Lewis Howes is an ex-professional football player turned personal development expert. He has a New York Times best-selling book called The School of Greatness, which outlines the greatest lessons he learned as the creator of his incredible podcast.
Upon meeting Lewis, he fits the typical “jock” stereotype in many ways. He is tall, athletic, and his determination to succeed is palpable.
Yet this very same “jock” has written a new book called The Mask of Masculinity. This entire book focuses on men learning to embrace their vulnerability and be open with their emotions.
This book was largely inspired by Lewis’ personal journey of growth and transformation. After experiencing some traumas in early childhood that he kept locked away for a very long time, he realized that it was in opening up and sharing that real healing could take place.
Our Perspective on Masculinity and Feminism
Throughout this interview, Lewis shares his story, as well as many of the different “masks” that masculinity often hides behind.
He shares amazing tools for men to become more aware, as well as for women to help their loved ones to shift into feeling safe expressing emotion, sharing vulnerability, and breaking down their walls.
Throughout the past century, we’ve seen a massive emphasis on equality and human rights. There is still an enormous amount of work to do, but I’ve always found a pillar of this — the feminist movement, something very interesting in the West.
The feminist movement has been based around gender equality, which has been tremendously important for society. As a female I couldn’t imagine life without the same rights and freedoms I have today. Yet I can’t help but notice that the feminist movement largely focused on women taking ownership of their masculine energy and expressing it in the world.
While this has been monumental in many ways, it has also led to the repression of feminine energy as a whole, specifically in Western society.
This reminds me of Albert Einstein saying, “You can’t solve a problem at the same level of thinking that created it.” It’s as if we wanted femininity to be equal to masculinity, but in our attempt to equilibrate women, just became more masculine.
Of course, there is much more to this, but I do believe feminine energy is powerful. It is sometimes in our passive allowing that we hold space for deeper ideas to come through, or powerful manifestations to finally come to fruition. We need both masculine and feminine energy to be powerful creators, and I am glad to see Lewis is doing this.
Three Powerful Pieces of Insight from Lewis
1. Lewis broke down his book into the diverse types of “masks” men wear, and discusses these masks throughout the interview. We all know that when we can witness and label a thought or behavioural pattern, we gain the awareness to change this pattern at its root. He says the most common masks men wear are the athlete mask, the stoic mask, the sexual mask, and the material mask.
2. Lewis shares that the masks are the result of a man’s sensitivity. These insensitive personas we sometimes see in men are most often caused by early childhood experiences that are too emotional for a man to process fully, and the mask’s enmeshment with the personality is the effect of sensitivity itself.
3. Lewis shares a lot about the different health risks associated with emotional repression. He found that extreme emotional repression is linked to chronic illness, heart attacks, strokes, and more! This means that the “masks” worn by men are literally affecting their physiological state.
What We Need to Be Aware Of
What I really appreciated about Lewis’ interview was also his follow-up wisdom in sharing how women can help men to realize these masks, and break out of these old coping mechanisms.
I truly believe that it takes strength to be soft. With the way society is today, it is not easy to be emotionally vulnerable. Without vulnerability, we connect to people from behind our walls and it is very difficult to have our need for connection satisfied. We then cope with this through habits like excessive use of social media or alcohol as a tool to break these walls down.
We all wear masks, and it is extremely important to identify what ours are. Masks are a symptom of old, unprocessed wounds, fears, and vulnerabilities that we have not yet owned. When we can acknowledge the type of masks we wear, and understand what has created them, we have the power to overcome them. Not only is this important for human connection, but also for us to find inner peace in our internal reality and in our connection to the world around us.
This is a powerful interview that outlines these masks with great depth, and it is important for us all to watch!