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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Good Man

Photo credit, Arian Stevens, fair use

The Grouch

During a recent session, a client described himself as a “good man” for the manner in which he approaches fatherhood. While I won’t get into the particulars of his case, it’s worth noting that a song began playing in my mind when my client characterized himself.

Yes, songs sometimes randomly play in my mind. No, it wasn’t distracting. In this case, it served as a soundtrack to the session.

The song was “Good Man” by an indie producer and rapper known as The Grouch. For those unfamiliar with the track, I recommend it and The Grouch’s entire catalogue, which isn’t something I promote for many other hip hop artists.

One thing I appreciate about The Grouch is the relationship he has with his child. I’ve heard or read about him commenting on his love for his daughter in a number of interviews.

For instance, in a 2008 interview, The Grouch stated, “Having a daughter is my crowning achievement. Nothing else matters as much or is as rewarding as watching her grow. If you don’t have a child yet[,] use your free time wisely. If you do, make sure to stay in their lives.”


Lyrics from “Good Man” playing in my mind during session were as follows:

Did I pass all your tests? I’m a good man

Hope I did learn for the pitfalls and circumstance

Now I pass on my song to the bad boys

Of which I was, still am in process, a work of art

With a stronger heart now than I ever had

Maneuvering so clever pull the lever mic can set ‘em back

To where we met ‘em at

Purity, clarity, cherish me, gon’ always remember that

Through November pain and December rain

Man will return again, flame burn, earn a name

Another turn on the wheel I spun it

Now I do unto others like they kept it one hundred

Stepping on from this next plateau please

Isn’t it fresh? Yes, you should know me

Beatin’ on my chest like I’m that “OG”

‘Cause I did my best and that’s my trophy

The Grouch’s melodic blend with Darondo’s “Didn’t I” reminds me of the soulful sounds from my youth and the lyrics are reminiscent of my early adulthood. What better soundtrack for a session regarding what it means to be a good man?

Somehow, Pawz One’s “Good Man,” Pusha T and Jadakiss’Good Man,” O.C.’s “Good Man,” Raven Felix’s “Good Man,” Fred the Godson’s “Good Man,” and, GLC’s “G.O.O.D. Man” don’t quite fit, though Haystak’s “Good Man” qualifies.

What is a good man?

While I’m not in a position to label a person good, bad, right, wrong, or otherwise, I’m aware that many self-help gurus, coaches, influencers—or however people choose to label themselves—promote various methods relating to being a man.

Among them are Jordan Peterson, Warren Farrell, Andrew Tate, Jack Murphy, Rollo Tomassi, Paul Elam, and others allegedly aligned with the so-called manosphere. While many of these names may play a role in controversy, I don’t label them evil, righteous, misogynist, philogynist, or otherwise.

I’ll leave the sex and gender-specific mental health and coaching practices to other people.

I imagine that if I surveyed 1,000 people from around the world I’d receive varied answers as to what constitutes a good man. If I were to ask 1,000 men from across the United States, I suspect I’d receive a similar range of answers.

Growing up, I was taught traditional conservative principles regarding men—and more importantly what it meant to be a good man. Some of those lessons I’ve retained, others I’ve cast aside.

In all honesty, I don’t think I get to say whether or not I’m a good man. After all, others would certainly disagree with me either way.

Additionally, I don’t think the opinions of others determine whether or not I’m a good man. After all, I and others may disagree with such notions.

Alas, what is a good man? Am I one? One could spend an entire lifetime contemplating this matter while receiving evidence to support or refute the proposal depending on the circumstances in the moment.


When examining what it takes to be a good man I find value in using a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) perspective. In particular, I use unconditional self-acceptance.

In this regard, I don’t place a condition on myself as to whether or not I should, must, or ought to be a good man. Setting up the stipulation that I will only accept myself when dependent upon some arbitrary criteria could otherwise lead to self-disturbance.

Instead, I maintain that I’m a fallible human being who’s made many mistakes in the past, I currently have flaws, and I’ll continue being imperfect in the future. If one is to deem me morally, ethically, or philosophically unworthy of praise, I accept that.

Moreover, I don’t seek validation from others. If a person chooses to say I’m a good man, fine. If not, also fine.

As well, I use this perspective when practicing rational compassion with others. Additionally, I don’t concern myself with matters outside of my control.

Living in this manner, it’s as The Grouch stated, “‘Cause I did my best and that’s my trophy,” as a purpose-driven and meaningful existence is far more important to me than whether or not I’m considered a “good man.”

Do you want to learn how to practice un-attachment to self-disturbing labels? Would you like to know more about an REBT approach to life?

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, and hip hop head from the old school, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


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