Have the Conversation

In this cultural moment, there’s no shortage of loneliness, deaths-of-despair, confused, porn-addled, and friendless men out there.

At the same time, there have never been as many opportunities for men to connect to themselves, to one another, and to learn, grow, and most importantly, to heal individually and collectively.

One question my colleagues and I in the men’s work field constantly ask ourselves is, with circumstances and stats being what they are, why aren’t more men making their way to those opportunities?

I see the deepest hesitations housed in the same distorted, old masculine ideals that lead to the loneliness, deaths of despair, etc., mentioned above.  It doesn’t make sense to think that the stuff that imprisons you is somehow going to free you.  It’s important to remember that if you were raised to believe that confiding in another and seeking help are tell-tale signs of weakness, ineptitude, and impotence, then loneliness and despair might actually seem a lesser evil, however damaging or even deadly they may be.

A frightening, twisted rationale says it’s better to suffer the pain of silent separation – or remove oneself from the game – than be found out.

When one slows down, gets some distance, and questions that rationale, it crumbles under its own weight.  Usually.  (I’m of the opinion that there are still too many men who would, quite literally, choose their own demise over displaying an iota of perceived weakness.)

This isn’t hyperbole.  The stats concerning men clearly speak for themselves.

Here’s the thing: The pain that’s out there needn’t be so deep.  The loneliness needn’t be bottomless.  There’s plenty of help out there in the form of men’s groups, training programs, 12-step and other recovery programs, coaching, individual and group therapy, faith-based men’s circles and more.

In this month of “Movember,” while the focus is on men’s health awareness, take the time to look in the mirror and have an honest conversation with yourself about what you want your relationship to and with that man to be.  I suggest you choose honest, open-hearted, compassionate – and willing to ask for help to make it so.

It may be the most courageous conversation you’ve ever had…

And I promise it’ll be worth it.