As a man, I feel we as the male species have moved well away from our primal instinctual behaviours and moved into reactionary fearful behaviours. We are generally hard-wired to be hunters and protectors, not dominators and controllers.
In my last 30 years as an adult male, I have been through the spectrum of fears and anxieties – and often I would suppress these issues and feelings by just going to the gym and feeling more self-protective. This had no real benefit to those around me – I certainly didn’t turn into Batman. While my gym work had use for my surfboat rowing and rugby league, it served no purpose for my ability to communicate with others on a higher level. On the contrary, I feel that gym work and the mentality associated with it reduced my capacity for thoughtful communication.
I am certainly not suggesting the gym work caused this one-dimensional behaviour, merely that it was an outlet for me to ignore the concept of listening and communicating in such a way that was conducive to the spirit of community. I realise now that I always had a choice. I could use the gym to enhance my brawn and feel a sense of domination and control (even though I had very little of that anyway), or to enhance my skills as a chivalrous protector and communicator.
So where are we at this point? I see men who are unable to even see how they feel, let alone talk about it. I go to the gym and see a very common theme – one I know pretty well – constant work on the outer structure and a distinct lack of work on the inner system, leading to more work on the outside to hide the void within. Perhaps it’s just that a bunch of alpha males are in a confined space and secretly keeping an eye on each other, feeling a need to covertly dominate. Or maybe we as a species are reaching a true crisis point in our collective perception of our value and our role on this planet.
Through our fears derived from our lack of self-love, we burden our families and partners and co-workers with our fears, and use our physicality to police that system. We turn into a police state, rather than being protectors of the people we swear to love. If we look at the incredible levels of domestic violence and child abuse, we can admit there is a systemic issue rampant within our societies, generally perpetrated by the men.
We can however decide to look after our loved ones rather than fear they will leave us if we don’t batten down the hatches. This systemic issue arises from not feeling good enough – which is the same as a lack of self-love. In a previous article I discussed the idea of loving ourselves as a reason for training rather than punishing ourselves because we don’t like what we see. Similarly, we can train ourselves for the greater good, or for very fearful and harmful purposes. It’s always our choice.
In the meantime it feels like women in general need to get bigger and stronger to cope with this overbearing male fear. We seem to be out of balance. No matter what the situation, aggression and dominance do not take care of anything. As a male, I am not proud of the direction we have been heading for many years. As a counsellor, I often see the women bearing the brunt of the fearful male psyche. Women by design are highly nurturing creatures, and that has had to be put to the side in many cases to cope with the imbalances. We now see women beating each other senseless in UFC fights. While this maybe entertaining for some, it doesn’t strike me as something in alignment with that nurturing state.
What can the men do?
We need to step way outside our current comfort zones and learn 4 things, in my opinion.

  1. We need to learn and practice self-love. This is not flexing in the mirror at the gym, but looking ourselves in the eye and expressing love in a mirror at home. This is more challenging and rewarding than it sounds.
  2. We must learn how to express our feelings as they are rather than pushing the panic button and getting angry or dishing out the silent treatment.
  3. We must take responsibility for our actions and words. The blame game is not helpful – pointing the finger may appear to work in the short-term, however the long-term effects are disastrous.
  4. We need to use the gym as a tool of enhancement to practice chivalry and protectiveness for our partners and families. This can easily expand to our surrounding community and the broader community.

Tough warriors of the distant past were fiercely protective of their communities, and also deeply honourable in their words and deeds as human beings. I would like to see the men rise to this occasion and be strong and fit and healthy in order to tackle whatever is in front of them, and also adopt the concept of protecting their loved ones above all else. We are pretty listless when alone or wading through a dysfunctional relationship because we refuse to express ourselves properly. I can promise you the gym is not a replacement for open expression. It is only a tool for us to use to enhance our skill base and alpha value.
Lets train ourselves to be wonderful human beings and fulfil our roles as alpha males rather than frightened bullies. We all have a purpose on earth and we all have something major to offer. The purposes and offerings are always positive, and that is when we will feel truly strong.
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Concepts fit male author
Peter McConnell
Vital Performance
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