Lewis Howes’s latest book, The Mask of Masculinity, is a breath of fresh air.
If you’re not familiar with Lewis, he’s a host of a Top 100 Apple Podcast, The School of Greatness, NY Times best-selling author of a book with the same name, millionaire entrepreneur (he’s in the online marketing industry), and the founder of an annual conference called the Summit of Greatness. He’s basically a self-help influencer.
Honestly, I wasn’t too much of a fan of his previous work because it was mainly generic self-help advice — stuff so many other gurus out there are peddling.
But this is truly a breath of fresh air from his first book because it covers a topic of psychology that many men struggle with that hold them back from success but rarely ever address. Heck, there’s barely any books on the topic.
You can tell this came from a place of honesty.
Lewis wrote it after finding himself unhappy, in toxic fights with his girlfriend, and bloody after a street brawl. Even though he was rich, successful, and a national athlete, there were still internal issues he had to work out.
Here’s what I liked and didn’t like about the book and what you can learn. Watch the video below:
I suggest checking this book out yourself because it will help you:
- Have inner peace.
- Form strong relationships.
- Connect better with others.
- Have a healthier self image.
- Have a strong self worth.
- Improve emotional control.
- Have true strength as a man.
- Eliminate insecurities with being a man.
- Be your true self without fear of judgement or validation.
- Much more.
Each chapter focuses on a different mask that men wear. There are action steps at the end of each chapter to guide you and steps for women to take if they want to help their men.
How This Book Related To Me
This book definitely helped me, but it’s interesting to note that I likely had the opposite experience with some of the masks than Lewis, the jock.
While Lewis was a star athlete growing up and then, rich entrepreneur, he probably felt he could be the best and thought he had to wear the masks of masculinity, invincibility, athleticism, sexuality, alpha, and aggressiveness.
For me, I was so bad at most of these that I thought I could never reach them and just gave up on them. But I still partially believed that those goals were what made an attractive man. As you can tell, that can be a formula for low self esteem, envy, or compensation.
The Material Mask (the mask of wealth and status) was and is the mask I thought I had to compensate for.
I noticed I was fortunate enough to have already come to terms with some of the masks based on being a self help junkie and taking action on what I learned. I am able to be vulnerable when I want to even to strangers, which the Stoic Mask (“a man should never cry or reveal emotions”) tells you that you shouldn’t.
I had also gone through some great personal development through role models like Warren Buffett and met some friendly, muscular people. This helped me develop an internal, though not perfect, sense of self worth that allows me to not feel insecure in places where other man may seem much better than me, such as at a gym as the skinny guy.
Additionally, I had a huge temper, like my parents, as a child. Toxic fights would result in walls or furniture getting destroyed. The chapter on the Assertive Mask is great for working through this. Nowadays, I may overcompensated in the other direction by just being too passive and calm rather than feeling okay with showing people that I’m angry.
Having said that, I’m still not perfect at removing any of these masks and have room for improvement.
My Experiences with the Stoic Mask
I can list the times I cried, came close, or was deeply affected by others crying on my fingers. That’s how few it’s been. And maybe that’s not a good thing.
The Stoic Mask is definitely up at the top of my list for “Masks I can work on removing.” When I was young, my sister started crying to my parents about how I mistreated her. When that wasn’t the case at all, I got the blame and backlash from my father because she was crying.
As a man, I was unwilling to cry, so I held it in and just took the unjust blame. As I ran upstairs, a faint whimper came out.
Later on, my father was wise enough to catch that I was restraining myself from crying. He told me an old Chinese proverb that basically said how women’s tears are a dime a dozen, but a man’s tears are gold. He explained to me that it meant that women can and will cry over everything, even small things. But when a man cries, it means something.
I also remember on one of the final days of middle school, the teachers let all the students say goodbye to each other for the whole afternoon. Almost every kid started crying because they would be going to different high schools — except me and a tall, red headed guy who sarcastically said he wanted to cry but was “physically incapable of it.”
Imagine over a hundred kids, many of which were popular, athletic guys, all crying and hugging each other. People you had never see cry were crying. But it was a fun crying session. The popular girls were crying and hugging everyone. The boys were seen as cool for crying. It wasn’t a painful type of crying.
I didn’t have that many friends, so I was jealous. I spent most of the afternoon just standing and watching from a distance. I kept thinking, “How could they cry about this? I’ve gone through much more horrific stuff that would make you want to cry. These people are weak-minded and probably haven’t experienced as much suffering as me.”
It reminded me a lot of an MTV show I saw a few episodes of where they would go to high schools and make them do emotional exercises, like step to the other side of the room or raise their hand if they experienced some type of trauma.
Half way through the episodes, most of the teens are crying their eyes out.
But a Hispanic teen never did. Even though he raised his hand more than anyone else in the room. He lived in an area infested with drugs and gangs, so you can imagine what he had to go through (death of loved ones, violence, etc.).
When they interviewed him afterwards, he said it was cool that others were crying, but he just didn’t feel like crying.
But perhaps, others weren’t weak-minded or had easier lives than me. Maybe I was uncomfortable with crying.
Maybe I was made to believe that you only cry when you suffer badly. You can’t cry for small relationship-themed moments, like when your classmates go to a different high school, even though you can still keep in touch and meet on the weekends.
Or maybe I was so ashamed of exposing myself to crying or the feeling that I would miss anyone that I held back. Or maybe I just didn’t have many friends to cry for.
The interesting thing about this mask is that I don’t think anyone explicitly told me that as a man, you cannot cry. I think I just picked it up naturally through American society, maybe through the TV shows and movies out there.
Be kind to yourself. I hope you understand that there are safe people and safe places to talk about your struggles and room for you to 10x your life no matter what you’re struggling with now.
Here is the link to the book Mask of Masculinity on Amazon. If you buy through this link, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.
What is your biggest issue related to this book? How do you plan on solving it. Let me know in the comments.