Do you regularly want to do fun, new and interesting things but somehow never find the time or energy to do them? Do you start new projects but struggle to complete them? Do you feel like you’re aimlessly floating through life without purpose?
In continuing on the theme of celebrating the masculine for this month, today I am exposing 5 ways my own inner man needed to grow up and offering some journal prompts I wish I had come across to more quickly see them and change them. These questions are helpful regardless of your gender since we all have masculine and feminine qualities.
For those of you just stopping by here is a recap of what has been covered so far . In the first post I defined the oppressive form of masculinity termed the man box, what defines balanced masculinity and ways to increase it. In the second post I explored the man box further and the consequence of how it badgers away at men’s ability to be self aware and self directed. I also gave 2 big ideas of what can help revive those critical self care skills.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Different than the feminine
As opposed to the common struggle most women have of putting the care of others before their own, which I explored here, men often struggle with having enough self reflection to be able to decipher what they really want and need. In my last post I explored how the man code that most men abide within (or man box, a term coined by activist Tony porter), keeps them from developing the faculty of self awareness.
Manning Up, My Story 🙂
My own story includes recognizing the need to develop me own masculine qualities and and then making changes for the better. This couldn’t have happened without the critical step of understanding my own father’s impact on me.
My own father had grown up with examples of men that were violent and dismissive. While growing up I watched him struggle with being able to calm his own inner storm long enough to make confident choices. Most of the time he displayed to various levels one emotion, anger. Thankfully through his own self study (reading psychology and self development books) throughout the years, he has gradually begun to acknowledge other feelings like sadness, embarrassment, frustration, fear, guilt, worry etc.
5 Signs Your Inner Man Needs To Grow Up
After many painful life experiences and my own deliberate time in reflection I realized, I had been reliving what I saw as a child and that I needed to grow up my own inner man. My masculine side was undeveloped in these 5 ways.
- I lacked the clarity on what I really wanted and so anxiously did what I thought others expected me to do. This played out in my being, for lack of better words, half a**ed in my efforts and then blaming the “others” for my lackluster results.
- I cowered from taking full accountability for my choices worried that I’d make the “wrong” choice. This played out in my endlessly researching choices and not taking action. Looking back many great opportunities passed me by.
- Since I wasn’t clear on what was important to me, I had no boundaries on my time and energy. I regularly agreed to do things I really didn’t want to do resulting in my abandoning those commitments midway without communicating to those relying on me. This broke any trust people had in me, ultimately severing those relationships.
- Being mostly other-directed as opposed to self-directed, I couldn’t acknowledge any talents outside those involved in my care giving roles. I made care giving my entire identity.
- I’ve always been deeply emotional and saw this as a weakness. I suppressed most of my feelings having them eventually build up to undeniable levels. I’d explosively vent them on others or have a break down.
Flexing The Masculine Muscles
Things have since changed through my own self -care journey. Deepening my commitment to my own self care through many bumpy and happy times over the years, grew my self- confidence, self-discipline, clarity of purpose, accountability and focus.
Walking Through The Fog Before the Clarity
Understanding the link between how I was fathered and essentially, how I have fathered myself as an adult has been like walking through a dense fog before arriving to clarity. After suppressing my emotions for so long, looking at them felt like taking out a chest full of tangled up gunk. It took years of living more intentionally and reflecting through countless self created painful situations, to become aware of and take action to change my painful patterns.
Questioning The Root of Our Masculine Struggles
Looking back I wonder if I had come across some poignant questions to ask myself to get to the heart of my fathering issues if I would of been able to make changes sooner. That said here are some journal prompts for your own self care-reflection inquiry.
Reflect +Correct= Change
It is helpful to reflect on the models of masculine that we grew up to see how we have unconsciously repeated them. As the saying goes, children don’t do what you say, they do what you do.
I suggest you set aside at least fifteen minutes of undisturbed time before you begin answering the questions. Keep in mind that when I say father I don’t necessarily mean your blood related father. It could be your foster parent, grandparent, maybe even a friend has been a father figure for you. I encourage you to recall who have crossed your path (counselor, teacher, mentor, friend) that has given you even a glimpse into what it means to father.
Take a deep breath into your belly and relax your muscles before you begin to read through them. I encourage you to first scan the questions and select the the tops 3 that stand out to you the most.
- What do you remember most of how you were fathered?
- What is the overall feeling you get when you think of your father during your childhood?
- What challenges did you witness your father navigate through?
- How did he navigate them?
- How has witnessing that, influenced the way you navigate challenges?
- What was the fathering style you received the most, was it negligent, critical, overbearing, harsh, fickle, distant or encouraging, gentle, supportive, firm?
- What parallels do you notice in how you were fathered and how you now father yourself? I.e. set goals and accomplish them, present yourself to the world, build up and develop your talents and gifts, manage your money, ?
- What things from your past experience of being fathered, have you as an adult intentionally made sure to avoid?
- What things from your past experience of being fathered, have you as an adult intentionally made sure to continue?
- There is always a child within you that needs direction, confidence, a sense of purpose, dreams and plans to accomplish them . How do you show up for those needs?
- In light of this inquiry, what would serve you to begin to do differently?
What did you notice? Do you recognize any of my old 5 patterns in yourself? I’d love to know.
I you think this post needed something more let me know.
If you found it helpful like, share or comment below. As always thank you for stopping by!