Honor is the gift we get the least and may need the most.
As I felt accepted, released, and then healed from my anger, fear, and sadness, I was often left with shame. I can feel and admit how I was traumatized and was unable to feel or express it at the time. It’s harder for me to accept that I didn’t do what I “should have done” in those moments.
Sure, I understand that we are expected to perform as men; when we don’t, we feel less than. Yet still, I judge myself as not being a man because I froze.
I learned that much of the shame we pick up starts from when as a child, our parents were not accepting their emotions or knew how to connect – so we filled in the gaps of what was missing with our shame. We felt responsible. We took responsibility rather than see our parents’ inability to provide what was needed as the problem. It was easier to blame ourselves than risk losing the love we needed from our parents.
As a kid, I had no sense of all this. I felt frustrated (angry), longing for a real connection, and afraid that I may not do the right thing. All this was encased in a shell of shame.
As my body, PTSD, and emotions released, I began to feel free… and lingering in the background was my judgments of myself whispering in my ear that I wasn’t good enough. The first one that hit me over my head was when I started this work in the mid-1990s. I struggled, saying I was a man.
Realizing I was not alone in this dilemma helped. Being honored by other men had me turn the corner.
We will tease, cut, and make fun of other men. We aren’t trained to honor another man. It’s hard to offer something when you feel you don’t have it yourself.
When honored, we begin to believe that we are worthy. If another man sees me as a man, maybe I am a man. Research tells us we learn how to be emotional from our parents. With deficiencies of honor from adults, we enter adulthood deprived.
As we say at EVRYMAN, follow the energy. When you feel the resistance – allow it to be there. Follow the thread down to its origin – what is the vulnerable feeling under the shame? Can you feel it? Can you express it? As you share – feel the full extent of the shame in your body and emotionally. Feel your freeze (wanting to checkout), flight, and fight response – AS you share.
Here is the hard part; receive.
After you speak your shame, take a moment and breathe.
If you want to increase the healing and learning – start honoring other men. Feel what comes up for you when you speak.
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