Why Every Man Needs a Men’s Group

My life was in turmoil. My marriage was in trouble. My two kids were suffering. I was very successful at work, but the stress was killing me. When I saw the flyer in Mill Valley I almost screamed. “Men, come and share a day with other men and hear psychologist Herb Goldberg, author of The Hazards of Being Male.” The last thing I needed was to hang out with men. I’d much rather find a woman that was nicer to be with than my wife. But I had recently read Goldberg’s book and had to admit that he captured some of my deepest concerns:

“The male has paid a heavy price for his masculine ‘privilege’ and power. He is out of touch with his emotions and his body. He is playing by the rules of the male game plan and with lemming-like purpose, he is destroying himself—emotionally, psychologically, and physically.”

Something was clearly wrong with the way things were going in my life. I had grown up with a father who couldn’t make a living to support his family and I remember hearing my mother and her women friends talking about their men with such a pity, ridicule, and scorn, it chilled me to the bones. As a four-year-old listening in the corner, I made a vow that I would never let a woman talk about me like that. I would die first.

As I considered my present situation, Goldberg’s words about men rang true for me. “Men have lost touch with, or are running away from, their feelings and awareness of themselves as people. They have confused their social masks for their essence while fulfilling the traditional definitions of masculine-appropriate behavior. They are the heroes, the studs, the providers, the warriors, the empire builders, the fearless ones. And they are destroying themselves.”

I signed up for the day, figuring “what the hell do I have to lose?” What I learned, in fact, saved my life. The day wasn’t what I expected. We didn’t yell and scream. We talked about our lives, about our hopes, dreams, and what we really felt inside. The two guys who had organized the event said that those interested could meet the following Wednesday to discuss the possibility of continuing to meet as a group.

Our group is still together 40 years later. We still talk about our hopes, dreams, our needs, and our feelings. I’ve even written a book about what I’ve learned about men. It’s called 12 Rules for Good Men and it will be out next year. If you’d like to hear more, drop me a note to Jed@MenAlive.com and put “12 Rules” in the subject line.

I’d also like to introduce you to a new organization that is taking “men’s groups” to a whole new level. I met Dan Doty when he asked to interview me for a podcast he was doing. I shared my experiences with men and we talked about family, fathering, and our children. We hit it off and I learned about the larger vision he has to create and support men’s groups all over the world, through a new program, appropriately called Evryman (yes, this is the way they spell it and there’s an interesting story that goes with it).

I asked him, “Why Evryman?” and he told me, “It’s what makes more sense to me than anything else. I used these tools to address my own needs, and then realized the world needed them even more. Evryman is my opportunity to share with men and others all the amazing gifts I’ve received throughout my life.”

Dan has partnered with a group of guys who want to bring this work to the world. “Since early 2017, Evryman has grown rapidly across the globe, Dan says. “We’ve launched weekly Evryman groups, run retreats, expeditions, and launched our Veteran Integration Initiative (assimilating civilians and veterans). But we’re just getting started. We aspire to support one million men over the next five years through a community of men deeply committed to emotional wellness.”

One of the guys Dan connected with is Owen Marcus. Along with a number of others, he will be leading a men’s retreat in July, 2019, which I highly recommend. You can learn more here. Owen says, “My tenacity to champion a man’s greatness drives me to guide them through their pain, so they can step fully into their unique contribution to this planet. I’m proud that I turned being different (I was dyslexic) and very sensitive into an asset that I can use to help other men.”

In introducing the retreat they ask, “Ever feel like you have to be a different person at home, at work, and with your friends? It’s exhausting being what you think others want you to be. What if you could just be you… all of the time? Maximizing our emotional spectrum leads to greater connection, creativity, insights, and joy. Which leads to greater success. It’s the quickest way to discover and build the life YOU want.”

I do believe that every man can benefit from being part of a community of men. The poet, Robert Bly, reminds us that we all need to be in the company of men in order “to hear the sound that male cells sing.” Here’s your chance to be in the company of some high-quality men. Check them out here: https://evryman.com/evryman-event/open-source-norcal/.

Let me know what you think. Drop me a note at Jed@MenAlive.com and if you want to learn more about the new book, 12 Rules for Good Men, email me and put “12 Rules” in the subject line.

Soon, I’ll be offering a way to be more directly involved with me and to get your questions answered about specific ways to improve your love life including facing issues such as male anger.

It will be for men and women who want more, but can’t afford or don’t need weekly therapy sessions. To make it the best it can be and fit your specific needs, I’d like your feedback. I have a quick questionnaire I’d like you to take that lets me know what you might like from such a community. It won’t take you long to fill out. Please do so here.

This article first appeared on Jed’s blog.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

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