If you’ve ever taken a moment to search the internet on the topic of men, you will notice very little is written about what it actually means to be a gentleman.

I grew up around people who hated men. I was physically abused because I was a boy. Despite all of this, I have always desired to have a world where both men and women were empowered to create something greater and where everyone received nurture and care.

In today’s culture, what message are we, or are we not, sending out about what it takes to ‘be a man’? We need to redefine societal views and expectations of manhood, the answer of which lies in the return of the gentleman.

The return of the gentleman is all about being the best we can be as men. It’s about acknowledging our greatness with no shame, no wrongness, and no apologies. It’s the place of honoring everyone.

Much of what we have been taught about what it means to be a man is the opposite of this. Take care of everyone else. Make sure your woman is happy. Make sure the family has what they desire. Make sure life is good for others. Have you ever noticed how much of you, you must cut off in order to accomplish this?

True gentlemen don’t try to stuff themselves into the box of someone else’s desires. Instead, they include themselves in the creation of their lives. They honor themselves while honoring others.

Every day we’re faced with a barrage of images and messages that tell us how to look, dress and act, often reinforcing stereotypes and ideas of what it’s like to be a man or woman.

For men, in particular, they can find themselves limited by unrealistic expectations of what it means to be a man – namely, the long-held belief that men should aspire to be the ‘Alpha Male,’ and that any show of emotion or vulnerability is considered taboo.

A true gentleman is honorable, kind, and caring, and also potent, sexual, able to make money and able to contribute to family. The most important quality is honor.

Men should honor women, children, the planet, and yourself and your needs. In doing so, men should not try to conform to the expectation to be the ‘ideal’ man, as this leads to you in constant judgment of yourself and trying to change your behavior. Instead, stop pretending to be something you’re not and just be you.

Here are three signs of being a true gentleman:

1. Asking the Question, “What would make me happy?”

You are a gift to the planet. You are a contribution to everyone you meet. When you cut off any part of you in order to make someone else happy, we all lose out.

If you desire to be a gentleman, you have to start including you in the creation of your life. What do you desire? What makes you happy? What makes you come alive?

Whatever it is, do those things. Choose those things. When you honor you and choose for you, everyone around you benefits.

2. Strive for Greatness

Many of us have been taught to seek perfection, but perfection doesn’t actually exist. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for greatness.

In greatness, you allow yourself to be greater than you were yesterday and you don’t judge you for not being enough. In greatness, you recognize that the “mistakes” you make actually contribute to you being greater today than you were yesterday. In greatness, you see that every choice you have ever made has created the person that you are today.

Perfection is the judgment of you. Greatness is the gift of you that includes all of you and judges none of you. Choose greatness.

3. Like Yourself

Real men like themselves. They are grateful for who and what they will be. What if you woke up in the morning, looked at yourself in the mirror and had no judgment of you? What if you practiced gratitude for you – all the time. Even when you mess up. Even when others are unhappy with you.

How much more fun would your life be if you could laugh at yourself when you do something stupid rather than taking yourself so seriously. Be willing to be you unapologetically.

The return of the gentleman is really about you willing to be you. When you are willing to choose for you, when you are willing to know what makes you happy and commit to having that, when you don’t apologize for the kindness, the care and the potency of you but allow yourself to be all of it, you become an invitation to something greater in the world. You become a gentleman.

Guide to Inspired Life