I’m sure many of us are familiar with several myths passed down to us by God-knows-who from generation to generation. By myth, I’m simply referring to a widely held but false belief or idea. If you think of it now off the top of your head, I’m sure you’ll recall a few. You may have even quoted it to someone like it’s a law of life just like someone did to me recently.
I found myself in a new environment not too long ago and one day one of the guys I work with came to me and enquired, “Do you drink?” I said no. “Do you smoke?” My answer was no again. Lastly, he asked, “Do you womanize?” to which I simply said “I’m married”. He went on to announce to everyone around that a man must do one of these three things he has asked me and that if a man is not doing at least one, he must be dangerous and should be feared and avoided. One of the men around strongly concurred with him on this point as if our friend had said something deeply profound. My “examiner” was my senior so I didn’t see the need to engage him or try to set him straight hence I simply smiled, and faced my work as if I wasn’t the one being analyzed.
Before you think, “Oh what a righteous, sinless man he is”, this piece is not about me neither is it about whether I’m sinless or sinful. It’s about how we often cherry-pick a habit and become pros at it because somewhere along the line someone sold us a lie that a man must have one of those habits. A guy said to me once, “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke but you see woman, just leave that one for me.” A guy was asked one time when someone saw the way his head was moving at the sight of a woman, “It’s like you like women a lot?” His face literally lit up as he responded, “Ahhhhh, that’s my hobby”. This particular guy did all three by the way.
Don’t box yourself because of a mindset. Believe me, it’s not a law of life that a man must either be drinking himself to stupor, smoking his lungs out or be having sex at random. There’s no such thing. How you are living currently is a choice you’ve made and you can choose to live differently. There’s no universal force of nature pulling every man in three different directions that men have no choice but succumb to this invisible force. Someone even dared to say if you are not doing at least one of these three things you are not a real man. How profoundly wrong he is. There are virtues that make for a real man; virtues of kindness, faithfulness, diligence, timeliness, gratitude, honesty, humility, keeping your word, paying back a loan, being temperate etc. These are the virtues that tell us the stuff you are made of.
Forgive me for sounding a bit simplistic by narrowing it down to choice. Someone addicted to nicotine or alcohol will mostly likely find quitting difficult. Some have managed to quit but relapsed after a while. However, with the help of God and support from support groups some have quit permanently. I’m not addressing those who are struggling with these addictions and other forms of addiction. I’m addressing those who have consciously or subconsciously chosen to make it a way of life because of a mere myth.
Finally, just in case you saying to yourself, “This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about, mine is not about any myth, mine is that I was born like this”. If that’s what you’re saying then please read my article I Was Born Like This.
Image: Michael Stern/Wikimedia Common