Being a gentleman is about something far beyond opening car doors and having great manners. It’s about being who you are with no shame and no apology. It’s about making amazing connections with others — men and women alike. It’s about knowing you always have a wealth of choices available to you, and it’s about having the confidence to make those choices based on what’s interesting to you, and more importantly, what actually works for you. Essentially, being a gentleman puts you firmly in the driver’s seat of your life. Here’s how you do it.
1. KNOW THAT VULNERABILITY IS STRENGTH
One of the most empowering choices you can make as a man is to take off your mask and say, “Hello world. Here I am. If you’re with me, awesome. If you’re not, still awesome.” There is something so fearless and so confident about that. Rather than being about weakness, vulnerability is very much about strength. Why? Because lowering your barriers and letting people see the real you, including your flaws, fears and doubts, takes guts. It’s the avoidance of vulnerability — avoidance of being our real selves — that keeps us weak.
2. STOP THE SELF-CRITICISM
As a society, we’re addicted to judgment. Most of the time we’re not even aware we’re doing it. It’s as if we’re programmed to constantly assess our performance: e.g. how we look, how we sound, how funny we’re being… and when we don’t meet whatever standard we set for ourselves, we beat ourselves up. Judgment is such a destructive mindset; and it’s so limiting. The only way to stop doing it… is to stop doing it! This is where YOUR CHOICE comes in. Next time you look in a mirror, notice what thoughts come up. If they’re in the arena of judgment, simply say to yourself: STOP. Choose a different thought. Focus on something you like about yourself instead. Or make a funny ugly face, roar, and kill the judgement with laughter! The point is: notice how often you judge yourself and make a conscious effort to reduce that. This is your gateway to liking yourself: the trademark of a gentleman.
3. LET GO OF THE PAST
Do you ever play that old videotape in your mind? You know the one. It’s labeled, “Every Bad Decision I Ever Made!” (In Technicolor). We can get fixated on dredging up the past, wondering why we did that, wore that, said that, didn’t say that… and it’s so draining! And it serves no purpose at all, except to get us to keep judging us as men. Recognize this: you can only ever do your best with the tools you have at any time. Really make the commitment to stop judging yourself — past, present and future. See mistakes as lessons learned. Chalk them up as experience, be grateful for the awareness it gave you, and move on.
4. NOTICE WHERE YOU’RE ALREADY BEING A GENTLEMAN
Take a moment to think about what being a gentleman means to you. Is it about being kind? Standing up for yourself? Trying new experiences? It could be none of those things, or all of these things and a hundred more. It is different for every guy. For me, it’s liking the guy looking back at me in the mirror. Just choose one thing you’d like to be more of — for you, no one else — and look over your past for a time when you were that. And give yourself some credit. Recognize you have already shown up as a gentleman in the world and know you can unlock more of it if you want to.
5. CHART YOUR OWN COURSE
When you embrace this new way of framing masculinity, you let go of the definitions that have kept you limited. You get to carve your own path in life — and that’s one of the most notable aspects of being a gentleman. You recognize that life isn’t something that happens to you; rather, it’s something you craft and forge yourself. That’s your potency. Know that you can be at the helm of your ship, while staying open to being surprised. As a gentleman, you don’t need all the answers. Ask questions. Be curious. Ride the waves. And above all, enjoy the ride — you have nothing to lose but your limitations.
P.S. For five more additional ways to unlock your inner gentleman, please visit the full article in Maxim here.
P.S.S. And for more tools and tips, please check out my new book called Return of the Gentleman! It’s a start of a different possibility that we as men – and as women – can choose if we are willing to give up the stereotypes of men, and go beyond the points of views of this reality. Go here to find out more! 🙂