It may seem counter-intuitive given the title of this article, but you’re not about to read a definitive set of rules about how to become a gentleman. Being a gentleman isn’t about box-ticking or trying to fit in with anyone else’s ideas or stereotypes.
In fact, it’s not about trying at all — it’s about being: being your authentic self and being the best man that you can be. The journey to that place is one of rediscovery, and each man’s journey is as individual as he is.
I’d like to share some tools I believe can help you to unlock the gentleman within, and lead a fulfilled, joyful and boundless life.
Your Platform: Honor who you are, and never judge yourself
This is the bedrock of all that follows. Honoring you means liking and respecting you — the real, authentic you — with no shame and no apologies.
The authentic you is you without the mask, and you when you’re not trying to be someone else. It’s you with your barriers down. It’s the man in the mirror. It’s you at your most vulnerable, and your most powerful. It’s all of your history, and it’s every choice you’ve ever made. It’s you when no one is watching. It’s you in this moment.
Being able to unapologetically be you and like you can come in an instant or it can take practice. Start by noticing how you speak about yourself, out loud and internally. Are you critical of your appearance? Do you beat yourself up over what you have — and don’t have — in your life?
The number one piece of advice I can offer is that you stop judging yourself. Stop labeling, stop concluding, stop giving yourself a hard time. This goes for everything: how you look, how you act, for your thoughts and for your choices — wherever they take you.
Self-judgment is a massive drain and it’s only when we make the choice to stop that we realize how prevalent it’s been in our lives. It’s absolutely not your fault: we’re brought up with it, it’s modeled to us by our families, by our peers, and by the media. But — here’s the key part: you don’t have to choose to do it. You can practice yourself out of judgment, it doesn’t have to be your default setting.
Administer the most powerful antidote to judgment: gratitude. Develop a sense of gratitude for all you are and all you have. Take time to notice what’s pleasing about you and your life.
Self-acceptance is the foundation for everything else that follows: a sense of peace, meaningful relationships, and a whole load of happy. It’s essentially the platform on which you build the life you desire.
Oh — and don’t judge others either!
While a gentleman has no judgment of himself, he doesn’t stop there — he also chooses not to judge other people, or situations, or events. When you no longer label things as good or bad, or right or wrong, a weight lifts from your shoulders. And, when everything that happens to you is simply ‘interesting,’ you get so much more clarity. With drama and tension out of the window, you are much more alert and aware.
Trust your awareness
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that letting go of judgment makes you a weaker, more passive person who doesn’t acknowledge when someone is out of line. Not true. As a gentleman you’re absolutely 100% aware when someone is out of line, and you can call them out — the key difference is that you no longer attach value to their behavior, and so it doesn’t get to you.
As a gentleman you’re strong, you have clarity of thought, and with your lighter approach you handle life in a totally different way.
Trust that you have a knowing, an awareness, of everything.
Be prepared to not fit in
Giving yourself permission to not fit in with other people, or their ideas, is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It can be hard to master, because ever since we were little most of us have desired to be part of a group. You still can be — but wouldn’t you prefer that group to value you for who you really are?
Whenever we try to act in a way to make others like or accept us, we live a lie and do ourselves a huge disservice. We live a half-life, rather than the full-life we could have.
I recommend you let go of any need to please others. And if someone doesn’t appreciate the real you — that’s okay — it’s not your job to convince them!
Allow others to be who they are, while you get on with being who you are. The amazing thing is the more you embrace your inner gentleman, and the more you get back to your authentic self, those who see the best in you — and bring out the best in you — will show up in your life, naturally.
Be curious and open
The less judgment you have in your life, the more curious and open you become. The willingness to ask questions rather than draw conclusions is a key part of being a gentleman and it works as a catalyst for amazing change. When we understand how much choice we have in our lives, doors appear that we never imagined were available to us, and we choose to walk through them with ease.
No longer restricted by judgment, by other people’s ideas of who we are, or by our past — we are totally free. We embrace all of ourselves, even our ‘mistakes.’ We get really comfortable with the idea of messing up — because we know how to laugh at ourselves and we’re not concerned with how we appear to others. Life is so light, so full of possibility, and so created by us.
Being a gentleman is not another role for you to play. Take what feels interesting, or light, from this article — because mostly, being a gentleman is about carving your own path.
Where will your path take you?
Dr. Dain Heer is a bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker. He is a co-creator and leading facilitator of Access Consciousness®, a personal development modality available in more than 170 countries that has contributed to changing the lives of tens of thousands of people. Dr. Heer draws upon his personal background and unique perspective to facilitate positive change in the world, and to empower people from every culture, country, age and social strata to create the life they truly desire. For more information on his latest book, Return of the Gentleman, visit: returnofthegentleman.com. You can purchase your copy on Amazon. Join the conversation here, and follow Dain.