The Better Man’s Guide to Happiness
1 – The Choice to Stop Blaming
By Steve Mayeda
When I ask people what being a man is, I always get a checklist of different things -
- Success with money
- Success in business and career
- Good with women
- Sexually adventurous
- Physically fit
- Powerful and Confident
The truth is being a man is a choice. It is not just a single choice, but a series of choices throughout your day. How you interact with reality is what truly defines you. In fact, ‘being a better man’ has nothing to do with getting what you want, but the choices in how you live with what you have.
The reason I am writing this is for two simple reasons.
- Example - I rarely see anyone share about living an honest example of choices that make you a better man and a good person. I often see people sharing an image and performing, not telling the reality of life. There is information but it lacks life experience.
- My Journey - For me the journey to becoming a better man led me to have true life fulfillment. It was a journey of tremendous ups and downs. It meant living up to my life choices and learning to express who I am authentically.
This article is part of a series based on the choices you make everyday to be a better man.
Every person in my life I respect has made the choice to take responsibility for the things that have happened in their life and make the most of it. This is what made them a better person, what made them happy and build their wisdom and character. There were things that happened in their lives that ranged from good, bad to tragic; however, what was obvious was the responsibility they took.
About 6 years ago, I was traveling through the South and made it to my friend Fred’s house in Alabama. I rarely saw Fred but it could be said he was somewhat of a spiritual mentor for me. At Fred’s house there were daily meditation sessions, he was full of love and wisdom. But Fred had not always been that guy. About 20 years ago, Fred decided to turn his life around. He was a former thief and after his wife was murdered he decided it was time to change. Fred was also disabled, either using a cane or in a wheelchair. Despite his disability, he was almost always happy, full of love and ambition. He always talked about when he used to run and be active doing the Tibetan 5 Rites and all sorts of super healthy stuff. I thought, ‘how could a guy be disabled if he was so healthy?’ I had never asked before.
“You don’t know what happened? Oh man, having a stroke was the best thing that ever happened to me. I used to be someone caught in this obsession to conquer the world but when I had my stroke it slowed me down. It made me humble and allowed me to focus on what really mattered in life. A few years ago, I went into a simple surgery for acid reflux and the doctor screwed up. I turned blue and lost blood flow to part of my brain. After that I ended up like this. I tried to sue the doctors responsible and once I realized I wasn’t going to win I learned how to be happy with it all. You know, one thing I have learned from my life is when standing up for yourself becomes hurting yourself, it is a form of self-hate. Standing up for yourself should be about self-respect. But I wasn’t doing that, I was blaming. Blaming is a good way to hate yourself. That is why having a stroke is the best thing that ever happened to me. How else was I going to learn this stuff?”
Later that weekend, I told Fred about all the troubles that were going on in my life. He just told me, “Those sound like some pretty big deals. They’re some really great excuses for not being happy. Being happy is a choice you make everyday, sometimes every minute. If you want to be happy, you need to stop looking at those and start looking at some other stuff. The key to happiness is to clean up all the bullshit inside you. The resentment, anger and blame is a good place to start and learn a new way to live. Be of service to others and live by ideals. Somehow everything all works out.”
That was some of the best advice I had ever gotten. It took a man with some actual life experience to have me listen. A man who had many reason to be unhappy, but was happier than anyone else I knew at the time. I was also angry and in enough pain and confusion to finally stop fighting, stop myself and say ‘maybe I am not doing things right, let me take some suggestions from people living how I want to live.’
When I catch myself justifying blame, anger and resentment I think to myself ‘what about me is holding on to this hate?‘ If I am highlighting a problem in my life or making other people the problem more than focusing on any solution, I am laying the foundation for blame and judgment. I am disconnecting from the people and world around me and have taken events in my life and turned them into excuses for unhappiness. When I take the advice of ‘Cleaning up the bullshit’ of resentment, blame and anger inside me the direct situation may not get better but my overall perspective on life does. The real heroes in my life have had many things happen to them – beatings, rapes, being held captive and tortured, you name it. What makes them a hero is how they choose to live after that. They were able to transcend from the blame, into an expression of who they are. They learned to express without holding on to hate and have all made the choice to let go of it. What my life and those heroes have proven to me is that you can always be happy no matter what. Life can be painful, but that is not an excuse to hold on to blame. Happiness can be found if you’re willing to look. Often times within yourself. That journey is impossible if we hold on to blame.
The choice to stop blame is where men learn to be men, and humanity learns to open its heart into its true potential.
The Better Man’s Guide to Happiness Series
Being a better man is not an image. It is not a set of rules or a list. It has nothing to do with the physique you have, the status people give you or the sex life you’re supposed to have. Living as an archetype of social acceptance isn’t an act of empowerment, it is the opposite. My superficialities – material possessions, image, status and things I have are expressions of me, but they are not what defines me as a man. Being a man is a relationship you have with the world around you based on the choices you make. Choice is the most important factor because it is what you truly have control over. My journey to becoming the man I am today, happy and fulfilled is the result of the choices I make. The results are a product of who I am.
In my life I have everything I could ever want. I have a life that money could not buy. I am happy and have the purpose of my expression fulfilled. The things that make my life great today, Maria, our baby on the way, our relationship, my work and sense of self aren’t possessions I have acquired, you can’t buy them. They are all a result of choices I have made in my life. The foundation built by my pains, barriers and tragedies allows me to be the man I am today.
I see a lot of articles with great concepts, good things to live by, but almost none that are backed up by life experience. It is just information, not something that has been challenged and shaped by life. Much like the checklist for being a man, it means nothing without life shaping its edge. We learn from reality, not from concept. Do not discount the human experience. One of the greatest things about communication, connection and the human experience is to how we learn from one another. How we relate, inspire and share each others stories, how we influence, exchange and change one another is what gives great concepts its validity. There isn’t enough of that.
They aren’t concepts, they are real. I lived them, and perhaps you can get some life from them as well. If I didn’t learn to make these choices and continue to make them, I wouldn’t have any of the things I value inside and outside of my life today.
Learn to be the Better Man.
Learn to Empower your Choice.
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