My therapist made an interesting point the other day...
Only men need have this discussion and only men put themselves and each other through this purgatory. As boys and later men we battle with the idea of what makes a MAN. We tease each other and torture ourselves over the issue and our sexual identity. Women do not question if they are a woman or not. They do not argue over what characteristics define a woman. They are simply woman (They are cruel to one another/themselves for other reasons and in other ways)
We were born men and we are therefore men, regardless of our character traits or preferences. If you do not like sport you are still a man. If you don't like to fight you are still a man and if you prefer not to be coarse and insensitive it doesn't mean you are less a man. You can add an unending list of issues here that still won't change the fact that you ARE a man.
The question is what kind of a MAN (insert here emotional human being) do you want to be (what do you admire in others) Don't be a sheep and try to fit in.
The real challenge for us is standing tall and being proud of who we are and the values we hold. Recognising our strength and beauty and understanding that others will see what we see. If you believe you are the dogs b*ll*cks then others will go along with this. If you believe you don't have the right to exist you will project an uncertainty toward others.
We feel alone and insecure because we are uncomfortable in our own skin. (But so are many of the masquerading MANLY guys out there. Most people will respect us for standing up for ourselves and our views (whatever they are) but it is so scary to show people what we stand for if we need recognition and approval. Sometimes you will get BOTH but it is not guaranteed. These are the reasons I struggle so much and the same reasons challenge me to be intimate. I am scared of people seeing who I am without guards because I am not comfortable with myself.
The more risks we take and the more we push ourselves the more pride and self esteem we earn.
Sorry ... my point meandered toward the end ... these are my current thoughts though.