One thing that has excellent returns in life is to be a better man.
Whether it’s happier relationships, a deeper sense of confidence, or the satisfying success that self-development brings, there are plenty of reasons to uplevel yourself as a man.
So that’s what we’re going to get into today!
For context, this is the third post in a series.
Here are the first two for your reference:
- What It Is To Be A Man: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
- What Is Masculinity? Definition & Interplay w/ Femininity
In the first piece, we looked at what being a man means today, how that differs from yesterday, and where we’re going tomorrow.
The second piece discussed the core essence of masculine (penetrative) and feminine (receptive). We explored how those interact with each other, and another dimension (intensity) that adds so much variety for how we can be within ourselves and with each other.
Those first two pieces have served as a strong foundation for analyzing exactly what men and women can do to uniquely improve how we are toward each other.
Now in this third piece, we’ll cover how to be a better man. First, we’ll understand the masculine qualities you bring to the table, and we’ll use those as a jumping-off point for personal development, so you can be the kind of man you most want to be. I will also share the feminine counterpart so you can know what to look for in a woman. Finally, I’ll share how to develop across the board in all your relationships.
Self-improvement is different for introverted men.
I’m covering this here at Introverted Alpha because if you’re a more reserved man by nature, then a lot of common advice out there doesn’t feel like it applies to you.
If you’ve been trying to piece together random nuggets from a bunch of advice that doesn’t resonate with you, you’re not alone.
Take what this IA Reader shared, for example:
I listen to a lot of different podcasts looking for tips and perspectives on, well, being a better man I guess. I get a few tips here and there but they always felt like they were meant for someone else.
The things you spoke about were different and for the first time I felt like I fit in somewhere. I felt acknowledged and validated.
I’ve dated successfully but so much of it feels like I’m playing a strange game on someone else’s field. Looking forward to trying things differently.
If you feel similarly, I’m so glad you’re here.
Let’s look at what being a better man means as an introvert today.
Innate Strengths of Men, Women, and Adults
While all human beings have unique strengths, men have a particular set of innate strengths to bring out and enjoy. Women do too, so I will share each, as well as “being an adult” strengths that are not gender-specific.
Let’s now explore what these are and how to bring them out, whether in a high-stakes first impression environment like a job interview or a lower-stakes situation like hanging out with an old friend.
The more you understand and draw out your strengths, the better man you become.
Men’s Innate Qualities
Sometimes, when I see a man walking down the street, in a coffee shop, or even on television, I want to hug him.
I have a strong urge (that I’ve resisted up to this point due to social norms and constraints!) to touch his face, look into his eyes, and tell him that he’s wonderful and loved. In my mind’s eye, I then give him a hug and we go on our ways.
The reason I tell you this is to demonstrate the endearing and chivalrous qualities that so many men possess. These qualities emanate from them so strongly that I want to hug them even when they’re perfect strangers who are simply unselfconsciously going about their days.
That’s how special you guys are!
Here are three particular qualities you have deep down, coming from the masculine core of being penetrative:
Physical protection and provision
Remember in this post where we discussed “real man” / “good man”?
The first masculine quality I’d like to highlight is the “real man” aspect: physical protection and provision.
This has much less to do with your bank account or body type and much more to do with your intention and follow-through around being a strong man in the lives of those you love and whoever you consider under your protection.
As a man, this desire to protect is in your bones.
It comes out in things as big as taking care of a parent or child to as small as opening the door for someone who’s struggling.
Laser focus and productivity
There’s nothing like a man focused on building and furthering what he believes in.
Whether investing his focus into scientific discovery, a business milestone, or an athletic achievement; a successful man knows how to set goals and achieve them.
This is one of the sexiest things about men.
Women of course also set and achieve powerful goals daily. That said, when a man focuses on his mission, it feels different. There is nothing quite so beautiful and special as that.
Their brains can compartmentalize things in a way that enables such a laser focus that is quite attractive and productive. Just look at all the things men have built!
From train tracks around the world to sending off the first man into space, men have contributed so much through their focus on their goals.
Tremendous contributions and sacrifice
This element of contribution and sacrifice is the “good man” aspect of the “real man” / “good man” big picture referenced above.
Honorable, respected men are everywhere.
Every single day, men are making sacrifices for their families and those they love. From the navy to the chalkboard, men are solving problems.
From the father working two shifts, to the young man who shows up to cheer his friend on at a game; men are making various levels of sacrifice and contributions every day, from the difficult to the smooth.
And they all count.
Women’s Innate Qualities
As much as I love men (and I’ve made that very clear and will continue to!), I love women so, so much too.
Like refreshing water or a cool drink, the presence of a woman who has embraced her strengths can relieve us from the toils of life.
In their radiance and emotional freedom, women are like an escape that is real and gorgeous and true. Sirens in mythology were a deformation of this quality, because the true intrinsic gift of women is to captivate and refresh, to lead to life and not death.
At-peace, joyful women provide a beauty so freeing and specific that we can feel transported to another world.
Emotional leadership and freedom
One quality that allows them to be so very refreshing is their emotional leadership and freedom that they hold personally within themselves and that they give others in their presence.
Around a woman, we can feel deeply seen and wholly accepted at once.
No pain is too much for them to hold.
No shame is too unseemly for them to love.
This occurs when the woman sees and accepts herself and the full range of emotions and personal realities possible.
As women embrace this emotional capacity in themselves, the ripple-effects make astoundingly positive impacts on those around them. It’s quite freeing.
Valuing “goal-less” visceral meaningful experiences
Just as it’s beautiful the way that men have strong, clear goals and work towards them, it is also beautiful the way women have a more open-ended, goal-less, “let’s be here now” approach to life.
Now, please understand that we can flip the words “men” and “women” in that sentence, and we’d still be telling the truth! Any human can be any way; what I’m describing here are proclivities based on hormonal makeup in the genders.
Women can be quite open-ended and present in the moment.
This is part of what makes women a beautiful resting place for men. After all that goal-oriented hard work, it’s wonderful to come home to something more organic, more free-flowing.
And for women who are also goal-oriented all day, it is nice to come home to themselves! Switching from businesswoman or mother into just “woman” is a respite each woman can take for herself at the end of the day, even if it’s just a cup of tea in quiet appreciation for herself and the life she’s leading.
Encouraging, healing acceptance
In any social situation, it comes naturally for women to read what others are thinking and feeling, to gauge the emotional temperature of an individual and of a room.
Being comfortable and fluent in such things is a tremendous contribution to society because then everyone can feel more comfortable.
Women can translate intuition about what someone else is feeling into intuition about what to say or do to encourage even more joy in them.
It feels so good to be seen for all of who you are.
This willingness and even devotion to seeing others with acceptance is the healing gift that wise and loving women give.
Strengths for All Adults to Develop
There are many strengths that are there for the taking for all adults.
It is very helpful for us to develop these strengths within us to become better men and women.
Sharing One’s Unique Blend of Insight
In high school, I took a test that would determine my ideal career path. Here is a very short version of that assessment.
The assessment was organized around the following assumption:
When it comes to insight and areas of expertise, there are four main categories:
- Things (physical objects, mechanical, hands-on things)
- Data (numbers, facts, patterns, arrangements)
- People (human beings, emotions, interpersonal)
- Ideas (discoveries, learning, experiencing more)
Insight within Categories and Types
Quite interestingly, each of these categories corresponds to the “native language” of one of the four of Helen Fisher’s types we explored in the last article:
- Things <> Builder
- Data <> Director
- People <> Negotiator
- Ideas <> Explorer
By knowing your primary and secondary type in Helen Fisher’s model, you can also get an idea of which of these four focus areas you are most oriented towards.
As a Negotiator-Explorer, my main focus areas are People and Ideas, which is exactly correct.
When we’re aware of our dispositions and main interest areas, that’s the beginning of developing more in those so that we have even more to offer to ourselves and others.
Non-Reactivity in Relationships
Being non-reactive in your relationships means taking full responsibility for our own behavior, our own actions.
What this looks like is when something is irritating, rather than lashing out emotionally, one takes time to connect to oneself in the present moment.
Being non-reactive goes beyond the idea of, “It takes two to create a negative or positive situation,” and into a space of full responsibility and choice.
To be non-reactive in a conversation, you can consider:
- Do I desire to resolve this with this person and move forward in our relationship?
- How did I contribute (even if that’s only by associating with them, not realizing who they really were)?
- Now that I know more, how would I like to respond that would be self-respectful and in accordance with my values?
The more non-reactive we are as adults, the better relationships we have.
Not only do we reap the benefits personally, we also are able to set genuinely healthy examples for the other adults and children in our lives.
Also, being non-reactive with ourselves is a first step to being non-reactive with others. The more gentleness we show ourselves in our minds and hearts and bodies, the more we have to overflow for others.
Compassion <–> Directness
Having our own elegant blend of compassion and directness is a fantastic gift to share with others as adults.
Through the seasons of life, we see lots of things.
We experience more of ourselves and others, and as a result, we are opened up to more perspectives and exposed to more overall.
When we meet ourselves and the world with compassion and curiosity, we become better.
Then, as we complement that compassion and empathy with directness, we can understand our own and others’ perspectives and also be clear and communicative where we need to.
Depending on our innate personality and focus area, we either lean towards the compassionate side (Negotiator type, People focus area), or the direct side (Director type, Data focus area).
Whichever way we tend to lean towards, we can actively stretch our comfort zone to include more of the other side and thereby help round out our wisdom and grace.
Improving as Men and Women in All Relationships
Now, let’s take the masculine strengths, feminine strengths, and adulting strengths that we’ve explored so far, and apply them to how we can be better in all our relationships.
We’ll start with ways to become a better man with women, with other men, with oneself, and with children.
Then we’ll do the same thing with women, through the lens of what to look for in a quality woman.
Being A Better Man
Here’s how to be a better man with the women and men in your life, yourself, and children.
One thing to remember with women is that they love to be cherished.
Cherishing the women in your life is the most important gift you can give.
The dictionary definition of “cherish” is “to protect and care for (someone) lovingly.”
How gorgeous is that?
It goes beautifully with the innate strength of men to provide and protect.
You can show a woman you cherish her well outside of formal occasions like Valentine’s Day or her birthday, though those are good to acknowledge to whatever degree feels right for your relationship with any given woman.
Cherishing is most about how you feel and act towards her day-to-day.
And if you’re in a relationship with a woman who you find yourself not cherishing how you’d like to, you can clarify your relationship standards and break up with her in a thoughtful way.
What’s most important in any relationship is that you’re true to yourself and thoughtful with your decisions.
With Other Men
With men, one way you can show respect is by being a man of your word.
Not only does this show tremendous self-respect; it also is respectful toward the people you keep your word to.
Another way you can be a better man among men is to be generous with encouragement.
You can make sure they know the wonderful qualities you see in them, whether you show them through your words (compliments) or your actions (being there for someone, which shows respect).
The best gift you can give yourself is knowing and being true to your core values: the principles you hold most dear. (Our free ebook is an awesome resource for this.)
You can understand express your values, through big gestures like crossing items off your bucket list, to small gestures like giving yourself time to let your mind rest after a long day with a shower, a walk or workout, or however you best unwind.
Another thing you can do to get in touch with your physical side, especially as a way to gain energy before being social, is to be active for a few moments, perhaps with a set of jumping jacks or a few pushups before heading out the door. This can energize you and keep you in touch with that part of yourself, your physicality.
Also related to your body is your overall health, so make sure you schedule a physical exam regularly to monitor your blood pressure and other metrics important to a longterm valuing and upkeep of your physicality.
An awesome gift to give a child is the gift of eye contact. Why? Because it shows respect, that you see them.
By holding eye contact with them, you are valuing them as human beings.
It sounds so simple, but a lot of adults just gloss over children and don’t respect them as full human beings.
When you do, it will mean the world to them.
In setting a positive example for them, the best thing you can do is be true to yourself and treat others and yourself with respect, non-reactivity, and thoughtfulness.
What to Look for in Women
Now that you’ve gotten some practical ways to be a better man, let’s look at how to identify awesome women as well.
Just as women most desired to be cherished by men, men most desire to be admired by women.
The dictionary definition of “admire” is “regard (an object, quality, or person) with respect or warm approval.”
How amazing is that?
It goes wonderfully with the feminine quality of encouragement and healing acceptance.
The right women for you in your life are those who accept and respect you as you are today.
Rather than expect you to be a perfect man, an awesome woman for you will employ her feminine strengths of acceptance and emotional freedom for you each to relax and be yourselves around each other.
That doesn’t mean being sloppy; it just means being free from a suffocating air of judgment or unhappiness, which is why relationship standards are so important.
To be with the right person for you from the start means you won’t have to shove anything under the rug in order to enjoy and be enjoyed by the person in front of you.
A free and refreshing woman’s attitude towards each man in her life is, “I admire him for the way he lives his life already, and I love watching him become his own version of a better man every day.”
The most satisfying relationships are ones where everyone is developing and learning.
With Other Women
A woman who is kind and loving will be that way towards other women. She’ll be excited to see other women do well. She’ll also be able to read women well, and she’ll generally have a positive and open attitude towards the women she meets.
As for her friends, when you meet them, they’ll also be radiant, positive people.
Very rarely will you hear complaining from a good woman or from her friends.
This is because they are so empowered to make their own lives beautiful that they don’t relate with others in a complaining way but in a proactive and gentle way.
A woman who is refreshing and inspiring to you… refreshes and inspires herself.
That’s how she is that way! Because she gives all her gifts to herself.
You’ll notice, as you get to know her, that she takes time just for her own relaxation and enjoyment, whether that’s time to jog, to bathe, to bake, or to read… however she most enjoys herself.
The fruits of this self-enjoyment are peacefulness and joy, which you can feel in her presence.
An amazing woman feels at ease with children and respectful of them.
This doesn’t mean she loves to mother, per se, or wants children of her own. It just means that when a child is in front of her, she loves that child. She sees them in a warm and affirming way.
You can see this in the way she looks at them with warm, smiling eyes.
Whether she is relaxed or bright with children, they are certainly smiling back at her as an effect of that!
In conclusion, here’s what being a better man entails:
- Developing the innate strengths you have deep down as a man
- Knowing the innate strengths of women, for context
- Building your “being an adult” strengths (which we can all always improve on)
- Being a better man with women, men, yourself and children
- Recognizing a great woman based on what you observe in her relationships
To change and become your personal unique best is the adventure of a lifetime.
When approached with openness and patience with the longterm in mind, personal growth feels energizing and fulfilling.
I hope that you’ve moved a little closer to your goals by reading this article.
And if you’d like more, download our ebook on finding your own strengths as your own distinctive man. The exercise is inside on page 8 inside. You can learn more and get the ebook in your inbox right here.