Men are Strong!

Their human hearts beat trying to live up to some ideal.

We tend to believe they are a different species, but we’re much the same. And I don’t speak for all men or the perspective of all women, just my own.

In my coaching practice, I’ve found men stick through what can be grueling self-exploration and change at times, watching vulnerability become the norm for our sessions.

Men can change.

When they desire true happiness; they commit and stick with it until results show in their lives. Once he changes, some women don’t know what to do with the man they’ve been haranguing for years. The man is ready to communicate and work together, yet the woman wants to change him back to their comfort zone. I have watched it split up couples.

Fulfillment and inner peace become more important, and women who share that goal are what will show up in the lives of single men.

My clients have taught me a lot, as have men in and around my life.

They want to be understood and loved.

Men like to fix. They’re solution-oriented. They’re strong.

They’re equipped with an innate desire to help and yet, many times are shamed for doing just what comes naturally.

So, some men stop fixing; instead they hide, back off or pretend nothing is wrong. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

Some men have a need to be a paragon of “perfection” to the world; “the guy.” The weight of that world strangles them, because there’s no real reward for the burden. Fulfillment doesn’t come through living up to expectations.

I’ve found they are more hurt than they show when they disappoint someone, so some stop trying or never do in an effort to avoid possible shame from not being enough.

Perfection is a painful place to live, filled with fear and the anxiety of possible criticism or failure in being a man.

This may be an extreme, but fears can keep a man in a pattern that destroys his future happiness.

Some say fear and pain are drivers, but they just fuel activity having nothing to do with true desires in their heart and soul. Pain is not in the heart and soul; love, creativity, passion, excitement and boldness live there.

Men may admit to pain, but may cover it quickly with saying how it creates an adventure. The reality is those are words meant to block vulnerability.

Many are taught they must assume responsibilities and always show strength.

Except the definition of strength is a little confusing.

Strength is not ego, hollow words that sound good, competing or harming anyone. Strength is getting to know oneself, standing for one’s own meaning, the vulnerability of admitting to chinks in the armor and being there for his partner.

Strong men know vulnerability is the key to their soul.

They listen, engage, connect with intimacy, are playful, cry, talk and have fears but show up anyway, because to them to deny or hide is to be a host to regret.

Men get beat up as much as women, if not more when it comes to being told they are bad, wrong or not worth it.

So why would one want to be vulnerable?

Well, from my perspective it stops heart attacks, loneliness and stress. Relationships teach us more than being alone; being a loner is an easy way out of vulnerability. 

When you are invulnerable you attract EXACTLY that to you, which creates a relationship of struggle.

If the man is invulnerable, a vulnerable woman will sooner or later realize the return on investment is at a cost to her, so she’ll seek a man who is strong enough to be vulnerable.

If you want a good woman, vulnerability is your true strength…show up wearing nothing but that and she will love you forever!

A gift to men is for you to listen.

Don’t judge.

Let him talk and talk until he starts to open up, he touches vulnerability and there is nothing to fear in what is said, no one is abandoned or ridiculed. Confidence is born from the expression of what is true, no matter if it inadvertently hurts or is hard to hear.

Confidence keeps a man from believing he must settle in life or make the best out of a life he doesn’t want. I watch as men just as often as women will tell themselves stories, because they are afraid too.

And fear is part of the human experience. When a man admits that he is scared to anyone, it shows he has more balls than a dude who can bench press an elephant. Half the battle is saying it and the other half is to take action, which takes him out of his comfort zone.

In Latin, true courage is strength of heart.

For men more than women, they have to detach from the outcome or fear of failure; vulnerability is a way of life, it’s the goal.

It’s the most amazing experience witnessing a man communicate his truth.

Men want to please.  They are enough. Always. Even when you don’t get what you want. And even when they fail. Tell the man in your life that he’s enough, as is…no different, no worse, no better.

No one is wrong. Don’t make em wrong. Don’t ask what’s wrong.

Share. Be honest.

Don’t strategize, manipulate or try to get what you want. Ask them to listen.

Speak from your heart. Ask open-ended questions, which require a real answer that you must promise not to take personally.

No one needs to purposely annihilate the other; there is no right or wrong, just two different people. Watch intimacy start to bloom, strength and confidence invigorate and bring happiness, unconditional love and a deep bond.

Men want this as much you do, they may just have a longer route to the same destination.

Shining Armor or Shining Heart?

What is strength? I have had a few clients walk into my office proclaiming their strength.

Most of the time the word “strength” is misconstrued.

When I hear a client tell me it is strength they possess; I find it is often related to what they present to the world; how they may tell someone off, their apparent incarnation as the burro that everyone places their backpacks on, in other words, they carry the weight of the entire world on their back.

Sometimes my client means they can handle anything that comes their way, “Bring it on, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger!”

Thing is….all this strength is weighing them down and that kind of stress may lead to a not so “strong” road ahead.

Being strong as in, “wearing armor”, means you have built walls. When you dismantle the wall, what is behind door number three?

That is why we like to place value in our walls or armor, that way no one including us, has to deal with what is behind that curtain. It can be scary to even take a peek, when you create this type of separation within yourself.

Many of my clients visit me, because they retain this remarkable strength. They are also suffering from high levels of anxiety, a need to push help away offered by others, perfectionism, depression, stress, fear and are trying to keep it all in balance. They can’t figure out why they feel so weak, when they are being so strong.

A few missing elements from this “type” of strength are words such as: connection, peace, belonging, vulnerability, courage and feeling good enough or worthy.

This type of strength requires one to prove oneself against a measuring stick with no end. It is a system of approval that is vague and has no absolute authority, because there is no one there to greet you at the finish line for strength; there is no reward leading to fulfillment.

A person can keep on proving their mettle and never feel good.

Strength that I work on everyday in my life is finding where I build walls to myself and against others. Strength is seeking my own vulnerability and speaking my truth to whomever may listen. Strength builds connection not superiority or inferiority; it allows me to relax and embrace happiness. Strength of being my most authentic self no matter what it may cost in how I appear to others is priceless; I know of nothing more that brings a sense of wholeness. Strength is reaching out and specifically stating what you need from others; clarity brings Strength is honesty, pain, happiness, love–feeling all of OUR emotions; visiting what breathes behind my carefully placed armor and constructed walls.

Strength says “no” when you mean “no” and “yes” when you mean “yes”.

Strength is recognizing you are enough and worthy just because you exist and doing what suits you from your heart and soul. Want to fingerpaint all day Saturday and not run errands? Do it! Want to start a fan club for happiness? Begin it now. Start living life on your terms…that is true strength.

There is no need to draw a line in the sand or tell other people where to go. You just go where you want, others can join you or choose their own road. Freedom is true strength.

Take a stand for yourself by being true to your heart, not your mind and the stories it tells you that you “should” act in any capacity…there will always be the “what ifs, the shoulds, the have to’s etc…”

And what happens if you don’t do the items on the “should list”? Your world changes.

I watch it happen with my clients all the time. Stop a “Should” in its tracks. They break a pattern of auto-pilot and become engaged in their life by not being the burro, superman, a knight in armor, the tent-holder or any other show of “strength” which is meant for applause by an invisible entity…. they drop down to where they live behind the wall and come out and play.

Strength is in vogue when it is from your most vulnerable, authentic, connected place inside of you….

Please let me know your thoughts on how “strength” works in your life.