Authentic Men's Group podcast
About this podcast
AMG stands for Authentic Men's group. We are a Non-Profit Organization located in Springfield, MO. Our mission is simple. We help men get real so they can get what they really want! We do this through local groups, online groups, podcasts, and many tools and resources. Find out more at www.amg.buzz
About this podcast
AMG stands for Authentic Men's group. We are a Non-Profit Organization located in Springfield, MO. Our mission is simple. We help men get real so they can get what they really want! We do this through local groups, online groups, podcasts, and many tools and resources. Find out more at www.amg.buzz
Authentic Men's Group podcast
- Season 2
3 Words of Transformation Pt. 2 "Good"
The Second word is “Good” This word good is a good one isn’t it. Ask the question, “Is it good to be me?” I think this is what makes good such a foundational descriptor for men’s groups. When we say to men “You are a good man” we are actually saying, you are good just the way you are right now and you don’t have to hide from that”. In AMG we make it known they are GOOD and will make good decisions from their goodness. Some definitions of the word “good” are as follows: to be desired or approved-of. having the qualities required for a particular role. In AMG we have identified “Good” as the stage of maintenance. Definition of Maintenance: It is the process of observing and preserving someone or something It is in this stage of maintenance we are open to being exactly as we are. We are accepted for who we are. We acknowledge our goodness in the presence of others. This is the foundational experience of Authentic Men’s Groups. Once a week for 90 minutes I am in a group of men that accept me for who I am. As I am vulnerable and authentic, I am accepted for my goodness. This is a pivotal place to be. Centered, Calm and Curious. Learn from Should and invite change from my goodness of who or what I really want. If I have made some bad decisions or have done some bad things I still am affirmed as a good man. I am in the ranks of “Good Men” who are making choices, some healthy some not so healthy. It is in a safe environment I can explore my choices and get some non-judgmental feedback. When I hear that I am a good man I can begin to believe it When I believe it I can begin to say “I am a good man” When I begin to say, I Am a good man I begin to act on it. When I begin to act on being a good man, I make good decisions There is a proclamation that accompanies this stage of discovery: In the first stage we said that the word “should” accompanies stage of discovery we ask the question, “Am I good?” In this second stage we say the word “good” that accompanies the stage of maintenance we are proclaiming, “I am good.” I am valued and worthy of respect! I am accepted and worthy of grace! I am loved and worthy of love! Healthy men make healthy decisions about healthy relationships. As we move into the third word, I would like to recite another definition of the word good that will help us transition to the third word: 'Good' means a lack of self-centeredness. It means the ability to empathize with other people, to feel compassion for them, and to on occasion put their needs before your own. It means, if necessary, sacrificing your own well-being for the sake of others'. If this word is given some contemplation, it can take us into the third word of transformation and that is the word “could”.
3 Words of Transformation Pt. 1 "Should"
When we talk about transformation we are talking about change, evolution, resurrection, revision, metamorphosis. To identify these stages we are going to use three words: Should - Discovery, Good - Maintenance and Could - Benevolence These three words align with the different stages men are in as they participate in small men’s groups. The First word is “Should” Some definitions of the word should: It is used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions. It is used to indicate what is a probable outcome. These meanings of the word ‘should’ indicate there is emphasis on any time but the present. What I should have done or what I should do. It puts focus on the past or places a focus on the future. It also has the sense of not being good enough. There is an emphasis on criticism and guilt that accompanies the word should. This is most often the very struggle that brings men to AMG. Men do not feel good enough because something has gone wrong in life. There is guilt and shame because they should have done something different or there is worry about the future for something they should do something different. In AMG we have identified this part of the process as the stage of discovery. It is in this stage of discovery we are open to some new direction, open to different ways of doing things, different attitudes about life because the way we have been doing it has not been working. It is here we can discover the power of change. It is here we discover the way to do something different. It is here we that we begin our transformation. There is a question that accompanies this stage of discovery: “Am I good?” This question is worth exploring. We can listen to the should to make some change but it is not a change of behavior as much as it is a change of thinking. To borrow a religious term it is the word ‘repent’ This is a Greek word metaknoia which means change your mind. Conclusion: Be aware of the shoulds. Press into them and discover what are of your life needs attention.
Secretology Part 2
Secrets Reflect Our Beliefs About Ourselves “I must hide myself and what I have a tendency to do in the future.” “I must hide myself because of what I did in the past.” Shame and guilt are the core beliefs of what underlies these statements. Guilt says, “I did something wrong” Shame says, “I am something wrong” Both of these core beliefs leave us powerless in the present. If I flood the present with misgivings about the past and anxiety about the future I won’t have any energy, time or resource to be in in the present . Secrets can create Two Types of Misrepresentations in our lives: Conscious manipulation – portrays something better than what or who I really am. Unconscious self-deception – believes what is false for so long that it becomes the truth. Self-deception creates the desire to deceive others. We have many defense mechanisms we use to self-deceive. To the degree in which we self- deceive is the degree in which we can be deceived. In ancient text there is a saying ,” You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free”. 4 Reasons Why Keeping Secrets Can Damage A Relationship It creates stress. Most people struggle to keep secrets from their partner and suffer from guilt when they do. It makes you tense, as you’re always waiting for them to catch you by stumbling across something that will bring your secret to light. It blocks closeness and intimacy It’ll mean you put a defensive barrier up between the two of you and are always wary of discovery. This is likely to have an impact on your closeness and intimacy and chip away at the foundations of your relationship. It produces mistrust. If you’re keeping secrets from them, what’s to say they aren’t doing the same thing? At least, that’s what you’ll be thinking. You might start to wonder what they might be hiding from you, too, which can lead to mistrust and paranoia. It can cause terminal damage. The more time passes, the harder it becomes to come clean. If you keep putting off telling your partner a big secret, it’ll only get bigger and bigger, until revealing it could do terminal damage to the relationship. The longer you wait, the harder it is to be honest about it. After all, if the secret’s difficult to hear, it’ll be even worse if, on top of that, they discover you’ve been keeping something from them for an extended period of time. Questions For Keeping a Secret Is the person you are keeping the secret from likely to discover it anyway. If you are just prolonging the outcome be upfront with it. Can I live with the secret? Is this secret going to cause negative effects to my holistic health? Someone has said, “We don’t have secrets, our secrets have us.” Am I rationalizing? When we rationalize we tell ourselves rational lies. Don’t dilute poison and call it poise. Am I saying I am protecting someone from the truth when in actuality all am I doing is not acknowledging my shame and guilt openly? “Lies can be the sturdiest walls that we humans erect within and around ourselves, thereby keeping ourselves trapped and wrapped in a wide range of limitations.” How To Address Secrets To Live in the Freedom of Truthfulness and Authenticity Know yourself. Use tools like the Enneagram or other personality assessments. Know your propensities to self-deceive so you know how to be authentic. Awareness is a big part of your health. Don’t keep your true self on the shelf. This is being honest to yourself and your Higher Power in the #1 circle of the Circle of Relationships Know your close relationships and allow them to really know you. Have non-judging, gracious close relationships that know you for who you really are. In order to have such friends be one. Don’t isolate – Do intimate. Don’t disconnect - Do reconnect. In the presence of close, intimate, accepting relationships we find freedom Sharing openly brings closure to shame and guilt This being honest to yourself and others in the #2 and #3 circles in the Circle of Relationships Find safe places where you can share with the confidence of confidentiality. Use the services of trained professionals and confidantes. Professional counselors or life coaches or pastors. Find or establish an AMG group where you can be authentic and real. Get real so you can get what you really want. This is being honest to yourself in the #4 circles in the Circle of Relationships. Express your authentic self in what you do and how you do it Let the people you know on the peripheries of your life see your authenticity. Again the axiom of AMG “ Be authentic with everyone and vulnerable to a few.” Purchase things to be an expression of your identity not something that you get identity from. This is being honest to yourself in the outer relationships (#5,6,7) circles of the Circle of Relationships Conclusion: How To Address Secrets To Live in the Freedom: Know yourself Know your close relationships and allow them to really know you. Find safe places where you can share with the confidence of confidentiality. Express your authentic self in what you do and how you do it Questions For Keeping a Secret Is the person you are keeping the secret from likely to discover it anyway. Can I live with the secret? Am I rationalizing?
Secretology Part 1
Introduction When I think of the topic of secrets it is an essential focus of Authentic Men’s Groups. One of the axioms of AMG is that ‘we have no secret that we have not told someone’. Another truth we live by is to be ‘authentic to everyone and vulnerable (completely open) to a select few’. It has been stated that “the secret sauce of Authentic Men’s Groups is that we have no secrets”. We discuss secrets in AMG in two key ways: In each group we create and value confidentiality which helps to foster vulnerability where secrets can be shared. Whatever is said in an AMG group stays in the group. We bring our secretive and hidden things out into the open in group. We believe that openly dealing with secrecy is a large contributor to men living in the freedom of authenticity. Context of AMG Secrets Guys in group have disclosed in our context of AMG over the years: - Secrets about being sexually abused, secrets about pornography and affairs - Secrets about addictions to alcohol and drugs, secrets about cheating on financial records, secret fantasies. - Secrets about wanting to end life, deep depression and anxiety, and having children that no one knows about. Dale Larson in a meta analysis done through Santa Clara University that secretive people are more depressive, anxious, sensitive to judgment and vulnerable to illness. A litany of studies now link physical ailments such as headaches, nausea, back pain, hypertension, flu and even cancer to the keeping of secrets. Secrets appear to give us a shroud of protection but instead end up giving us a cloud of dejection. The Range of Lies - White Lies – “O, yeah I read that book” (when I haven’t) - Grave Lies – Lies we will take to the grave (such as shameful abuse and deep hurts) In the gray area between those two extremes of lying is where we live most of our daily lives, with the little, supposedly harmless untruths. All lies create the conflicted cast of characters within us, that each express their truth differently with different people. The 3 P’s of Authenticity Be authentic in: Public life – outer circles of the circle of relationships (Secrets here are necessary) Personal life – the inner relational circle of relationships (Secrets can be good, i.e., Surprises) Private life – the #1 circle of the circle of relationships. (evolving health, spirituality and contemplations) Authenticity is active if we are the same person in all three. Again the core axiom of AMG fits well here: Be authentic with everyone, vulnerable with a few. Conclusion: Do you have any secrets that only you know? Look to address these in a healthy way by sharing with a significant other, best-friend or a counselor or coach.
Error and Era Friends
The Negative Relationships Error Friends Examples: Wife had an affair with best friend. People that have gone through divorce. Not being supported by best friend when going through transition with my wife. These were friends that turned out and then turned on us. They went from close to far (from inner circles #3 and #4 relationships to outer circles #5 and #6 relationships). I trusted them and they proved themselves unworthy of the trust. The shared vulnerability was negligible at best, negative at worst. The Benefit of such Friendships They Helps me understand and Being Real If I don’t risk something I don’t gain anything or anything I do gain I don’t appreciate. If we never make ourselves vulnerable we will never find love. Love is vulnerability. Those relationships that have hurt us but have caused us to heal with scars of reminder. They Helps Me Identify the Real Deal The mistaken trust became a place where I could recognize faithful trust. I can recognize what real trust is. Although our friendship failed it contributed to the understanding of successful relationships. It led to corrective connection. Mistakes in my life have made major contributions. As a matter of fact, trying things and failing have been the making of the most beneficial and secure things of my life. Error friendship have helped me to identify the truth about meaningful relationship. The Positive Relationships Era In Life Friends Examples: Friends for different eras of my life. Elementary school High school College Business Milestones in life Eternal causes didn’t prove to be lasting friendships. Most of these people if not all I could be in contact with today and we would pick up where we left off, reminisce, and still be united in our spirit but we are not connected in our involvement. We would have considered ourselves close #4 relationships if not even #3 relationships then. Now we are #6 peripheral relationships. There is grief in knowing this is happening and will happen. Era For Life Friends Examples: Select few people that we have shared a big part of our life with. They have been there as we have gone through the many transitions of life. We have had lasting involvement in the good and bad and everything in between. We do pick up where we left off. We take the initiative to keep in touch often or from time to time. It takes two-way investment of energy, time and resources. Era Beyond Life Friends Examples: Connecting in spirit. Connecting for eternity whatever that might be. We, by being in association, find the better world that others who have lived out truth have left for us. We, by being in association, leave the world better than we found it by living out the truth that we have found. We realize the life that we live is much longer than the years that we live together.
The Sex Connect Introduction Sex is more than hooking up… or is it? If we are meaning connection when we use the phrase “hooking up” then this may be exactly what sex is all about. The word connection is defined as “a relationship in which a person, thing or idea is linked or associated with something else” If we can link our associations together so that our sexuality is giving expression in the whole context of life perhaps we would not see our libido as something separate but something very holistic. Connectedness is the main thing, it is about the connection not the erection. The Circle of Relationships is a fundamental paradigm for AMG. It presents a way to live our lives from the inside out by putting a focus on the essential relationships and then moving toward the urgent relationships of life. When we talk about intimacy and connectedness we are talking about the inner relationships, those that are most authentic and vulnerable, the three inner circles. If we are going to have a healthy sexual relationship it is going to take place by: Hooking up (connecting with integrity) to focused understanding of self Hooking up (connecting with intimacy) in a focused sexual relationship Hooking up (connecting with vulnerably) with a focused select few. The Integrity Relationship A good way to describe integrity is by its opposite: disintegration. Whenever something disintegrates, it falls to pieces. This is exactly what our lives do if we do not live in integrity. Our lives become a bunch of unconnected pieces rather than the complete whole. When such is the case, our personal relationships are called to accommodate our lack of truthfulness and live out the guise of having it all together. Sex becomes as disconnected as all the other parts of our lives. We give the message to our intimate relationships, either directly or subtly, that if we are to keep our present level of comfort, no one can know who we really are or how we really function. Integrity begins with I. We need to have an eye on the I. The mirror is a great analogy here. When we get up in the morning and look at our disheveled selves, we don’t go back to bed because our physical appearance isn’t up to par. Instead, we start with where we are, accept that, make some adjustments and move to our day. This is the way we can live in integrity. Know that we are totally acceptable where we are, but respect ourselves enough not to stay there. Instead, make some incremental changes and move on with our lives. We have a tendency to be different people in our private, personal and public personas. To some extent this is healthy because when going to a nice restaurant with family, we want to polish up our manners. It’s a little different than sitting around in the backyard with family and friends. Being comfortable with people in personal settings as a manner of interaction is healthy. Concealing who we really are to the people in the public or personal forums is not. We want to be vulnerable with our close relationships but authentic in all of our relationships. Integrity is where true intimacy starts with the sexual partner. If two people are confident in their identity as individuals, then they will be confident in how they express this sexually. If wholeness and honesty are present in all aspects of the private life, then what is done in private will be exposed, erotic and exciting? The Intimate Sexual Relationship Sex is an expression of confidence. This confidence comes from integrity. If I am a person of integrity than I am a partner of integrity. If I love myself I will express myself in love. This confidence is in me for who I am and not my performance. It is confidence in my wife for who she is and not her performance. Sex becomes the perfect expression of acceptance between two imperfect beings. Sex becomes an expression of mutual integrity. Sex is an expression of truth and openness. The best thing we can give our sexual partner is knowledge that there are no secrets, no lies and no deceptions. It can be freeing to make eye contact with a significant other, whether it is across the table in a restaurant or while we are making love , communicating there is nothing wrong between us. It is total honesty. It is being naked and not ashamed. It is being connected and not fearful. Sex is an expression of playfulness. Making love finds its origins in play. This playfulness comes from vulnerability and confidence. Two partners who have become comfortable with vulnerability and confidence initiate fun sex. We cannot work at creating better lovemaking; we have to play at it. Playing has a way of connecting. Gentle teasing, shared games, and mutual laughing can be bonding experiences. Even sexual mistakes can create playful memories. So often in making love, partners do things that are silly or embarrassing. As playful companions, we can laugh rather than be awkward. We each have childlike playfulness that is longing to be expressed. Fun sex is great sex. The intimate relationship I have with my wife is really the middle ground of the relationship I have with the inner integrity relationship and the vulnerable nonsexual relationships I have in my life. The Vulnerable Nonsexual Relationships A key contributor to experiencing deep sexual connection is in having vulnerable but non sexual closely connected relationships; deep friendships. It has been said, “A good friend is one who will bail you out of jail. A best friend is one who is sitting beside you in jail.” My wife is my absolute best friend (even though she hasn’t had to do the jail thing). I have found that one of the most beneficial things I can give my marriage is to have deep, open relationships with other buddies, good male associations. I find that because my wife and I share so much already, it is good to have other perspectives from a real good male counterpart. Having close friends to share vulnerable things with is a struggle for most men and is one of the fundamental reasons I have helped form an organization called Authentic Men’s Group. In these groups men practice and form friendships of intense vulnerability, talking openly about things previously closed off. In counseling many relationships that I work with have undo stress because there is no person other than the spouse who is being shared with at a deep level. This can actually be a disservice to the marriage. In talking about this we have come up with 5 Benefits that come from having vulnerable friendships: Practicing vulnerability with a nonsexual partner will give a deeper understanding of the uniqueness of intimacy with the sexual partner. Sharing of a burden with a trusted nonsexual friend will lighten the burden personally and take the burden off the spouse to be the sole helper with the struggle. Illustration: It creates a building with a load bearing wall that has too much weight on it. Talking to someone of the same gender about what is being experienced often creates a sense of not being the only one who is experiencing the challenge. Learning to trust an intimate nonsexual partner will ultimately help in trusting ourselves and trusting the spouse. Building support relationships with nonsexual intimate partners in the present will create reinforcement in the future if there is a loss of the sexual partner. Making deposits into friendship accounts will allow withdrawals from these accounts when needed. An investment in a deep friendship outside the marriage is an investment in deep intimacy inside the marriage. As we were thinking of some thoughts for this podcast on intimacy I thought back to a time about 5 years ago when my best friend was in a battle with leukemia. Our friendship goes back to the 1980s where we got to know each other at a small, private community college. As he struggled to win his battle, we also struggled for vulnerable connections. In these vulnerable times I was so thankful for the deep investments of time, energy and resources over the years. We found ourselves pulling from those deposits and finding our connection even closer. We went through this together. Our connectedness in such vulnerable times opened my wife and I up for some deep and meaningful conversations about life. These dialogues have continued to contribute to our intimacy in that we do not take each other for granted because of this reminder of our mortality. Conclusion Once aware of the three levels of connection that contribute to great sex there is also an awareness that sex is not the main thing. Connectedness is the main thing. When we experience connection with ourselves through integrity and with close friendship through vulnerability we can experience depth of connection in our sexuality.
Vulnerability Does Not Bite
Vulnerability Does Not Bite Introduction Definition of vulnerability: The quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. With this definition who would want to be vulnerable? Why are we doing this thing if this what the definition is? Vulnerability may seem scary and if not done intentionally it can be! Vulnerability done intentionally can be so rewarding. Vulnerability in spirituality is an expression of faith. Vulnerability in relationships is an expression of love. Vulnerability in your career is an expression of passion and purpose. However, vulnerability and shame can be synonymous for guys. If we fight or fear vulnerability it leads to shame. Letting go of control allows true control of now. When we don’t engage in our own personal vulnerability we are suffering from depth deprivation. A shallow relationship with yourself and your close relationships leads to a lack of fulfillment and even mental illness. Circle of Relationships- Authentic with everyone, vulnerable with a few. What we have learned about vulnerability? 1. Vulnerability can only be present in the present Vulnerability can only be present in the present. (Emotional agility, experience the experience) Vulnerability is often talked about in the past. Stories of vulnerability that we recall are good as a frame of reference but their major purpose be to remind me of how important it is to be vulnerable today. When I was a kid I was raised in a church environment that was big on testimonies. People known as evangelists (spreaders of good news) made their living going around telling about the the times in their lives when they became powerless ended up in dire circumstances, realized that they needed to surrender to something or someone different and it changed their lives. They went on to live in those past stories of vulnerability. Most of the past incidents were because of forced vulnerability. In this we become powerless or out of control. This is reactive vulnerability, often in our Sexuality with men. Today I have the opportunity to be vulnerable as a choice or by being proactive. Again I can only be so in my deepest and most connected relationships. I make the choice to be open, transparent and without secrets to someone or a select few people in my life. 2. What we are learning about vulnerability: Transparency is key - When men allow themselves the freedom of openness they find that this neither comfortable nor excruciating. Men are finding that the more they talk about shame the less they have of it. Men realize that things that made them vulnerable in the past now make them strong to face the future. It has been incredible to see how such transparency terminates shame. Illustration: If I am keeping a password on my phone so my wife cannot have access to it I am not practicing vulnerability. If you get too close to the Fire to Quick you will burn to death. If you get too far away from the fire you will freeze to death. 3. What we are learning about vulnerability: Courage is evident - Men in Authentic Men’s Groups have the courage to acknowledge imperfection and to talk about it. They are willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they are. Such men have the willingness to give themselves to something or someone without guarantee. They have the ability to invest in relationships even if they may not work out. We practice vulnerability to be authentic to who we are not to get a response from others. We are not responsible for their response only how we present ourselves. 4. What we are learning about vulnerability: Connectedness is wanted. Men are realizing that the core to connection is openness. This openness, when practiced in a safe group of fellow strugglers, allows movement to real relationships having realistic expectations and expression of our true self. This is happening through the connectedness that comes from being vulnerable with a few. Men are finding that accountability is the byproduct of authenticity and vulnerability. Authenticability trumps accountability every time. It’s proactive not reactive. One of the concepts of AMG is that we be authentic with everyone and vulnerable with a few. At whatever depth the relationship is that is as much as I can be vulnerable. 5. What we are learning about vulnerability: Compassion is experienced. When we find the compassion to be kind to themselves first they then can be kind to others. Men are considering themselves to be good. Men are learning to practice empathy and consideration knowing the help that comes when they have received it. Can’t give away what we don’t have. Authentic Call to Action: Find a place or a friend where I can be vulnerable on a regular basis. Practice vulnerability with trusted relationships. Conclusion When a safe and trusted environment is established men find that 1. Present, Transparent, Courageous, Connected and Compassionate serve them well and consequently serves their deepest and most connected associations along with all of the other of their Circle of Relationships. All of the research and development is paying off as we see men experiencing freedom, connectedness and intimacy in their lives.
Father's 3 Virtues
Father’s 3 Virtues Introduction Here are some quotes about fathers made in AMG sessions: I never heard my dad tell me he loved me, ever. When I had a dream or a vision I had it dashed by my father. I began to measure up to my Dad when I made more money than he did. I don’t ever remember my dad and mother hugging. My dad only showed one emotion and that was anger. There is a deep longing in all of us to connect with our fathers. Robert McGee in his book Father Hunger said it well: “What better word than hunger can describe the sensation of wanting a father’s love. Indeed, the desire goes beyond mere want. It is truly a need. We don’t just want our fathers to love us; we need them to love us. This kind of emotional hunger acts in many ways just like physical hunger… Such hunger is a drive that must be met…” The 3 V Approach (Virtues, Values & Vulnerability) With all of the cultural and societal change the challenges of parenting can be overwhelming. What does effective fathering look like today? Where does one find the answer to all of the alterations that have taken place in recent times? The answer comes back to history; long history, as in ancient history. The most enlightening directives for modern-day fatherhood come from that which is most enduring; the virtues, the values and the vulnerability demonstrated by those who went before us. Virtues – Explaining and exemplifying positive virtues has a permanent impact no matter what the culture. Affirmative qualities like honesty, diligence, service, trust, forgiveness, honor, and respect; to name a few. The proclaiming and demonstrating the goodness of a life well-lived is something that fathers can give that will create the bedrock for the generations to follow. Demonstrating a virtuous life encompasses five components of holistic health: Social Goodness: To display to our children the value of being a good citizen provides security for them. Showing them how to look for the good in others and ways to do good for others is a foundation that will provide grounding for our kids. Physical Health: To show our kids the importance of being healthful will prove to helpful to their holistic development and will give them stability. Being strong and healthy for the purpose of interacting and protecting those who are dear to us is a good example for those who follow us. Intellectual Vigor: To let our kids know by showing them the importance of using our mind in a way that it is not shaped by others will provide a good basis for them. Demonstrating the adventure of finding out new things along with the learning and passing down of ancient truth will facilitate the endurance of intellectual health. Emotional Freedom: Learning to express our emotions in healthy and constructive ways and leaving will grant a great heritage. Ending the message of ‘big boys don’t cry’ and replacing it with the communication that sensitivity to self and others is a good way to live now and in the future. To demonstrate to our kids the power of such emotions as peace and joy will give stability as will demonstrating support in the expression of their negative emotions. Spiritual Well Being: To solicit the power of the human spirit by being in touch with The Divine will give great grounding to our kids. The teaching of the structures and standards of religious practice in their formative years is good practice. When they have the container of religion to hold truth when they are young they can learn to overflow the container with relationships when they are adults. Embracing inclusive and expansive spiritual practices is good stability for our descendants and the culture in which they will live. Values – To know our value and show our kids theirs is a good way to create stability in the midst of changing times. This value places the character above performance. Letting our kids know of the positive character traits they possess invites them to apply these beneficial mannerisms to anything they set out to accomplish. As they know their core value they will know core values. The personal value expressed will provide corporate value experienced in both family life and society. The best way to teach those close to us their value is to know our own. We can’t teach what we don’t know. By knowing our positive character traits, strengths, and gifts we can help others identify their positive attributes. Vulnerability – The humility of vulnerability gives stability. To be authentic and real is another way to demonstrate grounded-ness in the culture of change. It is important to show our essential truth demonstrated in everyday life. This shows up by being authentic with everyone and vulnerable with a select few. We not only tell the truth but also live the truth as we see it. We have no secrets. It means being open, honest, and transparent. It encompasses an apology when we make mistakes and deferring honor to those who have helped us when we have success. It means admitting our weakness and celebrating our strength in the presence of those who make it safe to do so. It means being real and letting our realness be demonstrated in the here and now. Big changes in our culture can be best addressed by little applications in our day-to-day lives. As we consistently live a healthy and holistic life before our children and grandchildren we can influence their stability and the stability of the world they will live in. Take a 3 V Approach 1. Virtues 2. Values 3. Vulnerability
Rethinking Masculinity General Outline: Why toxic masculine norms need to be challenged and masculinity redefined. What are toxic masculine norms How AMG is challenging toxic masculine norms and redefining masculinity. Why Toxic Masculine Norms need to be challenged and Masculinity redefined. There are multiple movements going on right now seeking much-needed equality from racial, feminists, and LQBTQ communities as well as many others. These movements are not exclusive to men. I dare say that as a society when we rethink what it means to be a man and challenge ingrained toxic masculine norms, huge strides will be made in these movements. This is not saying that men are the sole problem... so please do not misunderstand the point I am trying to introduce. I think healthy men and women are the solutions to the equality problem! And women are much more likely to seek health than men. I think the views that we as human beings hold towards masculinity are a big part of the problem. Author and advocate Liz Plank sums it up well when she writes, “... there is no greater threat to humankind than our current definition of masculinity.” With statistics showing that 80%% of suicides are male and 67.5% of the homeless population are male, I can’t help but see a huge need for men to have a place to be authentic. A place to ask for help without being shamed. What are Toxic Masculine Norms We as men and boys are socialized into conforming to a definition of masculinity that encourages being tough, showing no emotions outside of anger, and to be reliant solely on ourselves. Basically Toxic Masculine Norms are any definitions that we hold about what it means to be a man that keeps us from being authentic. If a boy hears the toxic masculine norm that “men don’t cry” enough times, they will likely hide their inevitable emotional problems as men when they grow up. These toxic beliefs leave most men emotionally stunted and aggressive. Another example is in how we treat teenagers. Toxic masculine norms tell us that it is a sign of masculinity if a son is wild in high school and has sex with multiple girls. We would stereotypically say “boys will be boys”. But in reverse, if a daughter is that way she is quickly labeled as a whore or loose. As fathers, we may tell our son that he is just like his old man and laugh. But if our daughter were to come home bragging about the same thing we are reaching for the gun to find the boys responsible. These toxic masculine norms not only hurt men but the ones we love too. Our partners... our kids... Society at large. How AMG is challenging Toxic Masculine Norms and redefining masculinity We want to have some honest and authentic conversation around what it means to be a man if we are to challenge these toxic masculine norms. AMG is where this is happening. AMG is a place where men can practice authenticity rather than being stoic and emotionless. We get to practice empathy rather than aggression or passiveness. And the best news is you won’t lose your “man card” if you do. Conclusion Society subtly teaches men toxic masculine norms that leave men hiding their emotions, going at life alone, and ultimately living a less fulfilled life. It is not only affecting men but the ones we love and society at large. If you are a man, get with a safe group of other men where there can be an authentic discussion about these toxic masculine norms and how you are defining masculinity. If you are a woman listening to this podcast, first off thank you for listening and caring about the health of men! I want to encourage you to challenge toxic masculine norms when you hear them. ● Do you know of someone that is hurting or living a less than fulfilled life because they are trying to live up to a toxic and unrealistic definition of masculinity? ● What are some of the toxic masculine norms that you have heard? ● Have you ever had an authentic conversation with another man about what it means to be a man? Was it a healthy definition or did it have toxic masculine norms?
Imperfect Not Imposters
Men are hiding in one of two places, they are either hiding from success or hiding in success. Most men hide from success by just staying away from it and flying below radar. In this way their failures or perceived failures will never be seen. The other type of hider, are the men that hide in their success. These men though fewer in number have a far more elaborate way of hiding. They achieve more, accomplish more and collect more than their average male counterpart but still have the same problem. Despite being high achievers and even experts in their field these men can’t seem to get beyond the feeling that if they were really found out they would be considered imposters. They feel like frauds. They are highly capable males being plagued by nagging self- doubt. The insecurities of achieving men are often reinforced in their close relationships. They experience this when their wives or children treat them with disrespect. Despite the external evidence of their competence, these successful men remain convinced that they do not deserve success. For these high achievers here are some suggestions: 5 Ways To Authentically Embrace Our Failures Move beyond personal and relational failures recognizing them as just steps to personal and relational success. Talk about shame openly. The more you talk about shame the less you have it. Know yourself to be good and live that out. Acknowledge your personal value above your performance. Describe yourself by your character traits not by your accomplishments. Develop and use a trusted support group. Men are finding their true value through AMG groups. Here they acknowledge that they may be imperfect but they don’t have to live as imposters. By acknowledging their personal shame but more importantly their personal value they are living with authentic success in life and relationship.
- Season 1