Man to Men
You have worked diligently upon yourself to clear away the old culturally instilled belief systems, the programming, the mindsets of your upbringing, and the biases you once embraced. Racism, sexism, and hatreds are ugly shadows that are being identified and met whenever they rise into consciousness. You have done a lot of inner work. Bravo!
That is not enough for you, however. You have no intention of resting upon your laurels with a handy self-congratulatory pat upon the back for a job well done. You know it is just the start of a long journey into clarity of thought and actions aligned with your conscientious mindfulness.
As you look in the self-reflective mirror there are things of your past, behaviors of which you are not only not proud, but justifiably horrified! Perhaps you have recognized aggressive sexual behaviors towards women (or men). Objectification of women coupled with the expectations that come with a culturally supported elitist attitude towards women that provided cover and no demand of accountability for your dismissive or even abusive treatment of the women you encountered. Rightfully do you shudder in revulsion of these past deeds. You swear that you are a changed man, that you would never act in this manner now. Yeah, ok. So now what? Simply perceiving the difference that your personal journey of conscious awakening has brought upon you does not make you less culpable for those actions. Right? Right? Right!
As a Man speaking to Men, I am offering some guidelines for your consideration. I am not saying ‘this is what you must do and all will be set aright’. I am sharing a few things that I have learned from my own long hard road in life.
1) Honest Review
Begin with an honest (and oft-times painful) review of your past actions and behaviors in light of what you know now.
2) Ethical Standards
Set an ethical standard and compare your past behaviors rigorously to that standard. Perhaps include standards such as respectful vs. disrespectful treatment of women, sensitivity to a woman’s personal and cultural position of empowerment/disempowerment, listening to her and responding from having heard her statements of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as being sufficient without explanation, participating rather than dominating in interactions. And, of course… regard to sexual appropriateness, i.e., assertive vs. aggressive behaviors with women in a sexual context. Make a list if you have to.
Admit to yourself what you have done that crossed the lines of ethical standards. Again, make a list if you have to.
4) No Excuses
Make no excuses. Do not seek to justify or explain anything.
Avail yourself of the modalities available for rooting out, transforming, healing, and coming to terms with the source of your aberrant behavior, actions, and deeds.
Take charge of your life, thoughts, deeds, and behaviors by committing to a higher standard based on self-respect and the respect of others.
3) No Excuses
Again, give no allowance for wavering. Hold yourself accountable. If you backslide, repeat from the top.
Do not rush this journey into wholeness. It will take time. It will not be easy. It will require brutal honesty every step of the way. It took years, generations, to form the abusive behavior patterns from which you are seeking to free yourself. Earn patience with yourself.
There is no greater personal suffering than to sit naked in the truth of your own Soul. Be willing to suffer the truth of your patterns of behavior and destructive attitudes and what these have wrought in your relationships.
When you have come to the point where you are thoroughly shocked and disgusted by your past actions, when you are humiliated in the face of who you were, take heart. You are making progress. Humility is born of humiliation. Get it? In order to earn authentic humility we must have walked through the suffering of our own humiliation.
When our shame has brought us to our knees, and our commitment to a higher standard is still unwavering, then and only then might we engage in self-forgiveness. Forgiveness arises when our love of ourselves is more powerful than the shame we carry. Forgiveness is not something we carry as a banner into the world. It does not absolve us of culpability. Forgiveness does not expect, demand or assume that others will forgive us. Forgiveness is the means by which we heal the wounds we have created – through our acknowledged misdeeds and abusiveness – within our own Soul.
1) Admission of Culpability
Admit it: You have caused harm and suffering to women in your life. By this, you have desecrated the feminine, and by so doing, have wounded all women and all feminine attributes of safety, pleasure, vulnerability, nurturance, and caring within both women and men, including the feminine within your own self. Your actions have harmed the world.
Accept responsibility for the harm you have created. Now recognize that it is within your power to create an equal – and even greater – harmony, beauty, and empowerment in the world. This is not an option, it is your responsibility.
3) Ignite your Passion
Rage is passion denied. The violent rage that had so engulfed your Soul that drove you to actions of disrespect and aggression towards women has been transmuted by the sincere working of the above suggestions. Now give that primal force a new direction. Express that passion in creative ways of enabling and supporting the lives and efforts of the women in your relationships, family, community, and the world. Commit to being a force that engages injustice when you encounter it in other men and institutions. Speak powerfully to the abusers of power.
4) Humility… again!
Do great deeds without witnesses. Ask for no acknowledgment of how you have changed. Simply live the change. Apologize with sincerity while never asking for/expecting forgiveness.
Never make excuses for, nor explain away your past reprehensible deeds! If you find yourself doing that even once, go back to the top and do it all again, this time with earnest sincerity. Be patient with yourself. You probably won’t get it right the first couple of times. Be unwavering in your commitment to a higher ethical standard. Honor yourself for making this choice to be a better human being and Man!
Related Article: Men in Balance
Addendum: © Jade Wah’oo Grigori, November 15, 2017
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