Monday, December 5, 2022
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The perfect man does not exist.

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I was standing at the checkout of a supermarket. A boy of about four years old helped me put my shopping basket on top of the other baskets. His father reacted angrily and did not think it necessary for the boy to help me. I saw how the boy was startled, and how his eyes turned upwards. Startled, he went and stood a little further away while his father cleaned up the groceries and meanwhile shouted some words of disapproval to his son.

At that moment I was faced with a choice. How would I react? At that moment I decided not to judge the father but adjusted myself to feel love and understanding for him. Perhaps he felt very burdened and had all kinds of problems, at home or at work. I wondered what would happen if this man got attention and was allowed to share and feel what was alive inside him.

What would it be like if he made contact with that four-year-old boy in himself? What would the world look like then? How would that affect his partner, his children and his environment?

Men and their pain

father-sonWe are used and raised not to feel. Our fathers were hard workers or absent fathers burdened with their own past. In relationships, we are often accused of being closed off and unable to express ourselves properly. This makes us feel isolated, lonely or unworthy. Seek refuge in addictions, cheating or withdrawing, start working hard to avoid feeling how lonely we feel inside. The rational, solution-oriented, impersonal setting boundaries, going straight to your goal are important qualities that we label as masculine. While a mother gives space to her children, it is the father (energy) who says stop and limits. This provides security and structure.

the real man

When men have to or want to be sensitive and vulnerable, it can seem that there is something wrong with the way they are as a man. They want to change and meet the expectations that women place on them. Conversely, men who are already sensitive want to be powerful men because they are too vulnerable, too open, and boundless.

In either case, the key is acceptance of where you are. You’re already a good man and there’s nothing wrong with you. You don’t have to try hard to change. That change comes from embracing and accepting the qualities that are there.

Sensitive man

If you are very rational and live in your head a lot, don’t judge that. Gradually experience that there is more than just your head and learn to make contact with your body. Take a look at what touches or moves you. What are you struggling with? There’s almost been a kind of myth that women can feel better than men.

As a man you will feel inferior. Isn’t it true that you have all kinds of ideas about how you should be and behave as a man? For fear of not belonging or of being portrayed as a wimp or a rooster. Where do those ideas come from? Are they yours?

I was looking for years. I was so sensitive and vulnerable. Went to do men’s groups with all kinds of rituals. Felt the pain and loss of a father. I learned a lot, but I didn’t feel like a man anymore. I was still stuck with the image of a powerful man. There came a time when I saw through it. I’m a man and that’s good.

I don’t have to conform to any image. All it takes is getting to know and accept myself. Returning to myself. I learned to set boundaries, to take up space in my own way. Take myself seriously and value myself. I got to know that little insecure boy in me with all his feelings and his search for that father who was not there. Feeling the lack and connecting with it brought me into contact with my own power and love.

Conscious men and women

I think it’s important that we don’t see our children as extensions or fillers for our own unprocessed pain. Sons who are seen by their mother and used as a replacement for their own missed mate cannot grow up to be mature and healthy men. They will feel obliged to take care of their mother at the expense of themselves. Unconsciously, they will feel deep-seated self-loathing and anger at the women around them. Of course, the same applies to daughters and fathers.

Present fathers can be an example for their sons and help them break free from the child and mother bond, so that they can stand on their own feet in their strength. With love, warmth and respect for the women around them. As a mother and wife, lovingly examine to what extent your own lack of love projects onto your sons or husband. What should they give you and what requirements should they meet?

Women also need to become aware of patterns that keep men small and dependent, which leads to fear and aggression and power inequality. We men, too, must learn not to project our pain onto the women around us. Acknowledge the needy and helpless little boy in you and take care of it. Take responsibility for your own pain.

Be brave

A man may cry, he does not always have to be strong. Which men have the courage to be sensitive and vulnerable and break the silence? Show your strength by showing what lives inside you. Do this with love for yourself and the other. Make time to be instead of doing. A loving world requires a healthy connection between men and women that starts with acknowledging and processing your own childhood pain and love for yourself.

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