Brandon Jones shares how pain can become comfortable, and how it can be healed.
The transition from boyhood to manhood has been a cultural element of groups for centuries. For males born in the United States, like myself, there aren’t any official cultural practices to help one transition into being a man. Honestly, manhood is not well defined. Most of the men I know see being “a man” as a destination, and something that is achieved after a significant event has occurred. Often times, these events are traumatic. However, I would suggest being “a man” is more of a journey, than an accomplishment.
I see my current position in life as just the beginning of my journey in discovering who I am as a man. Most of my childhood consisted of trauma and drama. I was exposed to domestic violence for a majority of my childhood. It was painful, unpredictable, and often shocking. I am the oldest of three boys. My brothers played a significant role in my development as a man. Unbeknown to them, I made a lot of decisions in my life to provide a model for what I thought we lacked with the male figures in our lives. I always attempted to do things for them to have at least one male to look at say, “This is what a man is supposed to be.” Which is a lot of responsibility to place on oneself as a child. However, I felt chosen to be such a person.
Now, I am approaching 30 years old and do a lot of work on trauma, masculinity, personal development, and mental health. My peers often ask me, “How did you overcome” and “What help you to heal from your trauma?” This is not an easy answer to these questions. There were several factors from my perspective. I am confident that some of these factors I am unaware of. However, the following three (3) things have been significant in assisting me on my healing journey:
- Self-Awareness: This is the key element in my journey. I was able to be authentic with myself. I was able to understand the things that were constructive for me and that was destructive. Being honest with oneself takes the willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone and being bravery enough to take a risk.
- Models of Impact: I remember always coming in contact with men who inspired me directly or indirectly to be greater than I am. I can also say there were also a significant amount of women too. However, I can name at least one male at each stage of my development that expanded my vision of manhood and created a notion of something different and better out there for myself.
- Exposure: This is one of the most under appreciated elements to one’s development. I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to other environments and people. That has allowed me to gain a perspective on a purpose larger than my box I was cultivated to be in.
In essence, each of my 3 keys to my healing journey involves my self-awareness, social connect, and environment. One cannot heal without being able to find comfort in these three areas. Many men suffer in silence, because we struggle to identify that our comfort zone is an unhealthy place for us to be in. Sometimes our pain is the center cushion in the comfort zone. Our pain is familiar and predictable, which usually leads to limited action in treating it in a constructive matter.
I do not view healing as a destination. I find it dangerous when others do. I see healing as more of a journey. Sometimes we have experienced so much toxicity in our lives it does not go away. However, those adverse experiences do not have to impede our growth and our purpose as men. It is my hope that your journey will lead to abundance and success.
Photo by Jamelle Bouie