Growing up, how many of you were encouraged to have nurturing relationships with other men? How many of you had a sense that other men in your life truly had your back, no matter what?
Or was it more like you would see the men around you doing competition, lack of kindness or regard, or the ‘macho’ attitude – and decided you didn’t want anything to do with them, let alone be like them?
I remember at as a little boy, I decided that I didn’t want to be like my father. Every time people looked at me and said, “You look just like your father,” I would get angry and upset. It was like they were running fingernails against chalk somewhere in my mind.
What I didn’t get until much later was that my Dad was an awesome, intelligent guy, and he didn’t really trust himself.
If you don’t have your own back as a man or learn to trust yourself, it creates a separation from other men, where you cannot have their back or trust them either. Instead, we get to blame them and compete with them and resist them… But how much fun is that?
Are you ready for a different possibility, where you get to be a man and receive the gift that other men can be too?
Here are the first three steps!
1. Stop judging men, and stop judging you
Judgment always creates separation. I used to think basically there were two kinds of men: the men I agreed with, and the men I disagreed with. That’s how I knew which side of the room I was supposed to stand on. If I agreed with someone that meant he was my friend; but then if I didn’t disagree with him, what was the point of the conversation? Most of the conversations I had growing up were all about trying to prove who was right and who was wrong to get them to see my side of things.
If you’d like to have a truly phenomenal relationship with men, it can’t be about getting them to see your side of things. If you get out of the need to be agreed with or fight against being disagreed with, it can open up the possibility of changing the relationship.
Next time you find yourself in one of those conversations that looks like it’s going to turn into a debate, every time that macho thing kicks in where you have a point of view you have to prove, stop and say to yourself, “Interesting point of view, I have this point of view.” And instead of arguing or proving your point of view, listen to their’s and ask them more questions about it.
“Interesting point of view” is a great way to get you out of the polarity of right and wrong and into allowance, which is the second step.
2. Have allowance of men (yourself included!)
Allowance is not agreeing with everything men say or do, or disagreeing with it. It’s being willing to receive what they are saying and being without having to agree or fight against it. With allowance, you can have relationships where people trust you because they know you are someone who will listen to them without judging them. It’s a lot more creative and generative, because after you listen to someone without judging them and you hear what they have to say, suddenly you have a friend who can have your back, because he knows you aren’t going to pull the rug out from under him.
3. See the beauty in other men
In this reality, we are taught that if we see the beauty in another man that means that we are gay; and then we think that’s wrong or right, and that we have to do something with it. That point of view creates a lot of really weird separation between us. Seeing the beauty in other men doesn’t have to mean we are gay or that we have to do anything. It can just be: “Wow that guy is beautiful, I’m so grateful he’s in my life.” When you can enjoy being with beautiful men without judging yourself, that’s the first step to actually having a nurturing friendship.
A great by-product of being willing to see the beauty in men and to have gratitude for them is that you cannot judge what you are grateful for. With gratitude, judgment cannot exist, and allowance can. How does it get any better than that?
So if you stopped judging men, started allowing their point of view, and chose to be grateful for their presence, I wonder what else could be possible in your friendships?