The writer of the book, As A Man Thinketh, James Allen states,"Men are willing to change their circumstances, but are unwilling to change themselves, therefore, they remain bound." To me, it's one of the most profound quotes I've heard. It speaks much truth into the core of a man. Not just any man, but to all men, including myself. Take a moment to reflect on this quote and what it means to you.
I was that man who was bound. I went into the Marines to change myself. I got married at 21 years old to change myself. I became a police officer and worked for the DEA to change myself. I was an administrator at a alternative school with at-risk youth to change myself. I had a position in the church to change myself. I had friends who were powerful people to change myself. With all that, I didn't change or want to change. I needed the clubs, I needed the woman. I needed the pornography. I needed to be respected. I needed to be needed and wanted. I had all these powerful positions, but in actuality I was bound. I was willing to change my circumstances, but was unwilling to change myself.
As I look back, I didn't know how to change myself and I really didn't want to change. It's very simple. Most men were taught how to be a man by the age of seven years old. When a boy fell off his bike and scraped his knees on the concrete. He was told, "I better not see any tears." At the age of 12, after a boy got up the nerve to give the girl in their class a note that read, "Can you stand a chance?, circle YES or NO."When she circled "NO", he had his first experience of rejection. He never told anyone how that made him feel. When he was bullied in middle school, he was told, "Stop acting like a sissy, stop being a punk, stop, stop stop and be a man!" We were only 12 years old. How can a 12 year old BOY be a man? We did what others told us to do and we became men at 7, 12 and 15 years old.
Since we were taught not to share or show our emotions we became conditioned not to share. Pavlov's dogs heard a bell and the dogs began to salivate. They salivated just by hearing a bell. I'll reiterate that point.They salivated just by hearing a bell. When we experience rejection, lose our jobs, someone dies, we begin to salivate. The bell rings in our hearts and head telling us not to show or express our emotions. Men, when we don't express ourselves, we can become destructive. Destructive to our families, our wives, our children and our communities.
Men, we have to unlearned what we have learned. We have to deprogram our minds and connect with our hearts and say it's OK to emote. We have to give ourselves permission to say how we feel. We have to say to the adults in our past that they were wrong for telling us to "Suck It Up." The reason why we are unwilling change ourselves is because it's unsafe. Society has told us that it's unsafe. It's reinforced in our relationships with women. When a man fails, doesn't step up, makes a mistake, does something wrong, didn't do what they were suppose to do. We hear, "What's wrong with you?" "Be a man" My daddy didn't do that" "You act like a ...:"
Those statements are reminders of what we were told growing up. What do men do when we hear those statements? We developed poor coping mechanisms. We cope by getting as many women as we can to make us feel good. By the way, it's not about sex (that's another blog). Men, get prostitutes, escorts and women on the side. These women are the counterfeit and mean absolutely nothing, but just a pacifier to suck on to make a man feel better. Men get hooked on porn, gambling, drugs and even get sexual connected with other men.
Some men who have spiritual roles such as; Pastors, Bishops, Elders, Deacons or occupy powerful positions in the church have covered up the emasculation that took place as a child. That's why pornography, adultery and greed is very high in men who have spiritual roles in the church. The question remains are they still bound from their past?. Men who have high profile professions such as Performers, Actors, CEO's, Doctors, Lawyers and Politicians have to make sure that the "I's" are dotted and the"T's" are crossed every day. The question remains are they still bound from their past?. Professional Athletes have to take the skills and the gifts that they had since they were children and perform at the highest level of talent on a stage in front of millions. The question still remains are they still bound?.
Men become addicted to drugs, alcohol and clubs, because it is allows them to escape from the pain, both in the past and present. When a man sticks his head out of his cave, he is seeing if it's safe or not. If it is unsafe he goes back into the cave. When a man goes back into his cave he will play with the toys he has brought with him. 80% of suicides occur by men. Boys are killing boys. Men are walking away from their marriages because they can't play in the playground of adult healthy relationships. Men are detaching themselves from their children because they are bound by shame and regret and acting out what they experienced from their father.
Men, it's time to get unbound and come out the cave. I had to look in the mirror and tell myself, "I'm tired of being bound, tired of lying, cheating, perpetrating and deceiving." To get unbound, just look in the mirror and say to yourself, "I'm tired of remaining bound." Next, let God know you are ready to be free of the bondage and for him to reveal to you what is next in your life. Final, seek counsel in how to deal with the past, empty your cup and to begin a new journey in your life. Your legacy needs you to be free from the bondage. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."-John 8:36. For counseling, advice and support contact The Men's Counseling Network.