why am i attracting invitations to join men's groups? considering how often i'm propositioned to join both online and offline groups i'm not sure if it's just me or if this is the current new thing.
not a gang of goons
on digging deeper, it appears there is a growing modern movement advocating for men's groups focused on mental health and overall well-being. aiming to provide men a supportive space to discuss their feelings, challenges, and personal growth, such groups address mental health concerns specific to men.
these include routine stressors of life like societal pressures and expectations that can impact their well-being. by finding access to open dialogue, empathy, and support, men can now better navigate their chosen life path.
sounds sweet but i'm not buying into this movement as it exists today. maybe i'm missing something or maybe i'm seeing the big picture and this isn't helping. in fact, it might even be harming what men need more than anything else.
enemies or friends
when it comes down to growing to your peak potential, who do you think propels you further and faster - naysayers or yaysayers?
the value of having an antagonist frenemy who challenges your every expression with aggression and verve is often overlooked in the journey of personal growth and success.
anyone who's spent enough time in the playground of life will know by now that there's more to players than the binary of friends and enemies. you will encounter people one might term as friendly enemies and then there are those who could be labeled hostile friends.
the playground bully can beat you into submission or inspire you to aggression. if you chose the latter path, could you consider the bully as a hostile friend whose challenge triggered a stronger version of yourself?
if you'd chosen to stay beaten, you'd spend every waking moment hating that individual. the inability to act upon that would only cause more frustration. so what now?
how do we find that mythical frenemy who loves us enough to challenge us towards growth, while not being so harsh as to completely break us beyond repair?
danger zones or safe spaces
the X-men built a danger room to simulate battle situations they'd eventually have to face in real life. our education system is not designed to test our abilities in crisis and if our playgrounds are also too safe, we're likely to crumble at first contact with reality.
it's not easy to build danger rooms at scale because the ratio of safety to danger is unique to each individual. we can offer such a service only to small groups where the intensity of aggression can be tempered or graded accordingly.
seems like we're huddling fearfully in groups to seek safe spaces to have difficult conversations in...
sure, safety is the foundation upon which we've built civilization. without it we'd be left to fend for ourselves in the wild with danger at every corner, with every moment dancing dancing between life and death.
there's value in creating safe playgrounds to explore one's abilities but there's also value in dangerous battlegrounds that challenge our potential without a safety net. what's the ideal ratio of safety to danger in your playground?
playgrounds are support groups
men are not strangers to sharing thoughts as feelings as most narratives seem to say. it's just that before we need to build trust before baring all. and how better to do so than engage in some good ol' fashioned rough and tumble play?
most kids in the playground will gravitate towards rough housing in the mud and chasing each other around while yelling and screaming. primal play is the base layer for men to connect and gravitate together. thru these robust interactions, the foundation of trust is solidified.
post vigorous play, softer expressions will surface and men will share what ails or hurts, their struggles, their fervent dreams, aspirations for the future, etc. sometimes words are not even needed. the quiet moments at the end of boisterous action in the proximity of trusted buddies are enough to exchange all that needs to be said.
maybe we're placing more importance on the spoken word than is warranted. that said, if silence is insufficient expression, violence will prevail. and the beauty of rough play allows for such outbursts before returning to the collective harmony of the group.
inner circle <> outer circle
i'm always down to play even in the larger playground of greater communities but small groups help those who don't yet want to play in the public playground and prefer the safety and nurture of intimate circles.
large communities offer safety at scale but it's only small teams that can really change your world. provided everyone in that circle can rally behind a united cause with everything they got ie blood, sweat, and tears... not just thoughts and feelings.
men discover the deepest bonds when fighting for their lives in mortal battle. when death is knocking and life is at stake, it's no longer just fidelity to the flag but to your buddy who's likewise got your back. fighting together for a common cause against a common enemy offers a mutual purpose. would we ever forge such unbreakable bonds without the primal purpose of survival at stake?
maybe the modern meaning crisis is a result of the paucity of playgrounds (opportunities) to engage in bloody battle. tribes engaging in regular skirmishes was not only a way of keeping the peace but also reinforcing unity and mutual purpose. if there is always going to be 'outsiders' why not use 'em to build bonds within the 'insiders'?
play is the way
between a group of buddies, what do y'all see as a mutually engaging activity to gather around? that's your game. use it to build trust and grow relationships around. keep it primal. keep it local. the benefits of sharing common spatial space, and physical contact far outweigh the benefits of just playing chess with each other over the internet.
- climb trees
- run up rocks
- ride motorcycles
- wrestle in the mud
- trek thru forests
these are just examples but if you're serious about joining or starting a men's circle, why not use physical activity as the foundational base to play together and build trust so eventually thoughts and feelings might be shared?
whatever play we engage in ought to spark some amount of fear else it's unlikely to bring players closer together
- what kind of men's circle/group are you a part of and why is it working for you?
- what's missing in your life that you think can be solved by such small groups?