Is it Safe to Reveal Your True Self to Others?

I have been pondering this question ever since an old memory of a warning my father had given me long ago came up during my meditation time. His words of caution were thus;

“Never reveal who you are to others for they will use that information against you.”

From the paranoia my father fostered in me, I adhered to this advice for decades. It was important to keep hidden the things churning inside of me. This also meant never asking for help, for revealing problems and my inability to deal with them alone showed weakness. My father predicted others would use my weakness against me, so it was better to tough things out on my own.

Keeping yourself hidden from others leads to loneliness 

Fatigue and loneliness may have been the biggest factors in dismantling the wall I had built around my true self. As I reflect on my life, I see how I spent years projecting to others a false image of myself. Although I was not projecting a bad person, the truth was that no one around me, including my romantic partners, ever knew who I truly was. I want true and meaningful relationships in my life so I had to make changes. This had to start with me not being afraid to reveal my true self.

Thinking about my father’s words today makes me sad. Someone must have badly hurt him to cause him to take on such a self-defeating attitude. I saw some of this occurring between him and my mother. Their horrendous marriage lasted forty-seven years, but they had learned to hate each other’s guts long before that. They laced their daily interactions with colossal efforts to pry under each other’s skin. It was obviously dangerous for them to reveal their true selves to one another, for it was certain the other would use it to cause pain. Since I witnessed this so often, it added credibility to my father’s warning.

It all depends

Should you reveal your true self to others? Well, it all depends! With that answer, you probably think I am indecisive, but I am not so sure. It all does depend. A requirement before you open up to another must be that you feel safe and trust that person to have your back. You must ensure you are not putting yourself in danger or undermining your own interest. For example, you may not want to share with the boss who just promoted you the self-doubt you are experiencing about having the ability to do the job. Transitions cause self-doubt, and you don’t want to be in denial about that, but you want to share it with someone who helps you restore confidence.

Being careful about who you trust doesn’t mean you have to be an impenetrable shell to others. Follow your heart by being an example of kindness, generosity, courage, encouragement, and open-mindedness. This is a way to show a true part of yourself without revealing things at a deeper level. You may find showing these characteristics will encourage people to confide in you and ask for your help and support. That is not a bad thing.

Answering the call to become an example for other souls

Everything changes when your Higher Consciousness calls you to be an example to others. This can be difficult to do, for you may lose the admiration of people you care for. But when you are called to do this, you cannot hide from it.

I have often questioned if I should reveal myself as I do in my blogs, but I have learned that you cannot teach another unless you reveal how you came about learning the life lesson you want them to learn. Having lived presenting a caricature rather than the real me, this is difficult to do, for I get concerned that I will not seem recognizable to my family and friends because most of them have never seen the true me. I also worry that dad may be right, maybe some people may hurt me with what I reveal.

I am also tempted to succumb to my doubts about being a good enough writer or that I have anything of substance to teach anybody, but my Higher Self seems to be winning out so far.

Now, at my age, and with my formal career behind me, I have no other way to help create a greater good than by revealing myself so others can learn the lessons I learned. That is what my higher power is telling me, so I must follow his call.

The thing to remember when you have been given this call is to know there are those who will benefit from following your example, so it is important to show them who you are, blemishes and all. This gives hope that being human does not stop you from accomplishing significant things. You can show them that one can attain greatness without having to be perfect.

As always, wishing you a life filled with joy, love, and serenity.

Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Rise of the Uniballer Part II: Many Hands Make Light Work

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, a cause that is very close to my heart—or more accurately—my groin. In an effort to spread awareness, I’ll be sharing the story of my testicular cancer diagnosis in a four-part series here on my weekly column. It’s the saga you never knew you needed to hear. Last week, the journey began with Part I: Lefty’s Rebellion.

This week, we’ll explore how numerous medical professionals touched my nether regions.


The day after the doctor’s office managed to miraculously find an appointment to examine concerning lumps on Lefty, I rolled up to the unassuming brick building—when a new thought hit me.

It wasn’t like this was my doctor who I had been seeing for years and had a solid rapport established. This was a brand-new doctor that I had never met before. Not only was this going to be the first time that I was going to shake his hand, I was also about to ask him to take that same hand and grab my sack. I wasn’t sure how I felt about another man touching me in my private areas.

When I checked in, the receptionist told me that I was going to be seen by a female nurse practitioner, which brought a simultaneous wave of relief from not having to have a man’s hand on my “boys” and a new feeling of panic. What if I found the nurse attractive? Would it be rude if my anatomical reactions took over? Or perhaps it would be more rude if I didn’t … rise to the occasion.

Luckily, this wasn’t an issue. Turns out that having your testicles examined with a gloved hand is … less than arousing. The nurse confirmed that there was indeed a lump, and I needed to get an ultrasound immediately. I pressed her for more details.

“What could this be?”

“Well, it could be an infection, a cyst, or—possibly a tumor.”

“A tumor? Like cancer?”

“The ultrasound will tell us more. I’m also going to prescribe an antibiotic to treat a possible infection.”

Fast forward a few days, and now I was in another doctor’s office, but this time it was a medical imaging facility. I’m walked in to the exam room and the imaging technician tells me she will step out for me to take off my pants, and then she’ll be back in to perform the exam. I remember thinking that was strange. After all, she was going to see everything when she returned.

So I dropped trou, turned down the lights, and let my boy Barry White spin on the record player.

Back in reality, I carefully removed and folded my pants, laid on the exam table, and covered my business with a towel. Again, not sure why.

If I was worried about coming to full attention at the first doctor’s office, my fears spiked even more when the tech came back in. She pulled out a bottle of gel and squeezed it onto the ultrasound wand.

“This gel allows me to move the wand around easily. It’s a little warm, too.”

Great—warming jelly on my nuts. Just what I needed. It’s at this point I should mention I was getting this ultrasound done on my lunch break from work. Nothing like going back to teach with a sticky mess in your pants for the rest of the day,

She first applied the wand to Righty, who wasn’t causing me any problems. There’s apparently a microphone on the ultrasound wand, and we listened to the blood flow of my right testicle.

You know how they say you can hear the ocean in a seashell when you hold it up to your ear? That’s false. It’s actually the sound of regular blood flow in a healthy testicle. Next time you’re at the beach, you’ll thank me for that bit of knowledge.

Now Lefty, on the other hand (or more accurately the other side), was a different story. I had recently watched The Grey starring Liam Neeson and a pack of angry wolves. The noises emanating from my left testicle could only be described as a deleted scene in which the wolves massacre the entire cast, crew, and catering department.

When the exam was over, I was given a towel to wipe myself off and one final word of advice.

“You—um—might want to call your doctor soon.”

No shit, Sherlock.

I never got the opportunity to call the nurse because she beat me to the punch. She said that the ultrasound had shown a solid mass on my testicle, so I would need to be referred to a urologist. I asked if that meant cancer. She said it wasn’t definite yet and told me to continue taking the antibiotic.

By the time I walked into the urologist’s office, I was used to the procedure: sign in, give my insurance card, take off my pants, get a little fondle on my fellas, and listen to what the doctor said. The biggest difference here was that my urologist was a male. Oddly enough, my fears from the beginning of this endeavor no longer bothered me. Apparently, by this point, I was cool with anyone touching me down there.

After the doctor examined me, he looked me straight in the eye and said the words that would forever change my life:

“Look, I’m going to be straight with you. Based on the ultrasound and what I just felt, you have testicular cancer. We’re going to have to remove the left testicle as soon as possible.”

Wow, talk about a swift kick in the nuts.

Or, more literally—

Nut.

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What Fathers Need to Know About Their Child’s Knowledge of Drugs

Popular culture has a tendency to glamourize and romanticize a life riddled with drug use. But we know what pop culture displays isn’t always reality. Sometimes social media presents an illusionist view of the drug user as a nonconformist who is making a social statement. Other places (movies, stories, Facebook) depict drug-use as a harmless activity that is done casually at parties and makes you “cool.”

However it’s presented, the truth is that drug use — more often than not — has a tendency to take a turn for the worse at some point. It’s especially easy for young people to get caught up in the glamorous image drug use has assumed in popular culture, especially with how attached all of our children seem to be to their phones, tablets, and laptops.

Considering the nature of drug use and how often it can be a very secretive activity, it’s tough to understand exactly how drug use is trending in the United States. Our country has seen a steady increase in overdose death rates over the years and this alarming statistic begs the question: why are people not realizing the dangers associated with drug use? The answer can be traced back to how and what our children are learning about drugs when they are young.

So, what have our kids learned about drugs in school?

A recent survey asked 500 young adults (18-24) about their drug education and some of the results are cause for concern. Only 36% of respondents said that school was the most common source of their drug education and almost one in five respondents said they got most of their information from the internet. Alarmingly only 13% said that they received a majority of their drug education from their parents, pointing to the face that many parents find it difficult to have open conversations with their children about drug use.

Notably, 55% of students said they had not been taught about ecstasy, which is the predecessor to the popular party drug Molly. The drug is marketed as a “cleaner version of ecstasy,” but the drug is still unreliable and has caused some concert-goers to lose their lives as well as sending many to the ER.

Do our kids really think drugs are cool?

Almost two-thirds of the kids said that in high school, drug use was perceived as “cool.” At a time when so many young people are discovering who they are and trying to find where they fit in, this is a highly problematic statistic. So how can we as parents discuss drug use in a way that actually has an impact on our kids, without leading them to rebellion?

What’s next?

Even with the proper guidance, no one is immune from falling victim to the effects of drug use. Though, by trying to have open conversations with your kids, especially at a young age, you can give them more of a foundation of knowledge on which to make decisions. When they are young and get sick, explain why you take medicine and that you should only take it when you are sick. As they become aware of drugs, have open conversations and answer their questions about drugs and substances in a nonjudgmental way and listen to their opinions and feelings about them. As they get to high school age, you have hopefully set the stage for them to be open with you and make sure they know that if they are ever in a sticky situation, they can call you, no questions asked.

It is more than likely that our children will be exposed to drug use at some point and it is important that when they do they have a proper education of drugs and the potential negative impacts of them.

What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.

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Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last?

Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last?

If we are referring to orgasms: Absolutely. I mean, you want her to like it and want to do it again, right? Sure, you do.

But in the Game of Life, as most people mean it when saying that phrase? I call bullshit.

I see it over and over again.

Because I’m a guy, and because Neil Strauss commercialized the pick-up artist industry and perhaps inadvertently turned the “seduction community” into a mainstream thing, I am often bombarded with “Here’s How to Get More Chicks!” marketing messages or “Be a man and learn some game!” blog comments.

It’s all coming from the same groups many of you may already be familiar with: MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way), The Red Pill, or anyone identifying himself as a PUA (pick-up artist).

Like most things in life, it’s not as black and white as it might seem. There are lessons to be learned about self-respect, self-confidence, and general life tips for more effectively meeting strangers. A lot of guys suck at walking up to a pretty girl at the grocery store, striking up non-awkward conversation, and generating enough mutual interest for her to want to exchange contact information, or possibly date or sleep with him.

I’ve never been shy about telling you that scares me, and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve done it in the past three years. She probably has a boyfriend. She’s probably in a hurry. I don’t want to bother her. I don’t want to be a creeper. I don’t want to talk to her in front of her kids. I don’t want to talk to her in front of my kid. I don’t want her to judge the contents of my shopping cart. We probably wouldn’t work anyway.

There’s an endless string of irrational thoughts we invent in our own minds whenever we’re afraid of something and missing too much information. If we all walked around wearing signs: “Hi. I’m Tabitha. I’m divorced. Single. Have a son in fourth grade. Two dogs. I’m friendly. Please feel free to say hi!” or “Hi. I’m Linda. My relationship status doesn’t matter. I’m an introvert and don’t want to talk to you. Ever,” it would make things a lot easier for all parties.

To be sure, the PUA community sometimes offers valuable advice and perspective for men with self-esteem issues, or to decent guys who know too well the stomach-turning feeling right before walking up to a girl while praying none of the bad outcomes you just imagined in your head actually happen.

But, let’s be honest. Like totally, no-bullshit, let’s-not-pretend-this-isn’t-true-for-politically-correct-reasons honest: Most of these guys are assholes.

Some are not assholes. Some are pro-men (not anti-women) in much the same way most people who identify themselves as feminists aren’t anti-men. This is my one-size-never-fits-all disclaimer.

I know all of these guys are not misogynists.

I know all of these guys do not live lives that revolve around how much sex they have.

I know all of these guys do not think men are better than women.

I know all of these guys do not lie to women for the sole purpose of sleeping with them while secretly planning to never speak to them again.

But, right or wrong, I get the impression that many—probably most—do.

These men do as much good for the reputation of men as white supremacists do for caucasians.

This morning, someone was trying to sell me a book via email that would help me “slay hot chicks” and learn an important life secret about “Why nice guys will ALWAYS finish last.”

My “dishes” post received more misogynistic comments than I care to count, and a ton I couldn’t approve because I wasn’t going to let douchebag strangers call female commenters or my ex-wife the most-vile names our language has for women.

So, I’m going to pick on Jeff, who left this gem yesterday under She Feels Like Your Mom and Doesn’t Want to Bang You:

Ha! You are so wrong and all of your dweeb followers. Women belong in the kitchen making sammiches. When i did all that shit and i mean all of it (i had to teach my wife how to bath and diaper our child etc etc) i cleaned cooked, house work. I think the most she did was grocery shop so she could find the most expensive organic produce. I had less sex. Now i dont do shit and have more sex. If she is home all day she can clean my underwear. If she wants me to do all that shit again, i will just take her debit card from her, hire a maid and get meals for myself and she can mve out.

Its a fact that prostitutes are cheaper per sex than a wife.

If my wife complains i ask her to go to work and i would be more than happy to stay home and clean and cook and talk with family and friends at my liesure. That shuts her up.

That’s a solid example of the kind of guy I’m talking about.

He thinks because I’m single and not sleeping with a bunch of strangers all the time that I’m living incorrectly. And he thinks he has it all figured out and has mastered life because, if his comment is to be believed, he’s married to a subservient sandwich maker who blows him on demand.

I hope he’ll believe me when I say I don’t envy him.

Hey Guys! You’re Going to Get Old and Die

This may be hard for some to understand: I don’t think men should measure their lives by how much sex they have.

I know what cheap-and-meaningless looks and feels like. Maybe it makes you feel good. I don’t know. I only know what I experience. I don’t get it. I’ve never liked it.

I know what meaningful looks and feels like. That has always been good. I’ve never found it difficult to tell the difference.

Rather than pretend to be someone you’re not to get laid, why not make the real version of you awesome?

Rather than lie to con women into bed in order to feel accomplished, why not tell the truth to do so and see how much better it is?

Rather than disgrace our gender with pick-up tactics somewhat indistinguishable from sexual assault, why not behave with code and honor?

You don’t have to trick people to get them to consider you interesting. All you have to do is learn enough about something (you know, like you did with PUA tactics) to exhibit a little depth and intellect, and then you actually BECOME interesting in real life to anyone with similar interests.

The Measure of a Man

I think how much a man knows is worth more than how much sex he has.

I think how much skill a man acquires through hard work and practice is worth more than how much sex he has.

I think how successful a man is at achieving a harmonious and mutually beneficial marriage or relationship is worth more than how much sex he has (though, to be sure, he’ll be having a lot of sex in this case).

I think how successfully a man prepares children for adulthood and earns their love, admiration, respect and appreciation, is worth more than how much sex he has.

I think the stories people tell about a man at his funeral is worth more than how much sex he had.

I think how it feels in the silence—when all the lights and noise are shut off and there’s nowhere to hide—is a good barometer for how well we are living.

I think kindness and treating people well (including ourselves), striving to walk the higher path and sacrificing for something greater than ourselves, is a more noble effort than carving another notch on a bedpost.

I don’t know what the true measure of a man is. But I know this bullshit, Fuck People Over so I Can Periodically Feel Good for an Hour and Never Contribute Anything Meaningful philosophy ISN’T it.

We’re all going to die one day. And maybe we’ll have a little time to think about it before we do.

I already have enough regrets to reflect on when that day comes.

Maybe you do, too.

Nice guys finish last? Measured in cheap-sex currency? Sure.

Measured in any way that’s not morally bankrupt, or in penis-disease quotients?

Don’t bet on it.

Originally appeared on Must Be This Tall to Ride.

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The post Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last? appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2GcBTcq

Holding Ourselves Accountable…To Love

Here’s the way I often interact with life these days…

A thought shows up in my mind and my body feels excited in some way.
Inspired, playful, mischievous, feisty, alive.
Lit up.

For example, a thought to write a post.
As I am doing in this moment.

I follow the energy.
I trust its flow.
I trust its “guidance.”

I don’t often know where it will lead me.
What words will emerge.

A lot of the time it feels as if I am simply flowing with a stream of consciousness.
And then, at some point, I feel complete.
And I share.

Sometimes people react with thoughts that what I shared is brilliant.
Other times I receive reflections that I am perhaps being arrogant.
Some disagree with what emerges and get triggered by what I share.
People sometimes want to know why I feel the way I do.

I’m not really sure how to respond a lot of the time because.
I don’t know.
I just followed the flow.

I can check in with my mind and attempt to find all sorts of “reasons” for why I shared it.
For why what I shared is “true.”
Evidence to support whatever “claim” arose from me.
And I play this game sometimes.
It’s often pretty fun.

But other times I don’t really want to.
I don’t like feeling like I have to justify “my perspective.”
I quote “my perspective” because it’s simply what’s flowing from me.
I am the vessel.
So it doesn’t even necessarily feel like mine.

My mind loves to take credit for whatever I produce, especially when it’s received favorably.
It wants to call it mine.
And it likes to say, “Oh, that was just something that came through me,” in moments when people question me.
When judgment comes my way.
It gets uncomfortable and wants to release responsibility.

So what does taking responsibility look like in this context?
What does it mean to “hold myself accountable” when I am allowing myself to be the vessel for energy flow to emerge in whatever form it wishes to embody?

I choose to take responsibility.
To hold myself accountable.
Because, in the end, I don’t know what the f*ck is going on.
I don’t know if everything I’m “claiming” is just some sh*t I’m making up to release accountability for my “choices.”
There I go, quoting choices, like they aren’t even mine.
Being completely irresponsible!

But this also feels like some form of self-attack at times.
Self-betrayal even.
To “take responsibility.”
To “hold myself accountable.”
Because what does that even mean?
Does it mean judging myself when others are uncomfortable in response?

There is a deconstruction occurring within me of many ideas.
Many concepts no longer make much sense anymore.
In some ways, nothing makes sense anymore.
And the further I venture down this path.
The less accountability resonates for me, in the ways I imagine it to be.
It appears as if this is often something that limits me.
That limits others.
From being who we truly are.
From following our organic flow.

A limitation of love embodying the world.
As it does in nature.

Does the eagle say
“I can’t do that!
What will people think?
Is that out of integrity for me?
What will the consequences be if I really let myself go?”

No, it just flows.
And a natural harmony unfolds.

The thing is.
The more I let myself go.
The more free I feel.
And the more free I feel.
The more I feel as if love is embodying me.

This is self-trust.
I don’t have to worry about what I’m doing.
Because love is “doing it.”
And I trust love.

I feel love flowing through me.
I feel life force driving my “choices.”
Maybe it is in fact a choice, in that I’m choosing to surrender.
Because it feels so f*cking good to come alive in this way.
I become creativity.
Creative flow becomes me.

A fire ignites in me as I prepare to release my writing to the world.
I light up.
I feel it now.
Energy flowing radiantly through the vessel that I am.
I imagine myself to be feeling the energy of free-flowing change and unity.
The change occurring within me.
And the change that results from every beautiful soul impacted by my share.
The me “outside of me” joining in celebration with the me I experience myself to be.
Perhaps in ways we often do not translate as celebration.

As I write this, I’m thinking what accountability means for me has to do with the aftermath of how I respond to the reflections I receive.
And I feel that my accountability is to love.

The paradox of love is that it is not always what it seems.
Love could be challenging someone.
Triggering someone.
Ushering them out of their comfort zone.
It could be making myself or others so uncomfortable that we are “forced” to let go of something limiting.
Some belief about ourselves, about the world.
Something that prevents us from being the vessel.
From allowing ourselves to be more fully embodied by love.

In the end, I know nothing.
I don’t know what is best for anyone, including me.
When I say I, I mean the “I” I have come to identify with.
The mind.
The mind knows nothing.

I imagine the mind as a tool.
To navigate my experience.
And I wish to allow the heart to “take the lead.”
The heart is where I feel myself living more naturally as time unfolds.
Dwelling in this space is where I come alive.

Another “paradox” is, “Who is the one imagining the mind as a tool?”
Is this not the mind itself?
At some point, any form of thinking begins to feel unreliable as a source for any sort of “truth.”

So where to go from here?
What do we rely on for guidance when the guide we have known all our lives begins to seem less and less reliable?

Who is writing these words?
This has largely felt like a stream of consciousness.
I have done very little editing.
It’s flowing quite quickly.
Where are all these thoughts coming from?
Why am I inspired to write them down?
To share them with others?

Again, I could come up with all sorts of “reasons” for this.
I could judge myself for seeking attention and approval.
This may or may not be “true.”
Whose perspective is this?
Is it a “reliable” source?

I am perhaps spinning in circles a bit now.
And that’s really the point.
That’s the mind’s game.
To get me questioning myself.
Lost in its maze.
So I continue to identify with it.
Because if I stop thinking I am the mind…

Why don’t I write in “real paragraphs” anymore?
What is happening within me?
Why has my writing become more poetic?
Why has its structure changed?
Perhaps the mind is asking these questions so I continue to identify with it.

Why I am sharing this publicly?
What am I trying to get out of this?
Who am I trying to influence?
What am I trying to prove?

Hello, mind.

So what does it mean to let go of this rascal?
What does it mean to operate without the mind?
Or to simply use it as a tool?
For me, it means trust.
It means flow.
It means…

No more words.
No more explanations.
No more justifying my existence and my creative flow.
But responsibility?
Accountability?

Yes to those.
At least, for now.

And for me.
In this moment.
With as much awareness and courage as I currently possess.
This means unlimited expression.
Allowing my life force to freely flow.
And being love in response to whatever impact I may have.

But what exactly being love means.
I do not know.
So I let go.

A version of this post was originally posted on TroyCohen.Wordpress.com and is republished here with permission from the author. 

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