As boys it was often a game to see how much we could get away with and how little responsibility we could take on. As men the visages of childhood linger, one can be our relationship to responsibility. Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan recently spoke at the 15th anniversary of the Million Man March.
“Ain’t nobody going to do something for us, we’re going to have to do it for ourselves,” Farrakhan said to the more than 8,000 faithful who attended the group’s convention at the Tampa Convention Center. “I’m asking you to accept responsibility for your own life.”
Responsibility for us men can be a hard deal. We often hear it as what we should do and with that we want to tell the person to ‘f’ off. So what do you do – avoid it or go around doing what others want you to do?
A new option
The secret to being responsible is to first be responsible to yourself. That doesn’t mean being narcissistic. It means knowing what you want and feel. When I slow down to check in with what I feel and really want there are times when what is being required of me is in alignment with my feelings and wants. My resistance was just that. I was being my juvenile self, resisting for the hell of it—not wanting to grow up.
Some men may need to go through the resistance stage. We see it in our group. When a man who was a ‘nice guy’ starts to give us push back it is a step forward for him. I might not like someone arguing with me over what feels to me a silly point. Yet I will see for that man it is a breakthrough to stand up for himself. What better place than his men’s group?
For other men their whole life is one big experience of resistance. They don’t need to learn to stand up. They need to learn to sit down and shut up. In the groups, these men will eventually experience the group pushing back against their control. Either the man gets to what was behind his resistance and lets go of it, or he leaves the group.
Being authentically responsible is much easier when you have a vision or a purpose you are committed to. Your ‘sacrifice’ are not things taken from you; they are your surrenders to your vision of what you are creating. You are letting go of resistance and attachment to doing it your way and holding on to your commitment to the bigger prize.
You want to be responsible? Let go of needing to get your way, focus on your bigger outcome… as you allow yourself to feel and express.
Can you do this? Are you willing to step up to something bigger as you become even more responsible?