After a breakup and you're trying to get over your ex, your manliness is significantly called into question. How could you let this happen? How did you fail at this relationship? Are you less of a man now?
If your relationship was overly codependent where you relied on your significant other to provide all of your happiness, then you likely neglected your primal urges and needs to express your manliness.
To add to that, masculinity has been on the decline for decades. With each new generation, the connection with our own unique manliness degrades over time. Your dad likely embodied more of a masculine approach to life, and your grandfather more then him.
It’s not your fault. It’s a function of societal evolution. Back in the day, you would pass time outdoors, chop down firewood for the night, and develop great connections with friends and family through interesting conversations.
Now, there are so many distractions in daily life that aggressively tether us to our TV or mobile device. This is a habit that can absorb you in unhealthy ways where you neglect getting out there and doing “manly” things.
Genders have evolved in a major way as well. Women are becoming inherently more masculine and men are embodying more feminine traits. Instead of a hot shave and simple haircut, the metrosexual movement has guys lining up for manicures and facials. Now, I’m all about looking and feeling good, but you can't let it compromise who you are at the core.
What better time than after a breakup to reexamine your manly roots. Your newly found liberty gives you a platform to dig deep and reconnect with your masculinity that’s dying to reemerge and erupt. It’s built into our DNA. Here are a few ways to rekindle that connection.
Reconnect with nature – Let’s take things back to its natural form. No commercials. No Facebook. No fast food. No Angry Birds. Book a weekend to a completely naturally isolated venue like the Teton mountains, Machu Picchu, a canoe trip down through the boundary waters, or camping in the Keys. Surrounding yourself with nature’s beauty takes us back to simpler days where you have to protect and provide for yourself.
Another fun shift in mindset is to organize your eating habits around hunting and gathering. There’s nothing more satisfying than taking on the sea, snagging a massive tuna, and coming home to scale it up and grill out. Combine that with your own garden of herbs, fruits and vegetables that you can use for the sides. There are few things more satisfying than preparing a meal consisting solely of elements that you singlehandedly provided.
At a minimum, spend more time outside in your day to day. Take your lunch to the park. Walk outside after dinner. Keep your windows down on the way to work, or better yet, ride your bike. Do your own yard work rather than paying somebody to do it for you.
Purging your life of the flurry of everyday chaos and realigning your vibe with nature will allow your mind to focus, free of distraction and challenge you in new ways.
Lift heavy things – There’s nothing more manly than powering through a dead lift personal record with a guttural grunt bringing the barbell off the ground. Lifting heavy weights is proven to spark testosterone production and connects you with the most primal forces in your body.
Get out and flip over a giant tire. Swing a kettle bell. Chuck a medicine ball around with a buddy. Think about the scene in Rocky IV, where Sly is training in snowy mountains in Russia lifting small boulders and lifting carriages typically intended for horses. Less time on the elliptical and more that.
Get competitive – Think back to high school or college when you were involved in competitive activities. Could have been football, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, or even chess and debate. Doesn’t matter what it was, reinvigorating that level of healthy competition ignites a level of adrenaline that will make you feel alive again.
Your local rec center or park likely has a ton of activities and leagues that you can join. Check out sites like Meetup.com for more like-minded people looking to join up for some healthy competition.
Acquire a new skill – Challenge yourself in building a new skillset will propel your inner manliness to new levels. Instead of taking your car into the mechanic, do your own oil change. Are there things around the house that need fixing? Figure it out DIY-style. And if you’re not that handy naturally, join an organization like Habitat for Humanity where you can pitch in to help the cause.
Maybe you’ve never been able to nail a perfect back flip into the pool. It doesn’t really matter what it is. Pick something that you’ve always hesitated to become proficient at and get it done. Setting a challenging goal for yourself and achieving it will build your confidence in new ways.
Now, I’m not saying to reconnect with your masculinity, you need to pound your chest and transform into the negative perception that often precedes an “alpha male.” But, being more connected with your inner manliness boasts a bevy of benefits.
You’ll naturally be more attractive to women. Women love guys that exude a subtle, quite confident sense of manliness. You will naturally exude a presence that will resonate well with the opposite sex.
When properly developed, that manly confidence is something people will feel it when you enter a room. You will own the space you inhabit as opposed to merely occupying it.
Get outside. Learn some new skills. Challenge your body and mind in new ways. Put down the smartphone and pickup some heavy things. Your ancestors from eons ago will thank you…
variation of this post originally appeared on The Good Men Project