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If I were to tell you that you could spend your whole life attempting to master an art form but at the end of it all you could still basically know nothing, would you still even consider trying it?  Although men and women have existed among each other for the same amount of time, women have always managed to get the short end of the stick for reasons unknown. I was fortunate enough to be raised by the strongest and most fascinating woman I know in my mother. That being the case, I was constantly reminded the can and can nots of situations regarding women. Not everybody was blessed with my mother, so not everybody is fortunate enough to be raised on the same ideals. This fact would be proven to me time and time again as I matured in life and witnessed the men around me doing different as my mother had told me. In no way is it my intention to take away from the strength and independence that women have proven to have over and over again, but rather to show you, the audience, how these physical representations of love deserve to be treated. You and I are much alike in that we still have much improvement to go and much to learn regarding how to treat the women in our lives. As I continued to think about what I would write about in my journey, I realized that the title of this essay is not quite accurate, and this is not really a “how-to guide” to treating women, but rather, how to be a man.

The biggest influencers in my life have always been my mother and father. Whether it was driving a car, cooking dinner, or in this case, being a man, they were always eager to help. My mom and dad had a divorce early on in my life, so for most of my childhood, it was usually my sister, my mom, and I living at home. Before I even had the time to become a man myself, I became the man of the house. I was surrounded by women and I quickly had to learn how to adjust. Many people assume that treating a women as she should be treated only refers to their romantic partner and this is the biggest mistake in male history. Whether it was my sister, my wife, or a stranger I had just barely meet, they all deserve a minimum amount of respect. What I had to learn throughout my life was that being a man is not about treating the woman you love with an excess amount of attention, but rather treating all women with the dignity they deserve. In my lifetime, I have had a couple romantic relationships with women I knew, and it was always easy for me to treat them as best as I could and give them all that I had to offer. I was so blinded by how happy I thought I was making my girlfriend feel, that I was oblivious to how I would treat the other women around me. The relationship was toxic, and after awhile I found myself not being able to act the way I wanted around women and treat them the way I was raised to because I was “not allowed to”. Not only was this frustrating, but it hindered my friendships. It took this relationship to show me that my younger sister was going through things as well. As my dad had remarried, and I had brought in another girl into the family, she was starting to not receive the attention she was use to, and felt as if she was being replaced. My heart had sunk to the bottom of my stomach, I loved my sister and she did not seem to know that. I then realized that I was rarely spending a ton of time with her because my entire attention was focused on my girlfriend. I made the mistake of thinking that since I thought I was treating my girlfriend well, that I was doing my part as a man in the world. Treating women well is not simply buying them jewelry or telling them what they want to hear, but treating all of the women around you, whether you love them or not, the way you would want your daughter to be treated.

A problem with humanity as a whole is how people will mistreat somebody else simply because they “do not deserve any better” or have done them wrong. Not only was I blessed with a mother who constantly reminded me of this idea when I was too frustrated to think straight, but also a father to put it into action. I have witnessed my father do amazing feats, such as pushing a stranger’s car up a hill because they have no gas, or give money to distant relatives because they need it. My dad has been the biggest role model in my life and the most caring man I know. He is constantly doing things for other people that many believe he shouldn’t because they do not deserve it, and because of that, he is the greatest man I know. Because of him, in whatever predicament I find myself in, I always ask myself “what would he do”, and always find the right answer. Through him, I have learned that women may not always treat you with the same respect that they would want for themselves, but that shouldn’t change the way we respect them.

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There is no woman in the world that I love more than my own mother, but with that said, there is nobody on this earth who frustrates me more. Argument day after day was how our lives went, and they were almost always about the same thing. Me being young, I did not know how to deal with my frustration towards her and I didn’t know how to get what I wanted. Yelling always seemed to be the right idea at the time but never ended up being the solution. It took many conversations with my dad to learn how to “deal” with my mother and I figured he was the expert because he had done it for years. What I learned was that yelling and arguing back and forth would never get me anywhere, but mature communication just might. If I finally wanted to get along with my mother, I had to start speaking to her as a man rather than a boy, and express to her how I felt. We may have not always come to a solution, but it let her know my feelings, and that’s the most important part of all. Communication, this word with complex meaning, is what I found is needed when being with a woman.

Heartbreak has been proven to teach lessons that you may have not even wanted to learn. If you were to ask anyone who has experienced this tragedy, you might get an earful of what hell they went through. Rather than thinking pessimistically about the experience, experience is exactly what it is. Naivety is going into a relationship believing you know every trick in the book on how to treat a woman. Naivety is believing women are some game that can be beat. Naivety is believing that just because you do everything right, life and women themselves owe you something in return. My heartbreak taught me that how horribly you may have been treated or how wrong you have been done, your respect and treatment towards women should not change, it’s basically it the Bill of Rights or something like that. The treatment I had received made me never want to trust another woman ever again, and made me angry at the sex as a whole. I thought I was doing everything right, and since I was doing so, I deserved to be treated the same way. When this energy was not reciprocated, I became infected with hatred and pain. When this happens, it’s easy to become bitter and to treat women with the same disrespect that they give you, but that is not what being a man is about. To me, what it means to be a man is to not just do something because you think it’s fair and it’s easy to do, but rather to do what you know is right, even if they do not deserve it or it is harder. In that dark time in my life, I had convinced myself that I had every excuse to treat women bad because I had been done wrong myself. For me, what it took to get my head straight was time and talking to my parents. They were the light that had brought me out of my current mindset, and I hope to be the same to you.

Treating a woman with dignity and respect, being a man, it is all one in the same. It may seem like I talk a big game, but I still have much to learn. This literacy is something that can always be improved on, and there is no limit to how well you can treat those around you. When deciding what literacy I have have learned in my life, I searched my heart for something I was passionate about. Of course I could have written about how I learned to drive, learned to play basketball, or even learned how to be a cashier, but I knew those were not things I held close to my heart. I have been blessed with such beautiful and strong women around me, and because of that, they have always held a special place in my heart. The point of this was not to show you how I learned to pick up multiple women at the club, but rather how I learned to treat people as the humans they are, specifically women, because sometimes they deserve just a tad bit extra love.

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