BLOG – The Point of No Return
At what point in men’s lives do they decide not to make any changes in the way they function?
A rather generalised question but one that I often contemplate, particularly when I meet and talk with a man who is obviously (obviously?) struggling with some important aspects of his life but makes an apparent choice not to do anything about altering his situation, apart from complaining. There are a number of ways this manifests itself and no two men do it the same, although what is readily apparent in most cases is the desire to stay with what is familiar and to discount the possibility that change could actually be beneficial.
Underlying the reluctance and the seeming capacity to cope with the situation, is also that unspoken fear of doing it differently. Men have that great capacity to remain steadfast in their entrenched standards, values and opinions on how they are leading their lives, when challenged, and again I’m generalising, they can justify their stance and self-righteousness without ever (ever?) seeing a need to take a closer look at how their functioning affects others in their lives.
The well-worn path of following the family script is probably the most important but seldom challenged influence in a man’s life, there is only one way of doing and being and that is following those early family messages. If entrenched attitudes, opinions and behaviour, that run somewhat counter to accepted standards, happen to take over and become a man’s functioning model, he is in for big trouble.
I look now at peoples reliance upon technology to dictate how to live their lives, we have created a dependency upon instant information being channelled through screens or earphones. I once asked a young man busily engaged in thumbing his phone whether he ever took the time to smell a rose? I know that is an old cliché but his response was ‘why?’ Watching an older man part his remaining hair, I asked if he had ever considered not doing that and actually changing his hair style? He too was horrified at such a silly question.
At what stage do men decide not to change? There is no actual time frame, young men are too busy extending their boundaries, rebelling against authority, risk taking, establishing who they are within their peer groups or becoming socially isolated without fitting in to the “Warriors Club”. Older men can usually survive by using their overworked coping skills (skills?) and get by, sometimes without the joy of being fully alive. I like Richard Rohr’s description of “the embittered journey” which welcomes many men unwilling to become interested in self-discovery.
Let’s all silently accept life’s lot as if this is the only way to be, why bother exploring the origin of our neuroses when we can continue responding to given situations in the manner that we have always done…………..yay!
Wes Carter – June 2017