My fellow family men: As we pack up our cars, suitcases and car seats and make our way off to our family holiday extravaganzas, we should keep one thing in mind: this is our annual performance review. And no one really cares how much money we spend or what presents we put under the tree.
Some of us feel pressure, some of us don’t. Some of us give a fuck, some of us don’t. But each of us, in our own way, are going to be evaluated as men this holiday season. We will be evaluated by our immediate family. We will be evaluated by our extended family. And, somewhere deep down inside, we will be evaluated by our own standards.
I’m not saying it’s good. I’m not saying it’s fair. But this is how it is and, brother, I want to have your back for Christmas. Here are a few of the areas that you will be graded on in the next few days:
- General appearance– take a moment to make sure that your appearance is the best that it can be. The first thing that the relatives see when you show up at the door makes a huge impression. And your women and children want to know that dad is not a slob. Your grooming and dressing communicate something about your self awareness and self-respect.
- Your sense of well-being – get yourself happy and centered as best you can. Everyone will be watching you to see if you are a happy man, happy dad, etc. Do whatever you need to to be energetic and robust.
- Your “energy” – this is something that people are evaluating even when they don’t realize they’re evaluating it. What vibration are you giving off? Are you grouchy and inpatient? Do you seem to generally have your “shit together”? The people in your holiday world want to sense a powerful, positive man in your seat at the table.
- The way you treat your women and children – This one is huge. Everyone is watching you to see what kind of husband/partner/boyfriend/father you are. This is a time to go out of your way to treat your women and children well – not for the sake of anyone else’s opinion – but for our own sense of honor. It also makes a huge difference to our women. Few things are more humiliating to a woman than her man treating her badly in front of others – this is especially so in front of her family. Go out of your way to be loving. Acting indifferent to a woman is the same thing is acting badly.
- Your general level of success – this doesn’t just mean your money but it includes that too. People want to know that you have your professional life together. Even if you have room for improvement in your professional life, make a point to exude a sense of steady confidence when it comes to your success. Make a point to pay the bill if you get a chance – even if you are with older relatives. Resist the urge to regress and be the “kid”. Babying you might be enjoyable to your mom and dad, but nothing will give them more delight than the sense that their boy has become a man who can take care of others.
- Extra Credit: make yourself useful. Be willing to be at service and help out in general. Don’t just sit around- even if the other men are. Lend a hand, be on the lookout for opportunities to serve.
Believe me, I understand, no one likes to be evaluated or judged, but that is just how it is when we show up to our family holiday. Take this as an opportunity not just to look good in the eyes of others – that can easily turn into people-pleasing bullshit. Take this as an opportunity for training. Suiting up and being big in these holiday environments is a kind of resistance training for our masculine souls.
Best of luck to you all. Let us know how it goes!