There are some things as guys we sometimes don’t value enough. Here are 7 underrated qualities in a man.
I recently wrote the post 7 Underrated Attractive Qualities in a Woman, and it went somewhat viral pretty fast. It was written to celebrate some of the qualities in our girls that sometimes don’t get the air time or the appreciation they deserve, such as grace and compassion. Some people messaged me to say it was comforting to know that those characteristics were something noticed and celebrated by a lot of men, and that they would like me to write the accompanying article about those qualities in men.
I initially had planned not to do that – being a man, I’m not sure I’m entirely suited to writing a post about what makes a man attractive. However, it did get me thinking about those qualities that sometimes we as men take for granted in ourselves. That, and a lot of people asked me to write this one. Those qualities in us that sometimes we sell ourselves short on, and fail to give proper recognition to.
I know and respect a lot of the men in my world. They truly are a blessing to me, to their workplace, to their wives and kids, to their girlfriends, to their church, to their families and friends. And I see sometimes the struggle they go through when sometimes their greatest qualities come under fire and they begin to doubt themselves.
So this one is a similar celebration on the qualities in men that often go unnoticed, underappreciated, or that sometimes we as guys feel aren’t worth the effort. But it is these very qualities that are so valuable and worth encouraging. Here are 7 underrated qualities in a man.
#1: Being a man of your word
Sometimes being a man of your word costs you. It can cost you a lot. Following through on commitments you’ve made when the unexpected comes up in life can be quite a challenge. And yet so many men I know and respect are men who do precisely that.
When some people think about the men they’ve known in their life, they instantly associate the thought with failed commitment and empty promises. Sometimes they see nothing but disappointment when they remember their earlier years, or even their more recent ones. And yet there is something so powerful about men who stick around and do precisely the opposite.
I guess a lot of us can feel very disenchanted when we think that being a man of your word should be more appreciated than it is, that people should value the personal cost it is to you more than they do. I would say that we should continue to follow through regardless. That consistency in being faithful to our commitments is truly a powerful thing.
In a similar vein, integrity carries with it a high personal cost. It goes a bit further than just being a man of your word. Will you follow through on what you have said and on your convictions even when no one else would know otherwise? When the doors are closed, when the lights are off, and when no one is paying attention, are you going to be the same man you are in all the other settings?
I talk to a lot of guys who have paid the price for their integrity. There can be a feeling that “nice guys finish last”, or that somehow doing the right thing reaps an empty reward. While it is certainly true that unethical and abrupt behaviour has had a great measure of success in our world (unfortunately), it is never success that can be truly enjoyed, nor does it last or leave as large a legacy as being a man of integrity does.
It was really ironic that halfway through writing this point after I got off the bus, I walked over to my car tonight to find it had been hit in a hit and run where it was parked. No note and no witnesses – an integrity fail. A lot of us know what it’s like to have people fail in their integrity in our lives. But how much greater is the reach and the influence of the men who stick to their guns when no one is watching.
Some people keep saying chivalry is dead, but I beg to differ. Sure, it may be a bit more romanticized or considered abstracted from 21st century living, but it’s still alive and well. Unfortunately I’ve heard people say that chivalry is dead while walking past a guy who is holding a door open for them, or who just let them go first. Wup wah.
I would describe chivalry as the complete belief in the idea of “women and children first”. This is a regular line used when talking about evacuating a boat or a city, but I believe that this is really just the true heart behind chivalrous action. It’s not about saying women are incapable of doing things for themselves, it’s merely having the attitude that I consider them better than myself, and worth the effort. It may look like holding a door open, standing for a lady on a crowded bus or train, or helping carry something that’s heavy, but I think the heart behind it is what makes it truly valuable.
It’s coming back, people, and in a lot of ways it never really left.
#4: Using his strength for others
There is an archetype in film known as the “gentle giant”. Usually a male, he’s the guy who has the physical prowess to murder entire cities, but underneath all of it he’s a big softy. Think of those Vikings in the movie Tangled, Dolph Lundgren’s character in The Expendables, or even the most popular hero from Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot.
There’s something endearing about someone who is so strong, but not using his strength merely for personal gain. He is capable of getting what he wants, but what he wants is to help others.
There is a strength in a lot of men that often goes unsung and unseen, but it is so valuable. It need not be necessarily physical – sometimes the great strength in a man is his ability to listen, to take on people’s concerns, to help find a means to an end, to not give up in the face of hopelessness or heartbreak. Broad shoulders to carry a lot, and not just in the physical sense.
Keep using your strength for others, brother. We need more men like you doing it.
The book of Proverbs says that what is desirable in a man is his “lovingkindness”. Once again, an old fashioned term, but with a powerful meaning. The same word used in Hebrew to describe this phrase is the same word that is also used to describe God’s grace towards people. Talk about a tall order.
Men have a lot of love to give, and are often frustrated when they feel unable to demonstrate it, or that it is somehow undervalued. As a result, there is a temptation to limit or cut off the care that we show towards others.
This love is the unconditional kind. It’s the love that fully acknowledges who the other person is, and accepts them as they are. And this is definitely an underrated quality in the lives of men, and perhaps the most undervalued by ourselves.
Continue to be known as a man of love.
I really respect the men in my world who are dependable. It doesn’t matter the season or what they’re going through – you know you can trust them and count on them to come through for you. Sure, they may have some ups and downs, but they have their gaze sent like flint on who they’re called to be and where they’re going.
I think the temptation for men is to give out on being constant when they feel like they are being overlooked or taken for granted. But I think the first person who often takes it for granted is us. We can sometimes hate the fact that we just do the right thing and stick by people, stick by our family, stick by our convictions. But there is great security available to those around us when we decide to continue to be that man of stability.
I am always amazed at the level of provision that the men in my life have provided for others. I love that some men will just pay for a meal for someone without a second thought, or save their finances to help someone do something more long term in missions or charity. It’s more than financial too – the way that a man provides words of encouragement, good advice, stern warning and loving rebuke is also amazing. There are so many other things that men provide.
Don’t give out on your provision. It is a great gift of yours to be able to pour your life out for others, and so many people are blessed by it. Let’s never leave this aspect of our lives dragging or feeling undervalued. It is so valued, friend, and there’s so much more for you.
So take this as an encouragement, gents, that there are so many things about you that are actually valued and powerful. All of us are on a journey too, and there are definitely areas in these that we can all grow in and aspire to be. But let this one just be in tribute to the guys out there who are making a difference and not feeling like they are. To the men who do so much for others but sometimes feel small for doing so. I salute you tonight.
And to all the ladies who came along for the ride, I hope you are encouraged to let the men in your world know how much these things mean to you too.
What about you? What do you think of these qualities? Are there other qualities you would consider underrated?