Would you describe yourself as a “nice guy?”

To clarify, I don’t mean behaving in a loving way to others, but rather perpetually “nice.” If you would describe yourself in this light, I have some potentially alarming news for you. It’s likely that you are suppressing some facet of your being. A part of yourself that you may have deemed as unacceptable or unworthy of love.

There has been a movement occurring recently in society, pressuring men to feel shame for their masculine essence. Many men are made to feel that their masculine fire is solely destructive and harmful, and that it should be suppressed at all costs. Although this approach is misguided, as with most things, a grain of truth can always be found. When the masculine fire within us is used unconsciously, it can cause great harm. War, oppression, and manipulation are all byproducts of the masculine fire used unconsciously.

However, when our divine masculine fire is combined with awareness, it is limitless in its expanse and capacity for beauty. It is behind the forging of cities and infrastructure, it enables us to protect our loved ones, to pierce the walls of deception in others and the world around us so that truth may reign. It allows us to persevere in times of difficulty, as well as open our hearts to others when it is difficult to be vulnerable. It allows us to stand up against injustice, and even fight against it when necessary. It allows to have the courage to cleanse ourselves of habits, relationships, and vices that are leaching our life force so that we can be of better service to ourselves and the world around us.

When we are young, we often receive a hefty amount of social conditioning. Social conditioning is defined as “the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society.” The problem with this is that we are often conditioned not to be outspoken beings with a strong sense of self but rather disempowered, and tame. As a result, after we receive enough negative reinforcement of our wildness, many of us embody “Mr. Nice Guy,” which comes at a great cost to our sense of self.

I am no stranger to disowning parts of myself, and in fact, doing so has been a part of my personal journey. When I was a child, I was wild. Wildly loving, wildly energetic, silly, strong-willed, and at times angry. As children, we are fully integrated beings. We’re our beautiful, unapologetic, authentic selves. At a certain age, though, we lose touch with ownership of our full range of emotions. Our life experiences often lead us to deem parts of ourselves as acceptable and other parts as unacceptable. At age 11, right in line with my parents divorce, I was experiencing a new surge in emotions. Most notably,, anger, aggression, and confusion. Often, I’d display these emotions in ways that many would deem to be destructive behaviors—lashing out at my parents, breaking things, yelling, and cursing profusely. In these instance, I would often experience what felt to be a withdrawal of love.

I don’t judge my loved ones for this—explosive anger can often be a lot for others to handle. Yet, over time, I began to associate my expression of anger with withdrawal of love from others. This, of course, led me to associate anger as bad and being nice as good. My fear was that if I continued to display the angry parts of myself, I would lose all of the people that I held dear to me. Thus, I disowned my anger and other emotions I deemed as negative, for the faux mask of “niceness.”

I urge you to reconnect with your wildness, to rediscover the parts of yourself you have labeled as “bad” or “wrong.”The “nice guy” persona isn’t real. In fact, not only does it deprive others of their authentic connection with us, it can be our own personal prison.Be great, be courageous, be wild.