As a man, one of the most powerful concepts I’ve learned is the idea of framing, the awareness that the most sacred thing about a man is the integrity of his own mind. It’s the notion that a man must have such a strong conviction of his core values that nothing in his external environment can shake him of his self-belief or remove him from his path. This is the power of a man who has full possession of his own mind.
The great, American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote a powerful essay called, Self-Reliance. The following is a short passage from this essay that sums up the idea of framing and how important it is for a man to be free from the opinions of others: “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.
It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
Of course, we can get deep into a philosophical discussion about the importance of not being so bullheaded and stuck in our thinking that we have difficulty gaining the support of others to truly make a difference in the world. But we won’t. I used this quote because it serves the idea of ‘framing’ perfectly in that it’s better to avoid being a slave to the opinions of others so that you can choose outside advice and knowledge much more freely.
What you think and believe about yourself, your life, your loved ones, your career, etc. should have more value to you than how everyone else views it. Passing a woman’s tests requires a self-approved frame of mind; therefore being dependent on outside opinions will only lead to failure.
You cannot lead a woman, or anyone else for that matter, if you crave being popular. To have a rock-solid, masculine frame is to commit to who you are, knowing that you’re unwilling to sacrifice who you are just to make someone else happy. Men without a strong frame may find that they often change their opinions and behaviors around different groups of people.
They are chameleons that usually aren’t sure of who they are regardless of how confident they may pretend to be on the outside. Men like this struggle the most not only with being tested by women, but being tested by life in general.
Here’s a simple example of a man maintaining his frame with his buddy: Let’s say you were going to the movies and a good friend arrived to pick you up. It’s a late showing and you decide to throw on a cap because you just love how caps look on you. Your buddy arrives, glances at you for a moment, raises an eyebrow, and asks, “You’re wearing a hat?” The subtext behind his questioning is, “Dude, there’s no sun in the movie theater. You’ll look silly. Take it off and let’s go.” A man with a weak frame might try to explain his choice of apparel. He may even feel silly and take it off.
A man with a strong frame, who’s fully convinced of his sense of style, might say something like, “And you’re not?” Boom. He re-framed the exchange to illustrate that he’s confident with his choice, he doesn’t care what anyone thinks, and most importantly, that he’s somewhat baffled as to why his friend wouldn’t wear one as well.
Men with strong frames look on the inside to see if they’re on the right path.
They often look at the outside world wondering why more people aren’t doing it the way they are. Men with weak frames do just the opposite. They are always looking on the outside as they try to do things as right and perfect as they can. And when they do look inward all theysee are the mistakes they’re making and the things that need fixing. Don’t do this. I can tell you from personal experience that this is no way for a man to live his life. So do yourself a favor and stop living in a perpetual cycle of self-doubt. It’s unmanly.
Do you now see the dangers to your relationships and the anxietyinducing stress that can come from having a weak frame as a man? Good, because so do women. And they will test the living daylights out of you until you figure out who you are as a man and confidently assert those inner convictions.
Resist the impulse to torture yourself by caring too much about what other people think of you. It’s a habit of thought, a type of mental conditioning, and just like any other habit it can be unlearned over time.
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