Real Men Feel: Episode 58, Men and Fear

Real Men Fear

Men and Fear Episode 58, May 2, 2017

This week on Real Men Feel; Men having fear is very common. Men talking about their fear is not. In this episode Andy Grant and Appio Hunter dig into their own fears.

Andy shares his recent fearful state as well as many common fears for men; fear of being unlovable, fear of being a failure, fear of being inadequate, fear of being a bad man… All of which are based on distorted beliefs and imagining future scenarios that we do not want.

“Fear of feeling is at the root of so many of the fears men deny” ~Andy Grant

Andy, Appio and guests discuss a variety of fears including; financial Loss, excessive emotionality, commitment, absence of commitment, being a slave to an undesirable job, midlife crisis, raising children, visiting a doctor, and fear of death.

“Real men fear.”

Andy’s article that lead to this discussion.

#RealMenFeel

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Fear

It’s Okay to be Human

It’s okay to have everything, but still want more.

It’s okay to spend years learning how to walk a spiritual path, but still display non-spiritual emotions when something knocks you off your path.

It’s okay to be enlightened, but still express strong opinions.

It’s okay to be calm, but still show anger.

It’s okay to be happy, but still feel sorrow.

It’s okay show courage, but still admit to being afraid.

It’s okay to love, but still feel hate.

Why?

It’s part of being human.

It’s what we signed up for.

This experience is what we wanted.

So, embrace the totality of who you are, even if you think you don’t know who you are yet… or even if you’re redefining what it means to be you.

It’s okay… because you’re here. Completely, fully here. Right now.

All of you.

Embrace your experience and love it.

Because it’s okay to be human.


About the Author

Appio Hunter, a.k.a. The Emotion Emancipator, is a personal development coach, energy worker, author, and inspirational speaker. He holds certifications as a Happiness Champion and Infinite Possibilities Trainer.

Appio is a self-described crusader for joy. His work blends multiple disciplines to show everyone how they can embrace their personal power and experience clarity, emotional freedom, balance, inner peace, and joy every day. He is also co-host of the weekly podcast Real Men Feel along with his good friend and fellow coach Andy Grant. You can learn more about Appio at AppioHunter.com.

Perfection in Imperfection

I used to be a perfectionist. I’m talking OCD-type perfectionist. I’ve heard people say that perfectionism is a guy thing, but I’m inclined to believe that it’s a human “thing.” I haven’t bothered to see if there are any studies that suggest which gender is more inclined toward perfectionism, but a very un-scientific, random sampling of people I know suggests that there may be some anecdotal truth to what I’ve heard.

Having said that, I’m happy to report I’ve mostly overcome my obsession with being perfect. I no longer throw myself into a manic frenzy or deep depression when something doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. That doesn’t mean I’ve gotten rid of all of my quirks or peculiar ways of doing things. If anything, I’ve probably gotten more eccentric as I’ve aged. The difference is that I just don’t worry about perfection anymore.

I’ve found great joy in being able to step back after completing a project and asking myself, “What did I enjoy most about this experience? The result, or the journey?” I can honestly say that my answer is almost always, “The journey.” Oh, sure, I still revel in giving something my best effort and getting the best result I can, but if it’s not perfect, then that’s okay too.

My shift came when I accepted a very simple principle: By allowing myself to be imperfect, I am perfectly aligned with my inner joy. I know this sounds strange, but I found perfection in my imperfections. By letting go of my need for “perfect” results, I removed the barrier that had kept me from enjoying myself and what I was doing. I realized that the need for perfection didn’t just affect the result I wanted, but everything I did to get the result. If the slightest thing went wrong… oh, boy. I’d be in a bad mood, or worse – depressed for days.

Of course, I did my best not to let my bad mood or depression show, but I nevertheless was unable to enjoy myself or my life. I was caught up in a cycle of blaming circumstances, people, or anything else outside of me for my misery. The only thing I didn’t do was look at myself and ask the hard question, “How am I contributing to this mess?” I spent most of my time finding excuses for why things didn’t turn out the way I wanted. My need for perfection was turning my life into a perfect nightmare.

So what changed? What caused me to embrace my human imperfections when those imperfections used to cause so much distress? As crazy as it may seem, I just started going with the flow. I know, I know, that sounds like new age bullshit, but what’s exactly what happened. I had heard the expression, “Just go with the flow” most of my life, and to be frank, most of the time I rolled my eyes and shook my head when I heard it. But when I reached the point where I was tired of getting nothing but upset and depressed, I thought, “Why not go with the flow? Trying to change things outside of my control is exhausting.”

So, I started accepting my mistakes and the unexpected disruptions to my plans. I literally started saying, “You know what, that’s okay,” even if I was really upset. By telling myself that everything was okay (including the upset I felt), I gave myself permission to feel AND move on. I stopped feeling stuck and weighed down by a perceived failure, and I started feeling better about myself and my attempts at doing something I wanted to do. In fact, the simple statement of, “that’s okay” helped me to start looking at imperfect results differently. I stopped seeing an imperfect result as failed final attempt, but rather as a starting point for a creative process that I could enjoy for a long time as I made changes and adjustments.

I also experienced another important shift. Distractions stopped being ways of procrastinating something I didn’t want to do and they instead became ways of centering me in my natural feelings of joy as I found more playful ways of creating what I wanted. Those who know me well (especially those who like to remind me of my nickname “Shiny Squirrel”) know that Shiny Squirrel Syndrome (or Attention Deficit Disorder in medical terms) is a very real part of my daily life. However, once I embraced the distractions and started treating them as willing, even enthusiastic, creative partners for getting me what I wanted, the burden of perfectionism fell away.

I started noticing that shiny objects and squirrels (the metaphorical type) were a natural part of going with the flow. I may have a goal and I may even be able to see my destination, but I’ve learned to accept that every time I turn away from it, it’s not me being an aimless, visionless bum with no ambition. It’s me staying centered in what makes me happiest and following the course of least resistance. The path I take to my destination doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is getting there. And once I make it to where I want to go, I’ll choose the next thing I want to do and start another adventure.

Oh, I’ll admit that I still experience times of harsh self-criticism and judgment, but overall I’ve come to accept that I am perfectly imperfect. The expression of my joy is centered not only in what I create, but also in the creative process, the adjustments, and the changes that come when I accept the imperfect results and I have fun turning something that isn’t quite right into something that is just right.

In conclusion, I’d just like to say that my thoughts are dedicated to every man who finds perfection in his imperfections and to those who continue to struggle with perfectionism. Whether you find hope in my words or you completely disagree doesn’t matter. I simply know what has worked for me and what has worked for countless others who have found themselves in similar positions.

Embrace your imperfections, and when you do, you will find perfect alignment with your inner joy.


About the Author

Appio Hunter, a.k.a. The Emotion Emancipator, is a personal development coach, energy worker, author, and inspirational speaker. He holds certifications as a Happiness Champion and Infinite Possibilities Trainer.

Appio is a self-described crusader for joy. His work blends multiple disciplines to show everyone how they can embrace their personal power and experience clarity, emotional freedom, balance, inner peace, and joy every day. He is also co-host of the weekly podcast Real Men Feel along with his good friend and fellow coach Andy Grant. You can learn more about Appio at AppioHunter.com.

Am I Worthy?

In last week’s episode of Real Men Feel, one of the subjects that came up was that of worthiness. Do men question their worthiness as much as women do? Andy and I both admitted that yes, we do.

This question of “Am I Worthy?” has been a favorite in Western societies for over two thousand years, however variations of it have been asked throughout the world and throughout the ages, depending on the prevailing beliefs of the time. The answer to that question is as direct as it is simple:

Yes.

Of course, you’ve heard that answer many, many times. You’ve heard it so often in fact, that you have a hard time believing it. One thing humans love to do is to add complication where none is required. This is especially true of one-word answers. The irony is that when you look for a complicated answer to the question of worthiness (especially an answer that involves conditions), you’re feeding into the very stories that keep you from believing the simple yes that has been, and always will be your answer.

It doesn’t matter what part of your life you doubt, the “yes” of worthiness applies to everything. You’re worthy of love. You’re worthy of wealth. You’re worthy of joy. You’re worthy of whatever you question. There are no conditions to meet, there is no penance you must pay. By adding conditions or stipulations to the question of worthiness, you blind yourself to the truth of what is.

It isn’t necessary to elaborate further or to try to convince you that you’re worthy to receive whatever you want. You will believe what you want to believe. If you choose to believe that you must check off a list of conditions before you can be worthy of something, then you are free to check off that list. Know however, that if you believe that you must meet a set of conditions to be worthy of something, you’ll never meet those conditions. Conditions are not the product of Source, but rather an expression of the whims of humanity. They are as shifting and volatile as the wind.

Remember the First Principle of Joy: You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness but your own.

When you understand that Principle, you will understand that conditions placed on you or that you place on others serve no purpose. They merely confuse you and keep you from seeing the truth of your personal power and joy.

And if you need evidence of your worthiness, then look in the mirror. The fact that you are here, you are alive, and that you’re even asking that question is all the evidence you need.

Be well, and know the answer will always be yes.


About the Author

Appio Hunter, a.k.a. The Emotion Emancipator, is a personal development coach, energy worker, author, and inspirational speaker. He holds certifications as a Happiness Champion and Infinite Possibilities Trainer.

Appio is a self-described crusader for joy. His work blends multiple disciplines to show everyone how they can embrace their personal power and experience clarity, emotional freedom, balance, inner peace, and joy every day. He is also co-host of the weekly podcast Real Men Feel along with his good friend and fellow coach Andy Grant. You can learn more about Appio at AppioHunter.com.

I Love When People Swear At Me

Really! I love it when people get so upset with me that they let the swears rip. Well, not in all cases. I’m not talking about road rage or bar brawls, but rather when I’m intentionally triggering people to take a look at themselves or challenging some limiting belief they might have.

I first discovered I enjoyed this with one of the earliest videos I posted around suicide six years ago. I share this story in my book, Still Here: How To Succeed In Life After Failing At Suicide, and when I speak about suicide prevention, but I’ve got a short video called The Best Way To Die and while some people comment thanking me for the video, the vast majority of comments are furious, swear-filled rants. At first, this really bothered me, but as I’ve gotten more comfortable with myself I’ve come to take a certain satisfaction in such comments. I know for at least a couple of minutes that the person writing has stopped beating themselves up, has stopped searching for a way to die and is directing their anger at my instead at only at themselves.
This morning I received an email titled, Fuck You. Needless to say it got my attention and I was thrilled to see that it was in response to the Real Men Feel podcast. I love that I have multiple platforms and messages triggering people into “hating” me for a moment as they are willing to open up to allowing more for them.
Please note: I’m still a fan of receiving pleasant emails too, so you don’t have to only swear at me.
The sort of emails I get
Thank you, Sean, and thanks to all the Real Men Feel listeners, readers, viewers, contributors and fans for being the men (and women) you are!

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About The Author
Andy GrantAndy Grant is a best-selling author, award-winning speaker, Transformational Energy Coach, Akashic Records Reader and suicide prevention activist. He holds certificates in Positive Psychology, the Enwaken Coaching System, Akashic Records, Infinite Possibilities and Reiki, as well as other leadership programs and energy work modalities.

Andy teaches workshops ranging from energy tools to ebook publishing, and is the founder of Real Men Feel, a movement encouraging men to come out of the emotional closet. He also facilitates monthly men’s groups. As a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, Andy knows how low we as human beings can feel, and he is committed to helping people realize how magnificent life is meant to be. Learn more about Andy at NavitasCoach.com

New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) with The ManKind Project

This past weekend I took part in the signature program of the ManKind Project, the New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) weekend. I learned of it thanks to Real Men Feel when we spoke with Boysen Hodgson in episode #26.

I’ve been to dozens of multi-day personal growth events, but never one exclusively with men. I hoped I would gain some clarity around my working with men, and I was also looking forward to learning more about the ManKind Project and how they run an event as I do see live events for Real Men Feel some day soon.

I gained all of that and more… a LOT more. All my expectations were insanely exceeded.

As I like to do when I’m venturing off into the unknown, I made a “before” and “after” video. So here they are.

 Before NWTA – October 21, 2016

After NWTA – October 24, 2016

Check out NWTA, they are held all over the world, and sign up! I cannot recommend this enough!

I’ll share more in the October 25 episode of Real Men Feel which is being recorded live Tuesday at 8pm Eastern. If you join us live you’ll be able to share comments, ask questions and even be fully seen and heard as part of the show if you choose. We use a platform called Zoom and you’ll need to download some software the first time you use it. RealMenFeel.org/show

UPDATE: The show is live and you can check it out here.

The journey continues.

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About The Author
Andy GrantAndy Grant is a best-selling author, award-winning speaker, Transformational Energy Coach, Akashic Records Reader and suicide prevention activist. He holds certificates in Positive Psychology, the Enwaken Coaching System, Akashic Records, Infinite Possibilities and Reiki, as well as other leadership programs and energy work modalities.

Andy teaches workshops ranging from energy tools to ebook publishing, and is the founder of Real Men Feel, a movement encouraging men to come out of the emotional closet. He also facilitates monthly men’s groups. As a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, Andy knows how low we as human beings can feel, and he is committed to helping people realize how magnificent life is meant to be. Learn more about Andy at NavitasCoach.com

What Does “Real Men Feel” Mean?

People often tell me the like the sound of “Real Men Feel” but then ask, what does it mean? Well, to me, it means a world where men and women see that being real, being authentic, being tough also means being emotional – as in being aware of your own emotions, being willing to feel them and express them too. It doesn’t always mean expressing them on video, but that is often how I choose to go so that others can see I’m still a man, even when I’m feeling.


This video was originally posted on my blog a couple of days ago. I showed it do my dad yesterday and he really liked it.

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About The Author
Andy GrantAndy Grant is a best-selling author, award-winning speaker, Transformational Energy Coach, Akashic Records Reader and suicide prevention activist. He holds certificates in Positive Psychology, the Enwaken Coaching System, Akashic Records, Infinite Possibilities and Reiki, as well as other leadership programs and energy work modalities.

Andy teaches workshops ranging from energy tools to ebook publishing, and is the founder of Real Men Feel, a movement encouraging men to come out of the emotional closet. He also facilitates monthly men’s groups. As a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, Andy knows how low we as human beings can feel, and he is committed to helping people realize how magnificent life is meant to be. Learn more about Andy at NavitasCoach.com

Feeling Inadequate? Suck It Up! (or, Three Steps to Avoid Inferiority)

I saw an advertisement for a product called LifeStraw®, and it made me feel worthless.

The product is a “personal water filter,” and all you have to do (according to the Internet) is “place one end…into unfiltered water (a water bottle, river, or even a puddle) and suck clean water through the top of the straw.”

For a few minutes, I felt pretty sorry for myself. The people who invented this thing are incredible, I thought. Compared to what they’ve accomplished, what have I done for the human race?

Yes, a high-tech straw made me question my contribution to the world. Have I done anything to make the world a better place that’s as inventive and useful as the LifeStraw®? I mean, that product could be the difference between life and death for someone living in a place where uncontaminated water is scarce.

Have I or will I do anything as important?

We all have bouts of self-doubt, and it’s alright to want to give back to the world. The problem here is one of comparison. Do you regularly find yourself questioning your own worth compared to what others are doing? Here’s a three-step process you can use to rewire that inferiority complex.

First, remember that you’re not being fair to you when you compare yourself to others. Sure, there’s value in getting motivated by seeing what others have accomplished, but not to the point that it makes you depressed. At that point, you’re paralyzed. You won’t be able to grow, change, and achieve new things.

Second, think about the things you’ve accomplished in life, and focus on your unique set of skills and talents. Don’t get bogged down in how “big” or “small” you think your achievements may be, because that’s just more comparison. Concentrate on what you do well, and use that confidence to break free of self-doubt.

Third, don’t try to avoid feeling inadequate. Just work on changing your reaction to that feeling. Instead of getting down on yourself, replace self-critical thoughts with a new routine of solution-centered thinking. Consider what actions you can take to improve your skills to achieve the abilities of the person to whom you were comparing yourself. Set an achievable series of smaller goals that could lead to your desired result, and get moving!

Many of us get into the bad habit of self-criticism, but it’s never too late to turn your thinking into something more productive. 

And yes, I eventually remembered to stop letting that straw feel like I sucked.

Do you spend too much time obsessing about the skills you think you don’t possess or worrying about your legacy? If you can relate to this post, please leave a comment and share how you overcome feelings of inadequacy.

Featured image via eartheasy.com

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anthony simeoneAbout the Author
Anthony Simeone is a writer, speaker, personal development activist, and social change warrior with over two decades of experience studying the practical application of literature, philosophy, psychology, and other disciplines. The culmination of his work is the Live the Hero concept, which he offers as a “life path” for use in overcoming daily obstacles. Live the Hero combines the wisdom found in the arts and humanities with the latest discoveries related to modern neuroscience. You can contact Anthony and learn more about his work at livethehero.com.

Strong Enough To Be Sad

A couple of weeks ago while I was on vacation visiting amusement parks on the US East Coast, which I dubbed the Great East Coast Coaster Tour of 2016, another roller coaster was happening at my employer. There was a sudden roller coaster of budget cuts, which cut me – while on vacation! My job officially ended the last day of my vacation, but fortunately some wise managers decided to find some funding to ensure two weeks notice for me. Also while away my stepmother went under hospice care and is pretty much waiting to die. My father, who suffers from dementia and multiple forms of cancer, is not taking this situation well to say the least. He’s stormed off furious a few times, and was even lost while only a few houses away. I don’t share this for pity or to present myself as some sort of victim of life, but merely to share what’s been going on.

While navigating these changes, my wife was told she wouldn’t be invited back to something she loves being a part of – via an email. Since there wasn’t much I could do about the prior situations I’ve mentioned, I sure wanted to go have an unpleasant conversation with the sender of that email. Anger was a welcome change, especially since I couldn’t yell at my stepmother, dad or anyone at work. Well, I guess I could, but I knew there was nothing to gain from doing so.

With my history of depression and suicidal thoughts, I was worried. I was worried when all these circumstances would gather their forces together to rise up and crush in a overwhelm tidal wave of emotion. Rather surprisingly, I rode out a couple of weeks quite normally. Last Monday, i woke up feeling down and sad. I wondered if this was the beginning of the overwhelming wave. No matter what I did that morning, the sadness sat upon me. I realized it was the first sadness I was aware of since January, which was rather amazing considering how miserable I had been feeling back then.

In the early afternoon, the lingering sadness had built up enough for the tears to start. I decided to dive in, and was completely willing to bawl all afternoon if that’s what was needed. Instead, I cried for less than two minutes. Then I felt fine. Two minutes. That was all it took to release that sadness, that energy. If I had resisted it, decided I wasn’t going to cry about any of this, the sadness would have lingered and grown.

Because I was willing to feel, I’ve felt great ever since. Felt great even while consoling my dad who is very upset that his wife is dying before he does. Today, we are headed to his doctor where he’ll be told that his cancer has returned (The doctor gave us a heads-up already). I don’t know how he’ll take it, but I know I can handle whatever comes next. Not because I’m tough or strong, but because I’m willing to feel.
sad

 

 

 

 

 

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About The Author
Andy GrantAndy Grant is a best-selling author, award-winning speaker, Transformational Energy Coach, Akashic Records Reader and suicide prevention activist. He holds certificates in Positive Psychology, the Enwaken Coaching System, Akashic Records, Infinite Possibilities and Reiki, as well as other leadership programs and energy work modalities.

Andy teaches workshops ranging from energy tools to ebook publishing, and is the founder of Real Men Feel, a movement encouraging men to come out of the emotional closet. He also facilitates monthly men’s groups. As a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, Andy knows how low we as human beings can feel, and he is committed to helping people realize how magnificent life is meant to be. Learn more about Andy at NavitasCoach.com

Two Things My Dad Taught Me Without Telling Me

I posted this originally on my personal blog. I am grateful everytime I find a man who expresses emotions openly. And what better person to learn such a thing from than my dad?  Here are some other things he taught me without words.


My dad’s wisdom is 1950’s-meets-Emily-Post. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be proper. Do the right thing. Family first. He never said any of these words. He just showed me what he expected.

 Dad

“Be safe”

Since I was four (likely earlier but who remembers) my dad has been sternly cautioning me to “be safe” and “don’t do anything stupid”. These statements don’t have any qualifiers or explanations. When I was 10 “be safe” meant “don’t ride your bike in the middle of the street”. I assume now at 40 he means “don’t drive your car on the sidewalk” but who knows, he never actually defined safety.

When I was young he showed me how to be safe by:

  • Sitting in the car for extended periods of time until I figured out to buckle up
  • Standing on the side of the road for minutes until I figured out to look both ways
  • Lightly smacking my hand when I tried to touch anything hot or sharp

When I was a teenager his safety lessons were more of an interrogation:

  • Who are you going out with?
  • Will parents be there?
  • What will you do if someone you don’t know offers you a ride home?

Fun fact: when my first date picked me up to go out my dad snuck out of the house and wrote down the guy’s license plate number.

When I moved out of the house his safety lessons evolved into observational questions:

  • When I traveled, particularly to a city he had been to, “do you know which streets to avoid?”
  • When I moved into my own home, “do you check to see if everything looks ‘right’ before you go in?”

My dad’s prompts led me to seek out information on how to be safe in every situation. And insist my kids do the same. As my kids leave the house I call after them, “BE SAFE! I mean, look both ways before you cross the street…if you get lost, ask a mom for help…” My kids are long gone before I finish my list.

Perhaps my dad was on to something. “Be Safe” is vague but succinct.

 

It’s the little things we remember forever

When I was little I chanted, “It’s so nice to have a daddy around the house” (which I’m sure was a line fed to me by my dad but it was true so I happily sang it). And now? I still call on him to:

  • Remove dead birds from my door step
  • Find someone to snowplow my driveway
  • Remove hornets from my house
  • Take the kids to various inconvenient places at inconvenient times
  • Fix things around my house and/or supervise electricians and plumbers
  • Rescue me when I lock myself out of my house

(Important to note that my dad does these things when Josh is traveling. Maybe Josh is the one who should chant “it’s so nice to have a Daddy around the house” for my dad).

Whether I ask or not, my dad:

  • Checks the tires of all cars in my driveway. Even guests. If your car is parked in my driveways, he is making sure it’s safe
  • Monitors all doors to make sure they are locked (see “be safe” above)
  • Brings me half-moons from my favorite bakery
  • Opens every door for me (chivalrous, charming, and completely annoying but I love it)
  • Insists we drive as many places together as possible even when it completely inconveniences him
  • Reminds me about upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones

My dad never sat me down to say, “make sure you do a lot of little things for people you love. They might not thank you until they are 40. They might not notice in the moment. But over time all of these little things add up to a lot of love.”

 

A bonus lesson: gratitude

Brene Brown (must.watch.ted.talk.) recently said the emotion people have the most difficulty feeling is joy. And people who are able to experience joy the most deeply — and without remorse — have one thing in common.

Gratitude.

The most important lesson my dad showed me was that:

gratitude

I am grateful for the countless things my dad is teaching me. And even more grateful that he is still teaching me.