Do you want to be happy? Then you must develop a happy consciousness. Do you want to be wealthy? Then it’s imperative that you develop a wealth consciousness. Do you want more friends? Develop a friend consciousness.
But what about becoming a better man in your relationships with those you love? What must we as men do to become better husbands, better relationship partners and better mates? The same formula follows: Develop a better man consciousness. Becoming better men is a conscious choice.
We cannot become better in our affinity with others until we become better in our bond with self – and that accord must begin with a right relationship with God.
The fact is becoming a better man dwarfs becoming a better husband or relationship partner by ten times. Becoming a better man in relationship requires that we expand our idea of what it means to be a man.
‘Husband’, ‘relationship partner’ then become the construct and context we form to improve our understanding of the crucial role we play in the context of successful union.
We need better men for our children and families; we need better men for our communities and for our country. We most definitely need better men for the women who love us. A better man consciousness, though, requires difficult mental labor and soul-searching. Most of all, it requires a desire that transcends one’s excuses.
There are many sources from which we can draw in our journey towards becoming better men; the Holy Bible is my guide – there may be other sources for you. The bottom line is we are responsible for improving the current version of who we are and doing what is within our power to maximize our potential – first as men – then as men within a context of relationship. Here are four principles (among many) for developing a better man consciousness that will help you become better in relationship.
Rise Above Your Challenges
The first step in developing a better man consciousness is to understand you were not meant to remain where you are. Do not settle in the past. Or, as the sign I recently saw on a corner street put it: Don’t park here! Divorce and separation do not define you. Past failure in relationship do not constrict your potential for future relationship success.
Your present situation is just that: where you are now. Your challenge is to rid yourself of ‘excusitis’ and move forward. Obstacles were not made to conquer you; you were made to conquer obstacles. It’s the stuff in you that will make you rise – the intestinal fortitude that will transform you into a winner. Wherever you are, just remember: you were not meant to stay there.
The author Denis Waitley was on point when he said, Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.
Engage the People Around You
The second step for increasing our better man consciousness is to engage the people around us. Why is it important to engage the people around you and how does this increase your better man consciousness? In a word: opportunity. Increasing your better man consciousness opens you to new avenues of expression and being. Expand your horizons and your experiences. Do things and go places you’ve never been or were reluctant to go.
A dream, writes Howard Thurman, is the bearer of a new possibility, the enlarged horizon, the great hope.
Dream big, men! When you make the right connections, you underscore your desire to win. What’s important here is ‘right connections’; don’t waste time trying to please people who do not like you. Invest your time with proven winners. If you are the smartest person in the group, time to get another group.
Seek Productive Inlets
The third way to increase our better man consciousness is to seek productive and creative inlets. An inlet is a small arm of the sea. In this case, ‘sea’ represents the vast knowledge of self-growth at our disposal. A sea may have been one of disappointment and setback. But guess what? Every sea – whether a positive or negative experience – has an inlet.
Inlets lead to outlets. In fact, I’d suggest that our inlets are more important than our outlets.
Outlets lead to an increase in better man consciousness. Inlets are simply ways to improve your current standing in the world, whether it’s something as simple as honing your financial skills, reading self-help books or mentoring a group of young men. An inlet deepens your self-understanding and awareness. Whatever is invested inwardly is outwardly manifested. It’s really how we interpret our experiences that matters most. Nelson Mandela, after spending decades as a jailed activist, toward the end of his illustrious life, said, There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
What positive ‘inlet’ brings out the best in you? What makes you feel good and derive a sense of joy? Is it coaching a young boys’ athletic team? Volunteering at the local homeless shelter? Here’s the key: it is usually in giving rather than receiving that we feel our best.
Lift as You Climb
The final step in developing our better man consciousness is to lift as we climb. One of our greatest milestones in becoming better men is not what we do for ourselves only, but what we do for others. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Life’s most persistent question is, ‘What have you done for others?’We rise only in proportion to how we lift. Our community needs men who not only want to be better but help others become better, as well.
A West African proverb states: I am because we are. We are because I am. How do we accomplish this in a culture that prides the maxim of self and the tenet of individualism?
It’s an attitude, mostly. It requires one to often revisit what Ralph Waldo Emerson really meant when he implored his generation that, The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you lived and lived well.
We can transcend our limitations and increase our potential for better relationships by developing a better man consciousness. This can be achieved by rising above our challenges, engaging the world around us, seeking productive inlets and by lifting as we climb.
Pastor W. Eric Croomes is an author and motivational speaker. You can reach him at PastorCroomes@Outlook.com and on Facebook as Pastor W. Eric Croomes.