Time and time again I run into men who struggle with finding the motivation to get up and actually take action in life. So, I started an ongoing series to help men who struggle with this. I wanted to create practical tools and ways for men to get a jump start in their life.
Inner healing seminars, masculinity conferences, and men’s retreats all claim to have some deeper answer to the masculinity crisis we see in our nation and other nations in the world. Lost youth, increasingly poor performance in school and jobs, loneliness, high suicide rates, and higher risks for addiction and violence have put men on the fronts of newspapers and made them the subject of a number of psychological studies. So these seminars, these conferences, these 48-hour programs seek to dive into the heart of the issue, and arm men for the journey into true manhood.
Insecurities are like a toothless lion to me. I find that insecurity is a common infliction upon humanity. It is a subject that I personally have experience with and that if I were to regurgitate the countless encounters of failing to overcome and victory in the realm of insecurity, you would not want to read it nor do I have the time to write such a lengthy volume. I will share a couple short segments though.
For the love of all that is good please stop expecting men to be angry. Media is plagued with the image of men who are only allowed to display this singular emotion. The very second men express something like sadness or tenderness they are instantly losing those oh so coveted masculine brownie points. Think of James Bond for example, how often do you seen him display emotions? This might seem direct and a bit narrow minded in thought, but this is a prevailing unspoken law. I have personally been around countless men who are held down by this silent litigation. They seem to react in one of two ways: a display of untamed anger or a flat-line of all their emotions. I want to focus on the former. I want to hone in on the fact that one of the few emotions men are granted to show is anger. Why is this okay? Why is anger acceptable but sadness not? Please do not misinterpret me. There is nothing wrong with anger, but if it is the only emotion allowed there is something dysfunctional brewing. Imagine telling a kid to go to school and graduate from years of education into a well, wholly-educated, scholar when he has only been equipped with the fundamentals of english literature. There are numerous other topics(emotions), that are valuable and necessary to cope with life on a daily basis. Men need emotions. Just like cars need gas, oil, and transmission fluid. If you were to try and drive a car with just gasoline and not the myriad of other fluids that it needs to properly function, you would fail. That is how I perceive men living life today. Men are trying to drive their cars(lives), with just gasoline. Not because they think it will work, but because that is all they have ever been taught. There are basic emotions every man should have on his tool belt: happiness, sadness, tenderness, anger, fear, excitement, just to list a few. I believe it is time for the world of men's emotions to be accepted. If a man cannot feel these basic feelings or, even worse, be allowed to, he truly cannot function at his fullest.
I am just going to come out and say it. Going to church on a weekly basis, sitting in a chair and simply listening to someone’s opinions on God has the potential to create passive men. So one could say I believe going to church creates zombie men more often than not. Why should I care? I literally get sick to my stomach with the idea of men just accepting whatever is spewed from a man-made pulpit. I want to see men not just sit passively and listen but rather engage and expand one’s own beliefs! Consistently consuming watered down theology will get you barely two feet into the marathon of life. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of good that comes from Christianity and there is also a lot to be said about passive women and just humanity in general. Right now, though, I want to talk about men and the church. I want to talk about how the industrialized mindset has and is fracturing the belief structure of men in trusting the professional (pastor, priest) to know absolute truth and wisdom. Men who don't take it upon themselves to actively work out their faith or life are passive. For me, personally, to exist means to struggle, wrestle with, and overcome life, to ask the hard questions and be assertive in my internal world just as much as my external.
I was having a conversation with a couple colleagues about masculinity recently . It was brought up because I had just interviewed one of them for my project The Man Effect (themaneffect.com). A multitude of topics relating to manhood were covered that night, but one that stuck out to me enough to write about was this one question that was asked: