1. You need to get clear about your intentions and how you feel about the disconnect.
Ex. “I can tell I’m not feeling good about how that last conversation went and I want to try to repair the connection between us.”
2. You have to acknowledge your specific actions. You can’t just say sorry. The other person needs to hear that you understand exactly what you did.
Ex. “I acknowledge that I raised my voice and told you that you don’t care about anyone but yourself.”
3. You need to do some work to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what that experience was like for them. This is called empathy.
Ex. “I imagine you felt misunderstood, blamed, angry, and sad when I said that.”
4. You will need to get vulnerable about your emotional experience during the apology.
Ex. “I’m noticing I’m feeling embarrassed and guilty that I acted that way.”
Less is More – Don’t ramble on if things feel tense. People can feel easily overwhelmed when they are feeling threatened and sensitive.
No Excuses – Be mindful that you don’t slip in any excuses or accusations. They will probably be noticed and defended immediately.
Eye Contact – Look at the other person eyes when you speak. This shows your authenticity and it allows you to attune to their reaction.
Breathe – Stay present with yourself by taking deep breaths to relax your nervous system. This will help you work with any residual tension as it comes up.
Good luck out there! If you are like me, I have to do this multiple times per week!!!!
It’s tough to see privilege when it’s all we have ever known and no one has ever pointed out how it works in our Life. Moreover, when we see other Men being applauded and rewarded for acting childish, it bends our sense of reality. Men have gotten away with being emotionally immature for a very long time and our defensive strategy is to “play dumb” and pretend like we don’t understand.
“Me? No, I don’t do that. I don’t punish others through passive-aggressive comments, restricting eye contact, dismissal, avoidance, and covert blame. I am certainly not the one who manipulates others by collapsing into pity and gaslighting those who challenge me.”
The privilege isn’t written into the law. The privilege is in the power dynamics that get played out in marriages, business relationships, and societal norms. Our comfort blanket is our “free pass” to act like little boys.
And, what does a young child do when someone wants to take their blanket away? They get kick, yell, name call, and run away. Those are the only tools they have in their toolbox. If a boy never learns new skills, they will still act like same little kid in a man’s body.
The unfortunate part about this approach is that it works! It works really well! Grown men are a lot scarier than little boys and they know how to move their weight around. We are physically dominant, we hold positions of power, and we have money. We are the religious leaders, the bank owners, the bread winners, and the loudest voices in the room.
The “pampering” we’ve received is the lack of challenge. It looks like others walking on egg shells around us, fearing that we will either disconnect or blow up. It looks like other Men colluding with each other in the belief that “we know better”. It looks like denying our history of violence, oppression, and the fear that has been passed down. We don’t notice that this is happening because we don’t have to. It’s easier to turn a blind eye than it is to challenge the status quo.
If we want to grow up, we have some work to do. We have to start calling OURSELVES out, calling our fellow Men out, learning new relationship skills, and sorting out our patterns. I’m pulling my head out of the sand and using my voice.
Who’s with me?
If you’re anything like me, you may have noticed that you often give your Power away and then regret it later.
This could look like signing up to do something you don’t want to do, trying to be “low maintenance”, not speaking your Truth, or a long list of other self-sacrificing behaviors. We are often told that this is the “right” thing to do and that we will be rewarded for it.
However, it sucks when are assumptions are not realized. Others don’t always reciprocate, we overload our plate with commitments, and we forget to take care of ourselves.
I think we can distill this down to one core benefit that we all yearn for. Security.
If we give to others, hopefully they won’t leave us. If we trust and praise a movement or organization, we get to be part of a community. If we don’t make our own decisions, we don’t have to be responsible for the outcome.
Security gives us a felt sense of safety and get to relax. Without security, we may feel like we are floating, alone, or we may feel immense fear and panic.
The irony is that if we give our power away too much, it has the opposite effect. We start to feel untrusting, unsafe, neglected, unappreciated, etc.
We can’t get rid of our need for safety and we don’t want to give so much power away that we feel burnt out or resentful so, what do we do?
The first thing we need to do is bring our pattern into our awareness. We have to voice our reality.
“I give my power away because I want others to like me.”
“I give me power away so that others won’t leave me.”
“I give me power away to prove that I am worthy.”
Next, we have to try to stand in a place of non-judgment to this.
“It’s okay that I sometimes give my power away.”
“It makes sense that I give me power away, sometimes.”
“Even when I give my power away, I am still a strong and capable human being.”
Notice how speaking this ALSO gives you a sense of safety and allows you to relax.
You get to be in your Power by creating this sense of security within yourself.
You don’t have to look outside of yourself to attain it.
This is what taking your Power back feels like.
From here, you may begin to see a path forward. It may be as simple as saying no to someone, taking a break from work, or handing off a commitment that doesn’t feel good.
It’s one small step forward.
If a feeling of guilt, shame, or fear arises, you can work with that, too.
“It’s okay that I feel guilty. I’ve been attaching my value as a person to my generosity for years.”
“Even when I say no, I’m still a good person.”
“It makes sense that this is difficult because I really care about how people view me.”
This is the journey and you are right where you are supposed to be.
This is "The Game"
You get 80 years… maybe.
You could also die at any moment.
You need to find a way to get food and water into your body or you will die.
You need to abide by certain rules or you may be locked in a cage.
You need to follow cultural norms or you may be judged or rejected.
You need to avoid many dangers that could leave you injured or ill. Many of them you have no control over.
The people you love and depend on could die at any moment.
People do and think weird shit and end up hurting us in the process. We also do the same, at times.
You are told you should keep pushing and work hard to create security.
Even if you are able to take a day off from work or childcare, an endless list of painful things can still happen.
There are no breaks.
Do you still wonder why we all experience anxiety?
Anxiety is a part of life if you care at all about what happens to you, your community, and this Earth.
Can we all agree on that and stop pretending?
Let’s stop pretending we know what’s going to happen next.
Let’s stop pretending that we aren’t feeling insecure, even when we are sitting on the beach.
Let’s stop pretending that we know what’s best for others.
Let’s stop pretending that we are better or worse than anyone else on this planet when an honest look would reveal our position in life was mainly due to circumstance.
And, most of all, let’s stop pretending that we don’t pretend… a lot.
If you've ever gone through a very intense emotional process, you probably noticed that your "break down" was eventually followed by a feeling of "aliveness" and "relief".
Maybe it was a death, a divorce, or revisiting a traumatic childhood experience.
The reason this happens is because emotions are like Christmas lights.
There is an entire spectrum of color and experience, that lights up when energy and attention are paid to it.
When you allow the energy to flow through you, the colors light up. This is the experience of "aliveness".
If we cut off or short circuit that energy, we cut off our experience to all emotions. There is no way to block out negative emotions and only feel positive.
That's why "I'm just trying to be positive" doesn't work in the long term.
A temporary block of negative emotions might give some short-term relief but, it also blocks positive emotions like joy, awe, and passion.
If this becomes the mode of operation, life can seem meaningless.
To deal with the meaninglessness, we will turn to external stimuli or "highs" to mimic the feeling of aliveness.
Partying, sex, gambling, risk taking, staying extremely busy with work or making money, etc.
Or, we may choose to go to sleep.
Watching TV, passing out, overeating, isolating, self-pity, etc.
It's not our fault that we fall into these pits (it's a part of life) but, we are the ones that are responsible for reaching out our hand for help and doing the work to pull ourselves out.
A common complaint I hear from Men is that their partner does not want to have sex as much as they want to.
Sometimes, this even turns into no sex for weeks, months, or years.
What do you think this is about?
Most Men seem to think it's their partner's lack of sexual desire.
But, what if it's not that she doesn't desire sex? What if the truth that she just doesn't desire sex with YOU?
What if YOU have created this lack of desire?
Maybe you turned to porn/fantasy and you are emotionally absent during sex?
Maybe you blew up one too many times and she is scared of you now?
Maybe you put on a bunch of weight and stopped taking care of yourself?
Maybe, you burn yourself out at work and the only thing you want to do when you're together is have sex and fall asleep?
Maybe your constant pleading and pouting has created a dynamic of pity and resentment?
How about you work on being DESIRABLE instead of blaming her lack of desire?
I had a revelation several years ago that Men (including myself) are extremely sensitive and don't know it.
Sensitivity - a person's feelings which might be easily offended or hurt
Anger issues = Sensitivity
Addictions = Sensitivity
Depression = Sensitivity
If I'm sensitive, I'm going to feel easily triggered and have emotional reactions. If those emotional reactions stay unresolved, I will feel stress in my mind and body. Once there, I will intuitively create coping strategies. If I'm unaware of my sensitivity, I will blame other people, places or things for my problems.
I may drink, smoke, eat, or watch porn.
I may blow up to release energy.
I may sulk, collapse into despair, or self-sabotage.
I may try to blame, control, or manipulate others.
The list goes on...
What's the solution?
First, I have to acknowledge that I am a sensitive being who is easily hurt or offended. Second, I have to ask for help in learning how to work with my sensitivities and even use them to support myself. Third, I have to integrate this new way by helping others do the same. This is how we bring this Full Circle.
Working in the therapy and coaching world for the last 11 years, the #1 complaint I’ve heard from Men is that they want to feel more confident.
It seems that most Men go about trying to achieve this externally. If I can get the house, the job, the hot wife, the car, the 6 pack, the degree, and the admiration from others, then I will feel more confident.
However, these things are totally unrelated to confidence.
Confidence is an emotion. It comes from an ability to “be with” ones experience.
Confidence is neutral. Positive or negative does not matter. Confidence is finding peace with whatever is happening. Not to be confused with “whatever, shit happens.” That’s passivity.
Building confidence comes from leaning into emotional discomfort, over and over, until it’s familiar. This is not to be confused with just being uncomfortable because that is life. Confidence comes from intention.
Confidence is wise, kind, and open because it has nothing to defend.
Confidence is a “way” and not a destination.
"I'm either better or worse than you."
"Tony Robbins is better than me."
"A homeless guy is worse than me."
"My neighbor has a badass truck that is better than my car."
"This guy I know has way more money than me and so he must be more intelligent."
"I need to be more outgoing, I need to buy a new truck, and I need to build wealth in order to move up the chain."
This is the narrative. I wasn't born with it. The world taught me this way of thinking. As an adult, it's my responsibility to look into this and grow my understanding. If I can't have compassion for my own "better/ worse than" thinking, I will continue to project this narrative onto others.
I will put you on a pedestal or I will put you below me and I will stay absorbed in "self" aggrandizing . My patterns will reinforce this because I will put myself in situations where this appears to be true.
Work Hard = Good person and rewards
Don't Work = Lazy person and bad things
It's not true.
It's a story built from a mindset of fear and scarcity. Look in the mirror. All the projections are from you and about you. The comparison is an illusion.