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Men today lack positive models of masculinity. We have cut-off and repressed archetypes on one side, and overly sensitive and ineffective ones on the other. The cost of this is taking its toll on men’s health, longevity, and overall happiness.
Most men are closed off to their deeper care of themselves and the world. They are often afraid of their anger, or don’t understand it. They’ve never experienced the clarity of anger, and how the two — clarity and anger — are powerfully different. Problems with wives and partners and work and kids all seem intractable. They self-soothe by tuning out with alcohol, TV, excessive exercise, social media, or video games. And their lives pass them by.
Most men don’t know how to communicate in a way that gets them more of what they want. They posture to cover up their vulnerability (which exists in all humans but is often unconscious for them) — or they collapse into it and wallow in being a victim. One kind of man suffers silently, cut off, and never feels much except anger and disappointment. The other one whines about how nothing is his fault, and never accomplishes much of anything.
There is a way out.
In this insightful discussion, Keith Martin-Smith addresses the misconceptions around male vulnerability, emphasizing its role as a source of strength and authenticity. He explores the transformative impact of embracing vulnerability on men’s emotional health, relationships, and societal perceptions of masculinity. This episode offers a roadmap for redefining masculinity, guiding men towards a more fulfilling and authentic expression of themselves, breaking free from the constraints of traditional stereotypes.
Text by Keith Martin-Smith
Images and maps by Corey deVos
Here are some questions you can contemplate while listening to this discussion. We suggest you take some time to use these as journaling prompts.
- Understanding Personal Vulnerability: How do you personally relate to the concept of vulnerability? In what ways does acknowledging your vulnerability impact your relationships and self-perception?
- Redefining Masculinity: How does your understanding of masculinity align or conflict with the idea of embracing vulnerability as a strength? What changes could you make to align more closely with a more authentic and holistic view of masculinity?
- Emotional Expression and Awareness: How do you typically express emotions like anger or sadness? What deeper feelings might be underlying these expressions, and how can you become more aware of them?
- Role Models and Societal Influences: Who are your role models for masculinity, and how do they embody or challenge the traditional notions of masculinity? How have societal expectations shaped your view and expression of masculinity?
- Communication in Relationships: Reflect on your communication style in relationships. How might being more open about your vulnerabilities improve your communication and relationships?
- Coping Mechanisms and Self-Soothing: What are your common methods of coping with stress or emotional discomfort? Are these methods healthy, or do they prevent you from addressing deeper issues?
- Achieving Personal Growth: In what ways can embracing vulnerability lead to personal growth and improved emotional health? How can you start incorporating this understanding into your daily life?
Keith Martin-Smith’s When The Buddha Needs Therapy is now shipping!
It is possible to be liberated from the suffering of this world, but the path is a paradoxical one of embracing your ego even as you let it go. If you seek true liberation and freedom from the seemingly endless strife of life, you’re in the right place.
Previous Episodes of Buddha In Therapy
How to Awaken and Empower the Integral Man
Sex, Identity, Gender: Beyond Wokism and Trumpism
What Is a Man (And Why Does It Matter?)
Shadow, Trauma, and Attachment: Why Do Spiritual Teachers Keep Messing Up?
Shadows of Development
The Highest Stages of Conscious Development
Perspectives on Development: Introducing the STAGES Model
How to Build a Conscious Community
Therapy & Awakening: A New Integration
Who Awakens? How to Be Free From Your Freedom
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About Keith Martin-Smith
Keith Martin-Smith is an award-winning author, writing coach, and Zen priest. He is passionate about human connection, creativity, and evolution. His books include "The Mysterious Divination of Tea Leaves", "A Heart Blown Open", and "The Heart of Zen". His most recent book is his first novel, "Only Everything", a novel that explores the promise and the pain of following an artist's path.