“A great man is hard to discover.”
I remember my mother saying these words to me when I wanted to begin dating. The words pushed pause in my mind and made me question my heart. Was the man who asked me out not good? Was my mother giving me this warning for a reason? Can she not trust my judgment? Or, were great men as rare as my mother said they were?
I learned my mom did not make up those words. They were created from a short story written in 1955 by American female writer, Flannery O’Connor. Flannery’s catchy name soon became branded to the psyches of romantics everywhere like some sort of twisted truth.
Flannery, who died of Lupus in age 39, wasn’t married, though she had a love affair with a book salesman. I wonder whether her good man was there someplace between the salesman and the traces of the novels he sold?
A Good Man is Hard to Find.
I have spent years considering what a fantastic man really is. I have seen great in every man who has graced my world, whether romantically or platonically, however twisted up they could be inside. The better question may be, how in tune are they with their great? How do they manage their pain? How can they process their anxiety? And which sort of support system do they have in this world? My therapist self understands that working tools and support systems are the main indicators of someone’s mental health.
I had been trained not to trust my instinct when it comes to guys. Perhaps you were too. I’ve needed to reparent myself to trust my gut instincts by paying attention to the green and red (as in good) flags along the way. Below are a few of the green flags that male friends, coworkers, and past fans have held.
How do I know if he’s a fantastic man?
1. He’s ready to listen rather than leap to advice-giving or try to correct me once I want to vent.
There’s a two minute Youtube video called, “It’s Not About the Nail.” If you would like to comprehend how the male brain automatically functions, watch it. Active listening is a learned skill rather than an innate ability. A guy who can listen is far more sexy than a guy with a six-pack. One of my friends recently said her favorite foreplay is using a profound heart to heart conversation with her husband. “When he listens with his heart, I swoon,” she said with a big cheesy smile.
How can you know if your guy is listening? He’s silent and careful, and if you are sitting in front of one another, he gives you direct eye contact. “So that made you feel frustrated and caused you to close down because you had space to process. Can I get that right?”
You have it right. You heard me. You didn’t attempt to modify or fix me. You simply re-stated what I expressed to you and that’s all I needed. Alright, let’s make out today.
Make-out session aside, it’s hot, enticing, and Oxytocin-producing (aka very bonding) when a guy can just listen and be present for a woman.
2. He expresses his feelings easily and effortlessly.
I am not talking about overexpressing — such as carrying a box of tissue around and honking his nose every 20 minutes. I am talking about a guy who has no trouble telling you how he feels. I had a man yoga student who recently walked into the studio and said,”I feel nervous, I have never done this before. I just wanted to inform you that.” The secretary and I were floored by his willingness. I said,”Can every man be like this?” For many men, the courage needed to say: I am nervous, I’m scared, I’m feeling lonely is buried behind years of man-ups and do not be such a sissy. They are not any different from sex to gender. They begin with a thought and then form into physiological senses. Men have them just as often as girls do. A man who expresses his feelings, however, is a rare jewel. And when he expresses them, he’s one step closer to processing them through.
3. He’s mindful of his working tools and he uses them.
No codependency here. Whether your guy has been to treatment, he’s mindful of his own stress management tools and he uses them like a champ. Perhaps I am biased, but a guy who’s in treatment and possesses it’s his own I am about self-growth type of sexiness.
Coping tools are healthy outlets for anxiety or stress-preventative practices. This is a guy who knows what balance is. If he lifts weights goes to yoga or conducts, he does not burn himself out in the procedure. He feeds his mind, body, and soul with just-right doses of healthful activities. He might even motivate you to join his or her furry companion (insert your favourite pet here) at a morning meditation or test out the new sensory deprivation chamber or go to opening day at the baseball stadium.
If you are used to playing with a caretaking role, you can hang up that hat with this guy. He has himself covered. No unresolved mother issues. He understands that he doesn’t require a connection to fill in his psychological wounds. He’s a relationship that enriches his life. He’s attracted to you because you appear to get that self-care things going on too!
4. He thinks you are enough because he believes he’s enough.
This is a man that’s as humble as he is protected. He is not cocky or arrogant or narcissistic. Instead, he’s authentic. He enjoys himself enough to take space when he is stressed and gets that you will need to do the same sometimes. You do not feel a strong need to impress him with a new hairstyle or outfit or hours in the spa. When you dress him up, it is for pleasure, not for approval. You can be your sometimes messy, sometimes ultra-feminine self and it does not change how he treats you. He believes your vulnerability is as beautiful (if not more) than your bum. He doesn’t need to run when you express your insecurities. In actuality, he becomes more attentive and available to you.
5. It is possible to set boundaries and he honors them.
Insecure egos need not apply. You can also trust that he’ll express his feelings rather than repress them. He might say,”I will miss seeing you for our date night, but I am glad you are taking care of yourself.” You melt. Why? Because he said his sense straight and while also validating your need for space.
You feel protected setting boundaries with him since he’s open and honest. He will not hold a grudge against you and do something passive-aggressive like cancel your next date night to go out with the boys. You know how he feels, making you feel much closer to him. Your open communication permits you to honor one another’s needs for space so you enjoy the time you have together.
When healthy boundaries are a part of a relationship, couples have the ability to appear for each other with their entire selves. A man who takes no is a unicorn. Do not let this one go.
There are no perfect men.
However, I think there are loads of good men. And they might not be that difficult to discover. Look carefully at the men in your life. How can they exemplify any of these 5 attributes? And furthermore, look within. How can you resonate and embody these traits?
We bring what we amplify. You want more goodness, be goodness.
When you begin to embody everything you like, the great men will not be so tough to discover.
This post was formerly published on Publishous and is republished here with permission from the author.
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As a good man is hard to discover.