Saved By The ‘Man-Box’

True strength is when you have a lot to cry about, but you choose to smile and take another step forward instead.
(Before we even start, this post goes out to every man who has endured the pain of been away from his family for whatever reason and to every man who has stood like a rock by his family during the darkest times. You define what being a man is.)

If you have spent any time looking over motivational articles or heard some pseudo life expert, they will call out the quaint “Break free from the box” cliché, how men need to step out of the man box that holds them back. They will continue going on with a rant as how the ‘Man-Box’ only serves as a prison for men.

When asked what the Man-Box is, each of them goes into a different explanation with the only common thread being “it’s bad.” Ironically, and the main reason why I can’t agree with them, they want men to break free from the Man-Box only if you then fit into the box they have carefully laid out for you.

Break free from your preconceptions just as long as you fit into my preconceptions.

I’m going to reframe from printing what my reply would be to avoid being vulgar. And my main problem with this mentality is that way to many times I have seen men stand strong thanks to the very ‘Man-Box’ so many condemn.

I have seen a brother, relocated far away, smiling and laughing while skyping with their 6 year old daughter, only to break down right after they log off. I have seen a deployed brother telling his fiancé how it was an uneventful day, when he a few hours earlier he almost lost his life. I have seen a brother kiss his wife and say that everything will be alright, when five minutes earlier her doctor told him how her cancer was terminal. I have seen a brother happily play with a son who will never know his father’s challenges. I have seen a brother tell his mother how everything goes well, when she no longer remembers what day it is.

I have said before in several occasions that a man must know when to ask for help, ask for a helping hand. But there are times when you are the rock for someone to hold on to hope and happiness. There are times when you must swallow your own pain and your own suffering, to lessen the suffering of those you love. THAT was the lesson that was taught to me as a young man of what a man really is. And to this day, that is the measuring stick I use to determine the worth of any man.

Those that condemn the ‘Man-Box’ fail to understand one very important thing. Each man creates his own box. And by doing so, they don’t create a prison, but an armor to help them deal with a world that can be both, beautiful and horrible. So as you set off into the world, make sure you don’t end up fitting into anyone else’s box, but rather create your own. Just make sure it’s one that empowers you and gives you the strength to help those around you stand proud of you being in their lives.


Imitation Is Flattering, Impersonation Is Not.

By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest;
Third by experience, which is the bitterest.
For the last 24 hours, you might have noticed that Being Caballero’s social media presence was somewhat lessened. Usually, I am constantly sharing content and inspirational posts from other sites in our Facebook page, or replying on our Twitter. But yesterday was somewhat of a hectic afternoon and would like to clarify, as apparently some of the readers might have been misguided or misinformed, hopefully unintentionally.

A profile on several media sites popped up with almost our identical name and address, our logo and our page banner, although these had minor alterations. They inverted the color scheme of the logo and cropped out our social media link information. The person never openly stated he/she was Being Caballero, but neither did they deny it when several readers commented about my articles as they liked their pages.

When I noticed his/her use of the banner and the logo, I simply requested them to either give the appropriate credit (as stated in our Copyright Notice) or otherwise to remove. It wasn’t till I notice how this person implied authorship to the articles, that I was forced to take a more proactive stance.

I have never had issues with people sharing our quotes and articles, quite the contrary. I usually ask that, if they do, to not alter the image and give proper credit. That doesn’t always happen and I usually find out long after it’s made enough rounds online that it gets back to us. This happened with the “Boys will be boys” and “Search for a Queen” (special thanks to Druidess of Midian for her permission on using her image as a frame for our quote.) Yet, if you notice the version going around on this last one, it had my signature removed. (Never sign a quote in a place too easy to crop out. Lesson learned.)

Neither have I ever refused to reply a comment nor a message sent to me (to my editor’s dismay, I tend to do this without a proper review) or to help others starting out their sites or projects. Most of my contributors and collaborators are people who either helped me out when I started or I helped them out when they started. The rest are just like-minded individuals you meet along the way. Anyone who wants to contact me can easily do so. (Yes, I do enjoy stressing out my editor).

But as Al Capone once said “Don't mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.” That being said, I just want to clear up a few things to avoid any confusion.

  • The word “caballero” simply means “gentleman” (in reality it means a lot more, but that’s not the topic right now). It is also a very common last name in Spanish. Assuming that this is the issue, is like assuming that anyone could claim ownership to the word “gentleman”. On the other hand, our brand name “Being Caballero” may be seen for some as just two random words put together, but in fact, were carefully chosen to serve as our online identity while symbolizing the mission of our work.
  • The focus of our “memes” or images is the quote. A positive or thoughtful message that can be easily spread among our readers. Most of the quotes used are our own, unless otherwise specified, as we always do proper research to provide deserving credit. If it’s a regional saying, we state where it is from. If you don’t find anyone credited, it’s because is original. If you find someone credited and also our signature, it’s because we designed the layout and text format. Any image used in the background, is exactly that, background. We never claim creative ownership of backgrounds (as they were obtained online), although we always make sure to look further and verify their copyrights before using them. On occasions, even if they have no copyrights, if we find the photographer on said research we contact them directly out of respect of their work, to ask for permission to use their name and give their deserving credit, as we did with The Viral Gentleman.
  • Our brand name, logo, and slogan are our online identity. I have never hid my identity as the author, but there are plenty of others who help me make Being Caballero what it is. After everything is said and done, the message should always be more important than the messenger. With that out of the way, do consider that someone using our Logo as their own isn’t disrespecting me as much as they are disrespecting the efforts of everyone who helps make this happen, especially our readers. 

Anyone who wants to embark in promoting the Gentleman ideals, I wish them the best of luck and have our support. If they do so inspired by what we do here at Being Caballero, I am honored. If they ask for help, I am humbled. Because that is the main reason this and other sites alike exist; to help. Unfortunately, sometimes helping someone, means you have to teach a lesson you wish you didn’t have to.


From Kata To Conversations

The approach to combat and everyday life should be the same.
Miyamoto Musashi
Ask a group of different martial artists what is Kata (Japanese for ‘Form’), and you will probably get just as many different explanations. At its most simplistic definition, a Kata is a series of predefined movements. At its most complex; a Kata is the very essence of the warrior’s soul.

A Kata is a way to train your body and mind to achieve a sequence of specific movements, in a way programing your body to react in a specific way. It’s a strategy used to drill in muscle memory and self-control, where your actions become second nature and you no longer have to think about what you are doing, but rather just do it. This is the core concept of any athletic or military training; to reinforce an action to the point where they become automatic where instincts and muscles memory leave little room for fear, anxiety, and self-doubt.

So what does this have to do with manners or chivalry?

Everything. When your actions become so integral to your being that they are now automatic, you no longer have to fear doing them wrong. Developing social memory is just as critical as developing muscle memory. This way you create a pattern and a structure to your behavior. Opening a door for someone, giving a helping hand, or smiling to someone in the street and wishing them a good day not only become natural but actually creates an aura of self-confidence around you. Your social actions should be as natural as breathing. You no longer have self-doubt on what you no longer have to think about.

For most who have never developed this, there is that instant of awkwardness that comes when you’re unsure if you should or shouldn’t do something. And it’s that instance of awkwardness that creates the “creepy” vibe some people feel in social situations. That awkwardness is born from self-doubt, a feeling that is easily picked up by those around you.

But when your actions are natural, you no longer have to feel awkward, as you no longer have to spend time thinking if you should or shouldn’t. They create the support frame for your confidence and actually provide a sense of security in those around you, as your behavior no longer carries a hidden motivation behind them.

So go out, be chivalrous, smile, be generous. And do it so often you no longer have to think about doing it.


“Why Are Some Guys Such Jerks?”

Work hard in silence; let success be your noise...
Frank Ocean
Humanity has spent an eternity asking themselves several questions, over and over. “Why are we here?” “What’s the meaning of life?” “What’s love got to do with it?” And plenty of times I would mull over these same questions with my friends after a couple of drinks more than was recommended. Yet one question would constantly come up from, done mostly from our female friends and a few times from some male friends;
“Why are some guys such jerks?”
To be honest, “jerk” isn’t exactly the word used, but I would rather use it to keep the swearing to a minimum. Is this question a broad generalization? Absolutely. Is it true? Absolutely. Yet when this question is asked to most guys, they either get defensive, stating that women are no better, or they do some song and dance to avoid the topic, generally agreeing with it and trying to change the subject to avoid getting trapped in such a dangerous terrain.

But why ARE some guys such “jerks”? Taking into account the broad generalization and simplification of this question, I wanted to establish also some kind of general and simple answer. And the more I thought about it, the more things became clear. Why are some guys jerks? Because we teach them to be like that.

I am not saying that a person isn’t responsible for their actions simply because of their environment. Quite the contrary, evident by the simple fact that not ALL guys are jerks, something doubted by any lady going through a bad breakup. But if we refuse to view what makes a jerk, without understanding what goes on for them to be the way they are, we have no way to either help or probably avoid jerks.

As much as we want to deny it, we live in a society that prizes success and ridicules failure. That mentality is extended to every single aspect within a man’s life, as we tend to turn anything into a “pissing contest”.  We have to be either No. 1 or blame someone as to why we are not. We see this as we fanatically defend everything we relate with as “the best.” We do the best work; it’s just that our boss doesn’t see it. We are the best husbands/boyfriends; it’s just that our significant other doesn’t see it. And the list goes on endlessly.

The counterpart to this is even more dangerous. "I’m right simply because YOU are wrong." "It’s not that I am better, but that everyone else is worse than me." We then spend more energy putting people down simply to make ourselves look better.

And even when we agree with each other, for example, the team I follow or the country I’m from or the artist I like is the best, now I have to prove that I am a bigger fan than you. And this starts to breed a sort of blind fanatism as we can’t be proven wrong. Doing so would shatter our confidence and our self-worth.

People assume that guys act the way they do to show off to their friends, to get “guy approval.” I can tell you right now, that’s not why. And any social campaign based on this concept is doomed to fail. We want to show we are better than other guys, or willing to do what other guys won’t do, not to impress the rest of the guys, but rather to remind us how much better we are. It is a way to self-validate and find self-worth.

But why? Because while we teach guys to go after success, to fight everyone around them for dominance, we forget to teach them self-worth. Their worth is only as good as their last success. Their value lessens with every failure. And this is not in the eyes of society, but in their own eyes.

This is why so many guys take few risks becoming vulnerable within relationships, placing the interests of others above their own, or simply be willing to try something new. The need to ridicule and put others down is based on the fact that it’s easier than to risk failure in your own eyes. And understand that the fear of failure in their own eyes is always greater than the fear of failure in anyone else’s eyes.

So how can we go past this general social programing? We as men need to understand and accept our self-worth. We need to understand that failing and getting hurt doesn’t lessen our value as men or as persons. We need to teach this to our sons and our bothers. We need to step away from placing in a pedestal the superficial worth, one that prices a man based on his clothing, or his car, or his job, and start looking at his true worth as a person of character and virtue. We need to accept our worth and how to raise our value. Only then can our success speak for itself. Only then can we see the worth and value in others.