Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Top 5 Ways to Bring Back that Manly Feeling
1 - Strength from Above
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6 (Holy Bible, English Standard Version)
The best way for me to re-orient myself is to look to the heavens. As a Christian, when trouble comes a knockin', I find strength in God. I must admit, I don't always look to Him first. I often begin with trying to find my own way out, which is usually the path of least resistance and/or generally ineffective. In my case, that method compounds the problem and prolongs the agony.
When I look to Him first, even if it's simply to find some much needed strength and encouragement, as the verse above provides, I know I am setting my feet on firm ground. From that sound footing, it's harder to make the next step the wrong one.
2 - Keep Calm and Carry On
That phrase is turning up on posters and t-shirts everywhere and there's a risk of it being cliche. But, think about it, once something makes it to widespread t-shirt distribution, there must be something to it's popularity.
In this case, there's something substantive there.
As men, husbands, and fathers, I don't believe we'll ever shake the feeling that we're in control of everything. We have the perception we're ultimately the responsible party. It's a DNA-level component. The downside to that is when something goes awry, no matter how strong we believe ourselves to be, we feel like we've somehow failed our family and ourselves. (Hear the vacuum cleaner?)
In my own case, I find it's easy to make rash decisions that appear to provide a quick fix and set things right forthwith. The problem with my band-aid fixes is that they leave the larger problem looming.
When I remain calm, get past the notion of being a failure, and face the problem head-on, I'm better equipped to address it correctly. I get a better picture of it, usually find it's manageable. and have a clearer idea of how to get rid of the thing.
3 - Seek Wise Counsel
There's no more wise counsel than God, as discussed above, but, if you're married, a close second is your wife. Wives have the same insecurities as husbands, though she may express them differently. They also enjoy the times when the world is right. Having those things in common, plus the other tiny matter of a shared life, there's no person better equipped to help you through most things.
A trusted friend can also provide valuable insight. Whether a peer or a mentor, confiding in and seeking advice from a close male friend can be a game-changer. Your friend may have dealt with the same problem you face and you can either learn from his mistake or success. Plus, a friend will understand the feelings you are having, because chances are he's had those same feelings.
Yes, men, we are talking about the "f-word," feelings. You have them, so live with them.
4 - Look Around You. Enjoy.
It's hard to see all the good, when you feel like the bad is dealing you repeated blows to the head like Ali and Tyson in their prime. Be assured, the good is always there; from the clothes you're wearing, to the children who are continually saying "Daddy, watch this!" I get a quick return to center when I look around and realize the good things for what they are.
5 - Remember, You're Good!
I'm running the risk of sounding like Al Franken playing Stuart Smalley on SNL, but you're good. Not in the sense of "Doggonit, people like me!," but rather the notion that you're a good man. If you're facing a time that has drained your spirit and you're trying muster the strength to find the right way through, you're a good man.
The key word there is "trying."
If you're seeking the right counsel, keeping "...your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you..." (Rudyard Kipling, If), finding the joy in your life, all in pursuit of a good life for yourself and your family, you're a good man. And, that's about the best any man can hope for.
These are all things that have worked for me. They won't stop the blows from coming, but they're the best things I've found to bring me back to feeling like a successful man, husband, and father.
I know some of you have your own methods and we all want, no, NEED to hear new ideas about dealing with life's storms. Let us know in the comments.
Image courtesy paddynapper.