Bettina Goodwin debunks common misconceptions about men who live mindful, authentic, heart-centered lives.
When someone puts the words “heart-centered” and “men” in the same sentence, there may be a little bit (or a lot) of fear that comes up for men. After all, that heart, mushy, lovey stuff is a “woman’s territory” and any man who enters may be looked upon as a sissy.
I’m here to tell you that isn’t the case. That it’s possible to live from your heart and still be a sports-loving, beer drinking, weight-lifting man’s-man. Who knew?
Here are a few myths about men living a heart-centered life that I’d like to dispel:
1. “I have to give up my successful career and go teach yoga or something”.
A common misconception about letting go of driving ambition and stress is that you must give up a successful career and settle for something a little more meditative. Not so. You can still have a high-powered job and actually approach it from a much more meaningful, purposeful place.
Let go of the feeling of being driven and embrace the passion of what you’re doing, accept what is in front of you and allow yourself to feel empowered from within. Let it be less about the paycheck and more about the passion for what you do. Letting go of the need to succeed and just enjoying the ride can help you to let go of stress and enjoy your work.
If you don’t feel inspired or you don’t feel appreciated, then maybe it’s time to reassess—not the job that you have, but how you show up for it every day.
2. “People will see me as a sissy or more like a woman”.
Living from the heart does not make you more feminine, soft or a wuss. In fact, there are some very strong, masculine men who live in a state of loving presence and are admired and revered as great men because of their ability to connect with their heart. They inspire many men while not being afraid to express their vulnerability or to be completely honest and open about how they feel.
Make no mistake, you will still be a strong and powerful man; but what you do give up is the force, control and push behind your words and actions. Characteristics that build resentment and disempowerment in others. Your power comes from within accompanied by a knowing that inspires and motivates other to feel empowered and that makes you a real man who is looked to for guidance and with respect.
3. “I have to give up everything I have and live with very little.”
It’s not about what you have but more about your attachment to what you have to give you a feeling of fulfillment, power, success or peace. You can feel all those things whether you have nothing or have it all.
Heart-centered living means you put it all into perspective and don’t put too much weight on what you have; instead, you put more weight into how you feel. And that makes life a whole lot easier. Using people, places or things to fill a void in your life causes neediness and desperation—neither of these traits are particularly attractive or manly, nor do they evoke strength of character or respect for yourself or from others. Keep the stuff and let go of the idea that it’s making you happy.
4. “I have to give up all the manly things I do like sports, nights out with the guys, drinking and smoking.”
Okay, so smoking isn’t good for you so you may consider giving that one up, but there is no reason why you can’t live from your heart and still enjoy the more masculine experiences that life has to offer. Have fun, enjoy yourself, lift that heavy object for your mate, play a little football whether on the field or from your couch. Get together with your buddies and enjoy life.
The key is to do these activities with respect, compassion and a healthy portion of moderation. It’s when these activities are taken to extremes and hurt you or someone you love that you may need to take a good hard look and question what you may be running from or avoiding. What lack are you trying to fill? Pay attention to the payoff you are seeking in these extremes. Are you avoiding looking at uncomfortable feelings that scare you? Check in with yourself honestly and shift from self-destruction to self-realization. Bring yourself to the present moment, be responsible and have a good time.
5. “I have to give up my masculinity.”
Real men live from the heart, practice compassion, tolerance, acceptance, kindness, tap into their inner wise man, their ability to inspire, motivate, empower and their self-respect. And that is more masculine than anything else.
Go ahead. Tap into your heart. Make the connection between head and heart and really see and feel your full potential. There’s nothing more masculine than standing in your power.
Read more Good for the Soul. Redefining the discussion about men & spirituality.
This article first appeared at The Wise Man’s Way.
[photo: via hardtopeel on flickr]