Lots of family cultures have their funny little sayings and gestures at certain events. One such phrase that I’m familiar with is preceded by eating Chinese food. After the meal, we would typically reach for the fortune cookie. Our custom would be to read the phrase out loud and end with “under the sheets.” Some were hilarious. Some were stupid. Some were provocative! Here are a few that I’ve recently found.

If you don’t do it excellently, don’t do it at al… under the sheets.
Whenever possible, keep it simple… under the sheets.
You have unusual equipment for success. Use it properly… under the sheets.
Unleash your life force… under the sheets.
Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself… under the sheets.
Bread today is better than cake tomorrow… under the sheets.
Do not seek so much to find the answer as much as to better understand the question… under the sheets.
Our duty as men and women is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist… under the sheets.
Today is an ideal time to water your personal garden… under the sheets. And…
The finest men like the finest steels have been tempered in the hottest furnace… under the sheets.

This last one struck me as a true statement in our society. Unfortunately, most men judge their worth, i.e. their virility or manhood, by how they perform under the sheets. Whether there’s no one and therefore no action under the sheets, or he feels inadequate with the person he’s with under the sheets. In any case, it would be wise for the man to take another look at how he “measures” his self-worth.

So, how does a man measure his worth? Beyond what our culture says, i.e. his bank account, his car, the length of his penis, his status in society, the number of Facebook “friends”, position at work, etc, there are healthier and more realistic ways to do so.

If the measure of a man cannot be found from the above external things, it must be from within. Part of my list is the following:

How do I handle conflict, especially when I disagree?
Am I generous with my time, money and energy to those who really need it?
Do I diligently pursue what I think is important in the world, while not hurting anyone in the process?
How am I loving my spouse and children and neighbors and co-workers?
Am I the same man behind closed doors as when they are open for others to see?
What do I do in my free time?
Am I clear about my goals and mission in life?
Do I speak up in order to help, or to get noticed?
Do I shut up regularly, and practice humility?
Do I stand up for injustice, and practice “peacemaking?”

My list could go on, as I’m sure yours could have as well. Based on one’s perspective of life and value system, you might modify it a little. But what’s important to remember is that worth not from “under the sheets” or performance of any kind. True “steel-like” worth comes from the conscious stoking of one’s inner furnace.

If you want to learn more about how you can find this, and live it, call or email me today.

Kevin Barwick, LCPC