The 12 Commandments For Being A Real Man

Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina.

I live in exciting times. I am in Argentina but I am not in Argentina. Together with the Good Men Project Basic Goodness (me) will organize 2 workshops in New York City that I will lead. The trigger for starting this joint venture were my posts on so-called Psycho Bitches From Hell (here and here). They seemed to speak to a lot of readers, more than 30.000, both male and female. At the same time I felt misunderstood by some and I felt a desire to really clarify things around masculinity, femininity and consciousness. I wrote a proposal to the CEO of Good Men Media, the men and women at TGMP responded really enthusiastic, I found a cool venue in New York and now the only thing we need are participants. In my experience our promotion starts too late but I hope we compensate for that with our enthusiasm. I like our potential for synergy in working together with TGMP. With their website they try to contribute to the evolution of men (and women) and with my workshops I try to do the same. By joining forces the virtual meet the physical, which I think is crucial. Reading a website alone is not enough to change your life, I feel. On the other hand, personal interaction with someone who knows how to bring out the blind spots can be really powerful. I really hope we will be successful and we will do a lot more workshops together in the future. The sacrifice that I am making is that I am with my head already in New York while my body is here in Argentina.

If you look at the search words that lead people to my website you would get the impression that I am a specialist in ‘being manly’. I owe my authority primarily to my most successful post “12 things every guy should know to become a real man”. Today I will review that post and see if I still agree with what I wrote 2 years ago.

What I didn’t say in the original post was that I owe pretty much all the insights to my awakening experience of March 2004, at 32 years old. That day something broke, my old ‘I” died: I shed a skin. When my old skin, my identity, fell on the floor, shattered in a million pieces, I realized that the ‘I’ I had believed to be true was in fact artificial and – more importantly in the context of today – quite immature. The moment it happened I instantly felt I become a whole and complete man. It was quite auspicious that this happened to me: I grew up without a father or other close male role models. What it meant to be a man I had to figure out by myself. Fortunately I have been blessed with plenty of testosterone so on a physical level I felt pretty sure of my case (forgetting that my puberty came late, to my despair back then). But emotionally there was a lot of work needed and the whole spiritual department was one big blind spot. All this I found out the day that all the walls came down at once.

What I write below are the laws of masculinity as they were revealed to me. I live according to these laws because not obeying means I am betraying my essence. The ego-state most of us spend their entire life in is a state of ongoing betrayal. Of course I didn’t know this before. I used to think for example that winning was good and defeating others gave me a good feeling. Just to let you know that I wasn’t born with this enlightened vision and that I played the ego-game intensely for a quite a while. (Now I know that it is beautiful to master something completely, nothing wrong with being excellent. But defeating others to gain a sense of self-worth is missing the point and only serves to compensate lack of self-worth).

Many women have pointed out that pretty much all the points apply to women too. I was not aware of that when I wrote the post but it makes sense. I am man who became ‘whole’. My context is being a man. But in a way the laws I have learned to obey are universal laws of Life. Later this week I will look at the feminine essence and see if I can write something for women. Funny thing is that to do that I will look at the feminine essence in myself, which is now available to me. This is of course one of the things we guys learn to suppress.

Anyway, let’s get started. Two years ago I typed this list in my phone while waiting for my order of Thai food. I did it off the cuff. With hindsight I find it interesting how complete I feel the list is. Sometimes consciousness just flows through us, unhindered by the thinking mind. When our small self gets out of the way our higher self can express itself. I still have the hope (or illusion) that one day I will live in that place of effortless presence permanently. But I am getting side-tracked. Let me share with you the list of features I honestly feel a mature man must own, be or do:

1. Be fearless

Being fearless does not mean being without fear, being fearless means admitting your fears and going beyond them. A real man is not in denial of his fears, holding up a mask of invulnerability but is willing to face his fears and work on them. He has the courage to do things that frighten him when the situation calls for it. A real man knows that the path towards fearlessness is endless.

2. Be resilientNelsonMandela2 12 things every guy should master to become a real man

A man should be flexible and reliable at the same time. If necessary he can start all over again at any given moment. Whatever happens; his house was burnt down, his crop failed, he lost his job, his wife had a miscarriage: even if he has mourning to do he starts all over again. A real man accepts his fate but doesn’t become a victim of it.

3. Live, speak and listen from the heart

A real man doesn’t hide his feelings and intentions. He is not afraid to be gentle nor afraid to be sad. He is in touch with his emotions and is able to express them. He has the courage to live his dream and the space to listen compassionately.

4. Own your anger

A real man owns his anger. His anger has transformed into masculine compassion. He can be angry, strong, decisive and courageous. His anger serves his presence and the presence of others. It is not a humiliating or destructive type of anger. The latter happens when a man is a slave of his anger, that’s the anger of the coward trying to overcompensate his feelings of inferiority. This is just as sad as a man completely disconnected from his anger. He becomes emasculated and has no power at all. Other men don’t take him seriously. Women can smell immature anger and emasculatedness from a mile away and don’t find it sexy. Mature anger, on the other hand, is a big turn on.

5. Make meaning

Try not to become a man of success, try to become a man of value. Einstein said that. I think that’s true and important. If you fill your days with doing something that pays the bills but is essentially meaningless you are wasting your precious life. Yes, even if it pays the bills so handsomely that you can spend 2 months per year on adventurous holidays and eat in fancy restaurants, you are still wasting your life.  A real man has the balls to travel outside his comfort zone to make a sincere attempt to contribute to mankind. He works for the greater good instead of for the sake of protection of his self image and clinging to the illusion of safety.

6. Own your edge

This life is a journey and we all are somewhere on our path. A real man is honest about where he is at in his development. He doesn’t pretend to be wiser or more evolved than he actually is nor does he shrink so that others won’t feel insecure around him. He knows his strengths and his weaknesses and not ashamed of either. That there is always work to do is a given to him. He knows where he has his work to do and is willing to listen and learn from those who have done that work.

7. Be vulnerable

A coward is always trying to hide his weak spots, a real man works on them. He is willing and able to reveal himself even in the midst of pain. He is vulnerable because he wants to be vulnerable. By opening up in every moment he is continuously practicing his courage. It’s his way of defeating his own cowardice.

8. Make love passionately

A real man does not hold back. When he makes love he opens up to all his rawness and all his tenderness and he gives his woman everything he has got. He does not shy away from intimacy. He can penetrate his woman so completely and intensely that she can feel that he is entering her soul. He aims for her heart. He makes her feel like a princess and a porn star simultaneously.

Oh, and when he is really a next-level stud he has mastered the art of injaculation, he can circulate the sexual energy effortlessly and thus facilitates divine bliss to his partner and himself. He is the embodiment of Shiva, his woman the embodiment of Shakti. Love-making becomes a way to Enlightenment. But to be honest, I am not there (yet).

9. Practice a martial art

When push comes to shove every man should be able to defend his wife, children and honor. Just like we teach our children to swim to prevent them from drowning a man should know at least enough basic fighting skills so he can throw a punch in case of an emergency. A real man has spent enough time in a ring or dojo to ensure a deescalating presence. He does not panic, is not easily provoked and has some strength and skills.

10. Have a sense of humor (don’t take yourself so fucking seriously)

A real man can hold both the utter importance and the utter unimportance of life at the same time. He can see his own failures and flaws and joke about that. Since he knows his self image is just an image he feels no need to defend that image. He can uplift a tense situation with a joke but he isn’t the immature joker that abuses humor as a tool for escaping intimacy or sabotaging intensity. A real man has the capacity to light up the room. A real man embraces life.

11. Develop body, mind and spirit

A real man is devoted to the development of body, mind and spirit. Not to stay ahead of other men, not out of fear of being defeated, but because he has more to offer when he is healthy and present. Taking care of his body makes him fit and strong, taking care of his mind makes him clever and sharp, taking care of his spirit makes him wise, warm and compassionate. A real man knows that his body and mind are mortal but that the love he spreads during his life remains.

12. Be real

In the end a real man knows that he is just a guy. He does all these things because that’s what he is: a man. He likes hanging out with other men, he might drink beer during football, he loves his woman and he works wholeheartedly. Basically, he is just trying to do his best to make the most of life and is having some fun while doing that. His sweat is honest, his heart is open and his back is straight.

Resuming: 2 years after the initial post I only slightly changed #8. I am still very much behind all the others.


  1. says

    Hee lieverd,
    Wat ben je goed bezig. Wish i could say the same hahaha Maar merk dat als je de verkeerde mensen in je leven toelaat dat alles de verkeerde kant op kan gaan. Zo heeft mijn laatste ex een ravage aangericht, waar ik nog niet uit ben. Maar goed shit happens (for a reason I guess) en ik vecht door voor mijn kids. Heel toevallig zat ik gisteren te denken over het begrip mannen 😉 En ik denk; dat ben je niet automatisch. Dat is een titel die je hoort te verdienen: man zijn! Helaas heb ik blijkbaar gezwommen in de pool van niet mannen en moet ik nu weer revalideren om de andere pool te vinden en een duik te nemen. It takes a lot of courage after this experience though ;-/
    Maar zo gek dat ik dan je nieuwsbrief lees en dan staat daar precies waar ik dus aan dacht en hoe ik erover dacht. Zo gek!!!
    Ik ga jouw 12 commandments op mijn facebook plaatsen. Wie weet ontstaan er zo wat meer ECHTE mannen 😉


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