Unfortunately, saying Man Up is sarcasm and a derogatory statement. A backhanded, sarcastic comment does little more than belittle a man. Like calling a woman that has been pampered and is a spoiled brat a Princess.
To be clear
Definition of sarcasm
1: a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain
2: a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual
Sarcasm & Honesty
Man Up is sarcasm used by both men and women, even when you have the best intentions in mind. Shame disguised as encouragement. People fear to point out problems, fear of the backlash, fear of offending someone, and fear of speaking the truth.
If a man is fat, tell him so; if a man is whiny, tell him so; if a man acts feminine, tell him so. Being direct and honest with your words moves it from the realm of shame to recognizing a problem. Once you say to a man these things, offer to show him the path to improvement and hold him accountable. Seeing a problem, point it out, and then not giving way to solve it accomplishes nothing.
Society is all about the degradation of another to get oneself a step up on the success ladder. Showing good merit and working hard should be the way to get promoted and move up in life. However, the sharks smell blood and become a feeding frenzy.
Weakness or Stupidity
During an obstacle course, a man severely twists an ankle, telling him to Man Up and push through is shaming a man for a perceived weakness. When possibly causing more injury in the long run, all from a bit of sarcasm.
A man’s father dies, he needs time to grieve, telling him to Man Up is telling him that his emotion is a weakness. He does not need sarcasm in his life at this moment, he needs other men that understand his pain.
Instances of sarcasm like these that shame a man can push a man to hide his emotions. Pushing him into a preconceived box that he is never good enough, which leads right to depression.
Once the ankle is healed. The grieving for the father is done, then it is time to move on. Yet this has nothing to do with Manning Up. It is a process of injury and healing which strengthens a man.
Being a Man
Then the next thought is this, what dictates being a man?
How much weight can you lift? Ok, compared to whom.
How smart are you? Well, compared to whom.
How many women have you bedded? How much money you make, can you survive in the wilderness, can you keep a marriage together?
These are all open-ended questions with no real answers, just ideas of what a person thinking them are at the time. That change over time as one becomes older and learns more of what it means to be a man.
Each man needs to decide what being a man is, with primary guild lines and balance of body, mind, and spirit.
Learning to be a Man
The simple answer to learn to be a man is from other men. The problems arise when you go beyond the basics, and each man seems to have his own answer to what it is to be a man.
This is where the basics kick in, of taking care of yourself, being fit/healthy, and defending what is yours or what you care about. Which is very general in the overall spectrum of life. You start adding in honor, virtue, knowledge, even more, layers begin to appear.
Will, a warrior, have the same skills as those of a blacksmith. Yes, they could have the skills. However, each has become a master in their profession. Is one man less of a man than the other? For without the warrior, the blacksmith would not be protected. Without the blacksmith, the warrior will not have armor to protect him, and both would go hungry, but for the farmer in the fields each day.
There is a turning point in each man’s life when he realizes he is no longer a boy and has become a man. There are rites of passage that give definite points in time. Some of these rites are forced by outside influence. While others are others that you put yourself into willingly.
No matter which way the rite of passage is administered, the more critical piece of knowledge to understand is the real change is internal in yourself. Often an “ah ha” moment, and other times generally during a time of self-reflection, you realize you have changed.
The first ritual, the rite of passage, is usually the most prominent in one’s thoughts and talked about and told to others. Throughout a man’s life, there will be many rites of passage. In work, sports, fraternities, and family, you should welcome these moments as you continue to grow.
Continue to Define
Do not let the sarcasm of “Man Up” when said to you, affect you. Look at the man or woman who said it and realize they are coming from the point of weakness and working to tear you down to look or sound more significant than they are.
Define what being a man means to you, then go after it with savage abandonment. Continue to obtain knowledge, work on your honor, keeping your integrity in check. Be comfortable in the fact you have decided what being a man is.
Fathers, you have been given a special gift in that you are the one to teach your sons about being a man. Do not pass this gift onto another. Own it, ask for help when needed, and do not neglect one of your duties of raising your son.
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