An Emotional Primer for Men
Chapter 2: Honest Self
Self-Love is a two sided coin (at least). Neither side will make the
hair grow on your palms. Let's take these one chunk at a time and see what
they look like.
Crucial to this process of emotional healing is brutally honest self
reflection. Like lancing a boil or drilling a decayed tooth, a no holds
barred evaluation of how we feel is an exchange of a little discomfort
now for a great deal of pain up the road. No doubt, trying to see ourselves
without the rationalizations, excuses and projected blame is pretty tough
to bear. After all, if we really LIKED ourselves, we would have precious
little emotional baggage to tend to anyway. We should be prepared to wallow
a bit in our myriad foibles and shortcomings. Eventually, we will be dredging
up traumas to our identities that started as early as birth, certainly
from before we had the power to be rational. We need to have the courage
to face some demons we can neither explain nor control. If we deceive ourselves
about them, just to save face with ourselves, we can bet they will be back.
The male of the species seems to have a slightly easier time with this
side of the coin, as compared to the other side that is (don't worry, we'll
get to that side too!). This side requires guts and determination. We can
relate to that. It represents a frontal attack on our own pet fears. The
warrior in us has something to grab onto and do battle with. It gets damn
scary in the dark! It is important to remember that it is fear we are fighting
and not ourselves. It kinda feels like ourselves after all. We have thought
about our fears as though they were part of our identities for all our
lives. Recognizing that they have been foisted on us by circumstances we
could not understand at the time and by our own innocence, we can go about
vanquishing them. It might be easy to say that we have had our fears forced
upon us by others. However, that attitude is neither accurate nor helpful.
We have taken them on willingly and bear the responsibility for believing
what we were told, by people who had done the same.
Itís pretty easy to see that in order to even begin this process, we
need to have a strong sense of pride and confidence in our own abilities.
We have spent millennia proving ourselves capable of withstanding life
in this dimension. Facing our emotions (fourth dimensional reality) requires
just as much bluster and "Damn the Torpedoes" as any corporate
ladder or blocked septic tank. We will get to use all the self empowerment
we have gained from a life of "being a man" to go spelunking
through this dark cave inside us, peering into the black corners with little
but a tiny penlight of intelligence and a great big heart. The courage
that TV and movies play up so much is also a prerequisite to this battlefield.
If you have come this far, you have already proven yourself and may certainly
We can also relate to being on the receiving end of criticism (especially
those of us who have been married. Oooops! I shouldn't have said that!).
Adding our own may not seem so daunting. Of course criticism is not the
point here. We are searching for the truth: who we really are. Who we really
are is very, very large and full of paradox. To be honest in examining
such a creature does not imply criticism but a suspension of judgment.
With practice we learn to be detached even about ourselves.
This is a good place for a commercial. The payoff, once again, is that
as our ability to face the darkness in ourselves grows, we get more light
inside. For every source of pain we allow expression and release, we allow
more joy to enter. It is worth the ride. Now, on with our regularly scheduled
The masculine side of things tends to be straightforward and simple
so there is little else to say. Yes, we must be honest about who we are
if we are to discover that identity. No, it is not an easy thing to accomplish
and sometimes it hurts like crazy. Not doing it makes the hurt last forever
though. So let's take sword in hand and go explore!
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