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Maturity masculinity is both hard and soft as needed

While masculinity is associated with strength, this doesn’t mean that being a real man requires us to be always hard and never soft. Mature masculinity incorporates both of these elements as needed for a given situation.

I’ve talked about this before in terms of steel and velvet, where still represents those hard qualities of masculinity and velvet represents those softer qualities of masculinity.

At the risk of oversimplifying, it might be helpful to think of this in terms of continuum, where some guys are going to naturally embody more of the steel qualities, and other guys are going to naturally embody more of the velvet qualities.

The ethic of manhood is not dependent on stereotype expressions of manhood

But the ethic of masculinity – our ability to bring more life and goodness into the world through our strength is not dependent on where we fall on this continuum, whether we’re more on the hard side or more on the soft side.

Manhood within the bell curve

Of course, ideally we’re somewhere within the normal bell curve avoiding the extremes of being all steel or all velvet. But it’s foolish and prideful to think that just because we have more steel qualities that we’re somehow more of a man…and it’s also a mistake to feel bad and that somehow we’re less of a man by having more of the velvet qualities.

Both the steel and the velvet, the hard and the soft, have their place within mature masculinity. These might be weighted differently for each man. But it shouldn’t be a point of pride or shame either way.

Find that reasonable balance within yourself without me false comparisons with others.

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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