Men are in a great deal of pain.
As a life coach and men’s group facilitator, I’ve seen the pain in all of its myriad forms. From unresolved childhood issues, trauma, and substance abuse, to anger, depression, relationship challenges, the stress of providing for a family, and just trying to be a good man in a difficult situation, men are overwhelmed and seldom ask for help.
What they often do is turn to self-medication and other ways to avoid it, stuff it, and not deal with it. The problem is that the problems don’t go away. What gets repressed gets expressed, eventually, and usually in destructive ways. So, let me offer a better way to deal with your pain.
Develop trusting relationships with men.
I’ve seen the obstacles men face in developing trusting relationships with men. These obstacles come in all shapes and sizes. But what they have in common is their power to keep men stuck…right where they are. The key to getting unstuck, to becoming a better man, father, husband, and leader, is to find a way through these obstacles, and to allow yourself to fully trust the men in your circle.
Why is developing these trusting relationship so important? Well, to become the best men we can be, we need to be in the company of other men. Many men feel far more comfortable in the company of women. That’s to be expected in our feminized culture. Most men of the last couple of generations were raised by their mothers, or other women, while their fathers were barely present. These boys didn’t receive their fair share of masculine modeling, guidance, and nurturing. It stands to reason that these men would feel more comfortable sharing their feelings, time, and trust with women.
Those of us who are longer in the tooth have had to confront our doubts, fears and limitations as men who have been taught to rely primarily on women for advice. Women can teach us many things, but they cannot teach us to be the best men we can be. For that, we require other men, fathers and mentors.
Men who have continued to rely on their female significant others as their sole source of guidance, their only sounding board, or for their psychotherapeutic interventions, have seen their long-term relationships deteriorate. These men are asking too much of the women they love.
Those who have chosen to deal with these challenges alone have, more often than not, found themselves on the losing end of their own counsel. But those of us who have been fortunate enough to be introduced to the benefits of these strong male relationships have received the guidance, ass-kicking, love and mentoring we’ve needed to navigate the treacherous waters of our lives.
I’ve seen the most unhappy, isolated, and despondent men reconnect with their emotional worlds, connect for the first time with other men, and develop strong bonds that have served them as they’ve continued to make changes in their lives.
Change Your Life
How can you go about developing trusting relationships with the men in your life, or with men you’d like to include in your inner circle? Here’s a short list:
- Tell the truth to your friend.
- Ask your brother for help.
- Thank your dad for doing his best.
- Invite friends over for a good talk, rather than too many beers.
- Work with a male counselor to discover your masculine power.
- Join a men’s group.
- Start a men’s group.
- Read books about male psychology and get to know yourself.
- Replace old girlfriends with new men friends.
- Risk looking like a fool.
- Tell someone you’re sorry for having been such an idiot.
- Be vulnerable and let someone you care about know that you want and need to be closer.
- Be a man others look up to and trust.
We don’t live in society that honors relationships between men. In fact, our current culture doesn’t care too much about its males at all. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take care of yourself and develop trusting relationships with a few good men.
Then, rather than feeling all alone when a relationship has hit a speed bump, a business transaction has turned bad, or a child has become impossibly defiant, you’ll have somewhere to turn, a man to call, and an opportunity to get the help you need to turn things around, sometimes very quickly. Though it may sound a bit dramatic, this kind of support is literally life changing.
So you have a choice. Sit in your pain or reach out to the men for help. What choice are you going to make?