The Truest Expression of a Man. What Validates You?

What Validates You?The following is a guest post from our friend Josh Carter.  If interested in submitting a guest post, please read our guest posting policy and then contact us.

When John and Todd started talking to be me about beginning this blog, the big question we wanted to answer was simply, “What does it mean to be a man?” We’ve many times find ourselves on the topic “What validates you?” While I’m still figuring out that answer, one thing I’ve come to understand is what it looks like to be a man. In my opinion, the truest expression of a man comes out in what I like to call “humble confidence.”

Having a “humble confidence” may sound like an oxymoron, like “servant leadership,” “jumbo shrimp,” or “pretty ugly.” But it truly invokes a level of strength and security that so many men lack these days. And leaves us asking “What validates you?”

So let’s break it down…What validates you?

What validates you

In severe need of validation…

It’s first and foremost confidence. A true man knows he is a man. There are no doubts, nor is he looking for someone or something to answer his question for him. He knows the answer and therefore doesn’t need any validation.

Think about what you do and how you react to situations. If you were to be honest with yourself, how much of that comes from a level of insecurity within you? If you’re like me (or most men I know) the answer is probably the vast majority. We are constantly looking for validation as a man, whether that be from our jobs, our friends, women or even other men in our lives.

A man with genuine confidence knows he is a man and doesn’t apologize for it. He doesn’t need your approval or admiration; he doesn’t need to always win or always be right; he’s not looking for attention or appreciation. In his eyes, knowing he is a man is enough. He’s not consistently wondering about himself, “what validates you?”

What validates you?But with confidence, in the truest expression of manhood, is also humility. A true man adds humility to his confidence. In an effort to show or find confidence, many guys act arrogant or abrasive. They confuse cockiness for confidence and arrogance for assuredness. In order to feel the strength of confidence, they seek to capitalize on and reveal the weaknesses of others. We call those guys “bullies” and they exist far beyond the playground.

Or there are the opposite guys that I call “the martyrs”. They’ve got the humility part down…to a fault. So much so that their confidence can’t be found without a full-fledged USGS expedition. They crumble under pressure, shy away from conflict, and shrink back when confronted. They confuse humility with being a doormat, so they let people walk all over them and take advantage of them.

No, the true man adds humility to his confidence, not the other way around. He must first know he is a man, then he can strive to help others discover the same. And that’s the level of humility I’m talking about. There is no judgement, only compassion, empathy, and the desire to help others. He’s out honoring others. He knows when he is right and refuses to back down, but not in an abrasive and arrogant way; rather with a desire for others to see the right path. He also knows when he is wrong and freely admits fault with a desire to mend relationships and live at peace with others.

Ron Swanson on fire

I have not met many men that show true humble confidence. Usually they lean to one side or the other; either more humble than confident or more confident than humble. But occasionally you find a true man, and you know it when you see it. Humble confidence is contagious and attractive. You want to be around it because you learn so much and it makes you want to be a better man.What are your thoughts on the truest expression of a man? Have you met a man who lives out of his humble confidence? Who or what validates you?


  1. I agree. There is no true validation without self-validation.

    • Yea, it’s very unhealthy to look to others. We need to be confident and not expect others to validate that. There’s a clear difference between a healthy confidence and being cocky. Unforunately many guys get them confused.

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