Men have relinquished their natural ability to fully connect and express this emotion we call “love.” But they can reclaim it.
“No homo bro.”
How many times have you heard that?
Men are so afraid of real, honest connection with other men that we need to make disclaimers about our feelings.
We use words like “bromance,” because we can’t just have love for a friend, brother or peer without it potentially meaning something more. And since we associate being gay with not being masculine, we are terrified that our feelings will be misconstrued as homosexuality.
So we keep our lips sealed, and our hearts closed.
Most of us don’t even notice it.
After all, pretending like we don’t have feelings is just “business as usual” for the modern man.
We’re not meant to show emotion. That’s a form of weakness, or so we’re programmed to think.
Think about it though, do you really believe that?
When you stop and actually question it, is emotion a weakness? Or is it more about the fear of your emotions crippling you or allowing them to consume you? As men we fear that the turbulence of feeling will somehow inhibit our ability to succeed, to perform, to fucking get it done.
We don’t have time for it. It’s an obstruction to our goal. It threatens the tough front we put on to the outside world.
We shut down in the name of “strength.” But the cost is massive.
We don’t fully connect with ourselves, with our partners, or with other men. We lose our ability to really be guided by our deeper feeling sense, our intuition, our heart.
Unguided by our hearts, we’re ruled by our minds. We’ve become walking heads on sticks—always strategizing, planning, plotting. Because the mind lives in the past and future, we’re always everywhere but where we are.
In this way, we relate to other men only from a place of insecurity and strategy.
Like a warlord we ask, “How can I get something from this person? How can I use their resources and this relationship to my benefit?”
There’s nothing wrong with forming strategic partnerships. It’s a natural part of being human. But when we only relate to other men this way, we’re missing out on the vast richness that brotherhood can bring.
So, let’s face the facts: Brotherhood has been tainted. It has a bad rap.
But now that we know that we have a choice. That if we can reclaim it and redefine what it means, we can begin to reap the benefits of it.
When we do that we can experience…
- The joy of just being in the company of other men. There’s an ease, a sense of relaxation we get around being with other men that we don’t get from being with women and children. A sense of just being able to “just be” is what I’ve felt.
- Relating to each other in a way we only can as men. Men generally think the same way as other men, and it’s refreshing to have a straightforward dialogue without having to figure out what a woman really means underneath the surface.
- Just doing guy stuff. Wrestling, climbing, hunting, and having pissing contests. Of course we can do this with women, but it’s not quite the same.
- Challenge and adventure. Again, we can do this with anyone, but there’s something special that we get from exploring and challenging each other as men.
- Strength and power. Knowing that other strong, capable men have your back feels like nothing else in the world. There’s a reason we have always had male-bonded tribes.
The first step is reclaiming the honor of brotherhood. If you’re still reading this now, I imagine you’re convinced of the value of brotherhood in your life.
Maybe a part of you has been hurting for it for a long time. So the next question is how? How do you do it?
The best way I’ve found to form brotherhood is through activity. Men bond through doing things together.
- What kind of men do I want in my tribe?
- What’s the main purpose of this group?
- What am I looking to gain out of this?
- What do I have to give to the group?
Once you get clear on the direction and intention for brotherhood in your life, you need to think about the structure.
What will you do together? How often and for how long will you meet?
A group can be as small as you and a friend that meet for a weekly primal workout, or a mastermind with other men where you only meet once a month.
Brotherhood, while often starting from a place of business and mutual benefit, should go beyond that. If you find yourself only talking about sports and work with your guy friends, you might be surprised at how open they are to talking about other things when someone else makes the first move.
The most important thing to remember is that building a brotherhood takes time. It takes a commitment to building a relationship, doing things together, going through shit together, and having each others backs through the months and years. If you want to belong to a tribe of other men, or just want more close male friendships, don’t expect it to happen overnight. You have to put in the work.
We need more real, authentic brotherhood in the world. If you’re tired of not having the relationships you want in your life, I encourage you to stop complaining about it, and take full responsibility.
Photo: Getty Images