says power equals hypocrisy and that people in power believe that the rules no longer apply to them; they can do whatever they want. We have seen this time after time with politicians, company executives and even professional athletes. Further, I have stated that fame and power also easily lead to a sense of entitlement and delusions of grandeur and denial. Tiger Wood’s situation may have many other elements – such as issues relating to the expectations that his father created by telling the world that Tiger is the Chosen One and will do greater things than Ghandi and the Dalai Lama. And was Tiger therefore just sabotaging his own success?

You can listen to a detailed interview I gave on this topic “Law of Deservedness”: To listen to interview visit Radio-Interviews

But nonetheless, Tiger shirked his responsibility as a husband and father and now, by claiming addiction, he is in fact, stating he is powerless over his behavior – a kind of no-fault claim; “I am just a victim.” And that works to his benefit in rebuilding his tarnished corporate and public image and maybe convincing his wife Elin to take him back since he can argue that his behavior is neither his fault nor her fault; after all, he argues, ‘I am just a victim of my addiction.’

But, a man chooses to be a real man the moment he admits his weaknesses, failings and errors without whining, complaining, seeking excuses, blaming others or crying victim. A man chooses to be a real man once he accepts full responsibility for who he is, what he has done, who he has hurt and then begins to make reparations by doing all that is necessary to heal the wounds and become a better person. A real man does not seek a cop out. A real man cannot live for his own ego and pleasure.

The 18th century poet, William Cowper, wrote:

Men deal with life as children with their play,
Who first misuse, then cast their toys away.

But maybe the best way to sum up when men refuse to be “a real man” is with the words of Benjamin Franklin:

Men take more pains to mask than mend. 

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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