For much of my life I thought that playing small, limiting my options, and putting everyone else first was the way that I could be ‘good enough.’ I really believed that my shrinking down somehow made everyone else better. It didn’t. The only thing it accomplished was me being less than who I really was.
For the last several years I have been on a journey to become a fully conscious man of integrity. I am committed to being bold, honest and responsible in every moment. I’m engaged with the people around me and I live for deep relationships that honor who I am and the people in my community.
I have discovered key ways of getting out of this draining, negative, scarcity mindset. The belief many men have that they aren’t enough for their wives, girlfriends, children or families keeps many of us in a state of low-level anxiety. Our culture sends us messages about our need to always be strong. But this strength is somehow equated with being less than who we are. The boldest most courageous thing I have done in my life is to take full responsibility for my internal struggles. This means waking up to the sensations in my body, my emotions and beliefs. It means getting out of the blame game that puts my neurotic issues on someone else.
Freedom for many men is making enough money to be able to make the choices they want in life. I believe true freedom means developing the awareness of ourselves that allows us to stop living in compulsive habitual behaviors. Until men face some of these issues they will continue to live out their pain through those around them.
Developing a tender heart means doing the inner work that is not always encouraged for men in our culture. It is the work that men must start to do in order to be fully human. It is time to stop living out these cultural stories about what it means to be a man and start to create a new story. This new story doesn’t mean losing our strength. It means developing the brass balls to own our core vulnerabilities and not wimp out when things get too intimate in our relationships. Having brass balls is about hearing the call to be a man and not shrinking back. That calling comes from our mission in life, the people we love, and the children we must take responsibility for.
I’ve been through the pain of being a man and I’ve started to experience the deep power of waking up to my whole self. Through this I’ve discovered a calling to help other men wake up as well.