Important, Hard-Won Lessons on the Journey of Becoming a Man

Reviewed & fact-checked
I was well in to my thirties before I became a man.

Sure my voice had broken, my balls had dropped, and I’d had hair on my chest for a long time.

Obviously these things do NOT define a ‘Man’.

So what does?

What was so profound I could finally proclaim myself a man?

The first hard-won lesson was in the aftermath of a Significantly Big Event.

You know, one of those moments where you look back and think “Holy shit… That changed me.”

Which for me was the morning when my girlfriend of almost seven years turned to me and said “I can’t do this anymore. I have feelings for someone else”.

In that moment I was forced to acknowledge just how fucked I was: 

The life I’d been building for years was over.

I was alone.

I was working a job I hated.

I didn’t really have any friends or fulfilling hobbies.

And when I was really honest with myself, I felt totally and completely stuck.

There was no choice but to face the sad reality of my life.

Actually that’s not true – there’s always a choice.

And that was the point: I could keep choosing the same miserable existence. Or I could take responsibility for the state of my life and make a new, empowering choice.

So here’s the part where we could talk about purpose:

How I knew – deep in my bones, that there was something important for me to do in the world.

And that’s an important conversation. One that we need to have – because there’s a confusing mess of pressure, avoidance, expectation, and laziness when it comes to living a life of Purpose. 

But it’s more than just purpose.

This lesson was about self-sovereignty. Self-responsibility. And Self-love:

Loving myself enough to want more for myself.

Maybe ‘more’ isn’t the best term. But rather wanting something ‘better’ for myself:

To know that I deserved better – better than what I’d been subjecting myself to. Better than what I’d been settling for. To hold myself to a higher standard, and know that my life was worth fighting for.

Taking responsibility for my life was the first part of the equation.

The other important, hard-won lesson that shifted me into manhood?

Getting My Mojo Back

I’ve always been a pretty sexual person. I have memories of being just a few years old and curiously exploring bodies and play and pleasure.

There was a time when I would’ve felt a LOT of shame admitting that.

Because kids exploring sexuality is dirty, right? It’s unhealthy and shameful.

I used to think there was something wrong with me. That I was so curious about sex from such a young age…

Was I sick? Perverted?

I’ve done a lot of work to get over that. To accept that it was healthy and innocent. And that it’s our culture that’s fucked up, repressive and shameful in its attitudes about sex.

Reclaiming sexual power is not only about shame though.

It’s also about embodying the dark, primal, animalistic parts of our sexuality.

‘Unleashing the Beast’ within.

It was that part that terrified me. And fascinated me. To let loose… to go wild and give myself permission to fuck.

Because ‘Nice guys’ don’t do that though…. Do they?

I’d always been about ‘making love’. I’d always been about ‘respecting women’. And, I’d swallowed the lie of ‘men’s unrestrained sexuality is DANGEROUS’.

Yeah, when our sexuality is repressed and denied and unconscious, it is dangerous.

What we repress controls us. What we deny finds all sorts of messed up, unhealthy ways to express itself. Take a look around. The evidence is everywhere.

The solution is not to repress and deny it further, but rather to embrace and integrate those parts of ourselves that we’re scared of.

Releasing shame and integrating a healthy sexuality is some of the most important work we can do in this lifetime.

And surprise surprise – the more I learned how to be with it all,.. the more I learned how to express my wild, unrestrained sexuality,… and – perhaps most importantly – the more I learned how to integrate my animal with my love, my cock AND my heart,…

The more expressed I felt.

The more whole I felt.

The more free I felt.

And the more like a MAN I felt.

Getting Real…

Ultimately it’s been a journey of getting real with myself. Of walking head first into the places that terrify me. Places where there’s fear, contraction, and self-doubt.

And it’s the same journey that continues today. That path of being accountable for all the things I’d rather run away from never ends. There’s no completion, only exploration. Forever exposing those places where I hide from myself. All with an unrelenting commitment to taking radical responsibility for my life, and being the most real and honest version of myself.

Sometimes I fail spectacularly. Other times I crush it.

One thing’s for sure though – I’ve honed the skill of defining Manhood and Masculinity for MYSELF. Seeing past ALL the different flavours of dogmatic bullshit (and let’s be honest, there’s a LOT), and being the man I most want to be.

And so that’s the path I walk with others:

Supporting men to find the most authentic and empowering versions of themselves.

And living THAT.

Not who I want them to be. Or who others or society expects them to be. But who they most want to be. Underneath all the expectations, the beliefs, and all the ways we think we’re not-good-enough-as-we-are.

If there’s one thing that stands out the most from these hard-won lessons of manhood it’s this:

You’re already fucking awesome. It’s just that we often need some guidance to cut through the noise and remember.


Need some help on your journey of manhood?

I’ve currently got a couple of spots open in my Men’s Mojo Intensive – a 12 week program that unleashes your authentic masculine power and supports you in getting real.

If you know you’re not where you want to be, this is for you. If you feel stuck and confused and don’t know how to move forward, this is for you.

Too many guys struggle with this shit and are too ashamed to ask for help. You don’t have to do it alone, but you do have to take the vulnerable step of reaching out.

If you’d like to find out more, click here to organise a time to chat.

No pressure, no expectation. Just an honest conversation about where you’re at, where you want to be, and if this program’s a good fit for you.

Reach out if it’s time to get real.

Reece Stockhausen has made improving men's lives and relationships both his passion, and his career. With over 25 years experience in the Personal Development industry, and 8 years coaching both men and couples, he writes no-BS advice blogs on all things relationships, sexuality, and personal development.

Apply for a free, no-obligation online men's coaching call to discover how he can best support you.

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