Being a badass: Creating the Person You Always Wished You Could Be
Identity. This is a big topic and it’s frankly hard to know where to begin. It’s a word and a concept that stays pretty vague and abstract but an important issue that we, at Orion, are aggressively confronting. Males are lost like ships without a rudder. The currents of society push us away from what will give us real identity and purpose. Too many of us are even lacking a good understanding of what identity really means in part because we haven’t been able to get a good handle on our own sense of who we are and too often I just find that males lose themselves in relationships with females.
We’ve lost good examples of positive male identity which seem to have been relegated to history though I think there are plenty of great examples of male badasses; we just have to look for them. The dominant narratives highlight the males that are doing horrible things and waving it around to make it look as though all of us are not only capable of doing things that are just as monstrous but also that deep down, we are just like them. Feminism has been shouting from rooftops that all males are born violent and born rapists. “They’re all dangerous,” they often say and we are lead to believe that deep down, we are naturally violent and want to cause harm to others. As a result, we become afraid to explore our psyche’s and our identity because we have become afraid that certain things about us might be true and that in the process of self-discovery we will awaken some monster within us that will take over. Our only redemption, we have been lead to believe, is to become more like our sanctimonious counterparts.
Here in 2019, we are in desperate need to rediscover and re-invent our male identities. We don’t know who we are anymore in part because we have been raised by women and our positive male role models have fallen into the shadows and in the process of deciding who we are, we often tend to adopt values and follow paths that we believe will make us good instead of what is really consistent with who and what we really want to be. In this, we fail to practice integrity which is absolutely vital, not only in terms of identity but also confidence and self-esteem. What we have failed to realize and understand is that being true to our best selves is what makes us good. I often see a lot of women talking about what it means to be a real man which I think is insane, women can’t tell us how to be real men because they aren’t male.
I have become convinced, now more than ever, that our collective failure to thrive, as males, is partially because we have lost our identity. We struggle to develop our values, our interests and our ability to act in autonomous ways without getting a nod from the powers that be. It’s as though we have come to believe that we need permission to act and to be. We want people to be proud of us but I content that it’s far more important for us to be proud of ourselves which is one of the basic definitions of having self-esteem.
Being a badass
Years ago when I was part of a men’s group and helping it run, I started getting the guys that attended to introduce themselves as a badass. Before this, they were usually introducing themselves as a nice guy or a nice guy in recovery. Their body language spoke the volumes in their psyche about the lost weakling that they believed that they were. They said that they were a nice guy because they identified themselves as the run of the mill doormat that tries to get his needs met by pleasing others. The changes in their body language were stark, in comparison, when they were introducing themselves as badasses. This practice became a permanent fixture, there are so many of these guys that insist on doing this now as standard practice because they like to identify as a badass.
What’s interesting, is that I haven’t usually had to explain what it means to be a badass. So many guys just get it. When they say it, it’s almost like they can feel it in their bones. It resonates through them, like a frequency. So many of them just seem to know what a badass is and when I ask them what badasses do in a given situation, they usually nail it. They just seem to inherently have a sense of what it means to be a badass but because we’re committed to providing roadmaps to our lost brothers, here is the short list for key elements for being a badass.
- Conviction – A badass knows what he believes in and he knows why he believes in it. Conviction is what we get through personal experience and usually painful ones but it’s those painful experiences that usually give us something to fight for. Sometimes conviction means standing out and standing alone but it’s our conviction that can give us the courage to stand alone. When we have conviction, we’re not going down without a fight.
- Passion – Conviction and passion are pretty similar but passion drives us forward and gives us a reason to get out of bed every day. Passion seems to be something that we’re born with compared to conviction which we develop through life experiences. What we’re passionate about just seems to be in our blood and it’s something that we need to find it within us.
- Integrity – Integrity is probably one of the more misunderstood principles and I first built a working concept of it when I understood what it meant to be personally congruent. When I was young and in therapy, I realized that I was not congruent with myself and when I worked to change that, a lot of good things happened because I was increasing my integrity. I found personal empowerment there that I didn’t expect to find.
- Respect for self and others – How you treat others really is something that defines who you are as a person. Be respectful directly to people and behind their backs. Don’t say anything behind their back that you’re not willing to say directly to their face. One of my mentors, years ago, challenged me to ‘honor the absent’ which just basically means that you don’t talk about people behind their backs. It’s a lot easier to respect yourself when you’re giving respect to others. It’s easier to give yourself respect when you’re behaving in respectful ways. Badasses act and behave out of respect, they act like a person that commands and receives respect because it’s an emotional return on investment. Investing in respect brings respect back to you
- Stoicism and composure – Badasses strive to maintain a level of stoicism and emotional control. Stoicism is a philosophy based on a series of cognitive strategies. We basically have two main sides to our brain, the emotional brain and the logical brain and stoicism is meant to help you use your logical brain actively. People that rely on their emotional brain are chaotic and dysfunctional. When the world is going crazy, badasses are calm. When female partners are losing their emotional composure, badasses increase it. Badasses are a stone in the storms of life. I have recently seen stoicism painted in a bad light and compared, basically, to sociopathology. Being stoic and being a sociopath are entirely different things and you should never take guidance from anyone who is unable to discern the difference.
There’s a lot more to being a badass but the rewards are immense. Even for the pure and simple fact that you just feel comfortable in your own skin. Engage in your own pursuit of personal excellence. You get one life and it’s the only thing that you will ever really have; make it count.