It sounds oxymoronic, but not feeling numbness is the key to unlocking success in health, wealth, and relationships… so why is it so hard for all of us manly men to feel?
When I first started working with survivors of assault and abuse, I began looking for reasons why. Why do people do bad things to other people? It seems irrational. The more I searched for reasons, the more I realized that most people who hurt others are in an irrational state… a state that is generally defined by a lack of empathy (of course some people hurt others because of empathy, which I’ll admit is not my style of freaky).
What is empathy, really? Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. So really, at the bottom of most violence is the lack of ability to share feelings… whoa.
Drop everything, the key to happiness is learning how to feel. Don’t pick up anymore self-help books or buy anymore politicians’ promises… all we have to do is get un-numb and we’ll achieve societal nirvana.
Yet, in my 300 workshops and countless experiences coaching men, the hardest and most common barrier all men face is… numbness. We have a hard time dealing with numbness because we’re told it is uncool to have feelings. When really, every guy I’ve ever coached has had a heart as big as the one on the surface of Pluto, and often just as challenging to glimpse. Every guy, deep down, wants to feel and to understand his feelings at a level of mastery.
I’ve heard it so much I decided to talk about it on the TEDxSMU stage:
If numbness is your barrier, consider starting with the 7 little words from the end of my speech. After that, start in the morning with a short contemplation/meditation time (maybe in the shower or over coffee or on your commute) where you check in with yourself “How am I feeling?” and “What do I want to feel?” The more you do this, the easier it will be to discern your feelings and feel more of what you want. It’s not super hard, but it takes courage to get started.
If you get stuck, give me a shout, that’s what I help guys do… go from numb and isolated to purposeful and connected.
Also by Dale Thomas Vaughn
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