Part 3 of 4….ultimately it’s not about blame or shame or right or wrong. It’s about blessing.
In her phenomenally popular TED Talk, sociologist Brene Brown says about shame:
‘Shame is the fear of disconnection. We are psychologically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually hardwired for connection, love, and belonging. Connection, along with love and belonging (two expressions of connection), is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Shame is the fear of disconnection —it’s the fear that something we’ve done or failed to do, an ideal that we’ve not lived up to, or a goal that we’ve not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection. I’m not worthy or good enough for love, belonging, or connection. I’m unlovable. I don’t belong. Here’s the definition of shame that emerged from my research:’
“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging”.
And in men (and I suspect women, too) it is an epidemic and drives most of their behaviour until they really grow up and move into a secure sense of themselves.
The un-integrated and often destructive masculine archetypal energies of the King (+tyrant / -weakling) Warrior (+sadist / -masochist) Magician (+detached manipulator / -denying innocent) and Lover (+addict / -impotent) aspects of the male soul are free roaming whilst the more mature forms are virtually non-existent in the culture. Blessing and generativity, commitment and determination, intuitive insight and complex reasoning, appreciation of beauty and relationality seem to be drowning under a tidal wave of violence or passivity.
If we look at any news report, popular video games, the media etc. we see one of two things: the tendency toward violence (externalised expressions of inappropriate aggression toward others) or a tendency toward passivity (internalisation of inappropriate aggression toward ourselves), described by John Lee as ‘the compulsion to perpetuate that which we say we do not want’.
These polarity forces need the proactive and fierce loving intervention of developed adult males. During adolescence boys are prone to being supercharged by flooding testosterone. It is not women’s work to address this…it’s nothing personal but woman simply cannot do it and if they make an attempt they will defer the move toward adulthood.
Presently young men are not in any way culturally blessed, that is to say, they are not aligned with or affirmed as being a valuable and a needed part of society beyond their ability to provide, for which they are groomed and recognised. Moreover they do not see adult men acting in healthy ways toward each other…the message, crudely put is ‘if your not in competition you’re no one’.
It may be a gross generalisation but these simple things are in essence the source of male suicide, imprisonment, violence and educational failure –young males have no societal place, no healthy models, vastly different needs from girls in regards education, nurturing and self-expression that are simply not met and in fact are crushed with hostility. We all know this.
Rather, we feed our boys and young men a toxic cocktail of media violence and shadow heroics. And before we assume that people are bad…that is rarely the case, more often these needs have not been met in them, they are simply following the crowd, ignorant of the unseen forces that run their lives.
Read part four of this article here: So how could it be different?
Paul Howell offers personal coaching and counselling, training and facilitation, and workshops for men at Clarity Coaching.