Has Your Marriage Turned into Just Being Roomies?

Does your marriage suffer from “roommate syndrome?”

If you feel as though your marriage has changed and become dull and distant, you don’t want to miss this video which exposes and explores the indications that your marriage has crossed a line into the roommate situation.

Often we don’t realize our marriage has changed until it’s right in our face. We begin to pick up on the emotional distance and often this distance began out of the need to avoid conflict, water under the bridge aka things that took place that one person or both people in the marriage haven’t gotten over. More often than not, the sheer amount of years of being together will lull us into a state of taking for granted the other person and the marriage. Then instead of working on the marriage, we may look for an escape route.

Let’s talk about how that happens and how to avoid it.

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The post Has Your Marriage Turned into Just Being Roomies? appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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

Dementia can Drain off the Life Savings of Your Family

If Denis Rhodes suffered from cancer or heart issues or any other chronic fatal disease, his family could still be rest assured that they would be covered by insurance. But Rhodes had Alzheimer’s disease which isn’t covered by insurance carriers. The exorbitant cost of dementia care was around $8500 in a month or $105,000 in a year and all these costs were borne by his wife Lenia. It goes without mentioning that this was soon draining off their lifetime savings! It is terrifying indeed for Lenia Rhodes (64), who spent more than $35,000 on this illness of her 65-year-old husband who fails to recognize her.

For seniors and the disabled, Medicare is a lifeline, especially when they’re paying for surgery, hospitalization, transplants, chemotherapy, pacemakers, medications and other interventions. But it is sad enough to note that being diagnosed with dementia demands none of that – rather all it requires is custodial care round-the-clock like help with dressing, eating, and continuous supervision. Dementia caring may not be covered by Medicare and this disease is extraordinarily costly, as released in a report by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dementia and its damaging impact on your bank account

The out-of-pocket costs for families that have a patient suffering from dementia are 80% higher when compared to the families that have patients suffering from cancer or heart diseases. Though the costs were spurring from everybody, yet those for dementia were astronomical. In fact, it ended up in impoverishing the spouse despite having several years in front of them.

According to projections by the Alzheimer’s Association report, families had spent $60 billion for taking care of their suffering family members in the year 2018. With the hike in the number of senior Americans, there is also a consequential rise in the occurrence of dementia. This, in turn, is increasing the number of families that are going through a financial crisis. In the United States, around 200,000 people witness early onset of Alzheimer’s.

Dealing with early-stage dementia – How can you protect your parent’s assets?

Moderate level of cognitive impairment leads to poor judgment abilities and memory loss, both of which are identified at a rather late stage. The aging seniors who are suffering from mild cognitive impairment always stand the risk of making extremely poor money management decisions which can have a jeopardizing impact on their life savings, on their personal finances and also on their homeownership. Scroll down to know more on how you can protect your aging dad’s retirement savings.

Safeguarding the assets of your parents

So, you think you’ve done everything? From sitting with them to chalk out a financial plan to planning long term senior care, you think everything is according to your plan. One fine day, you find your loved ones struggling with money management. You find him taking longer time to calculate the tip on a restaurant check or you find they’ve made unwise decisions regarding their investments. Isn’t this situation familiar for many?

As you discover the fact that your dad is suffering from cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s, you decide to check his finances. Once you dig deeper, you see that the checking account is in a mess, there are late payments, overdrafts, duplicate payments and what not! The American Medical Association reveals that the incapability of managing finances is perhaps the first thing that you will notice in your aging parent when he has developed dementia.

Stay wary about the symptoms of memory loss

More than 20% of the Americans who are above the age of 65 suffer from cognitive impairment and more than 6 million suffer from Alzheimer’s. Nevertheless, according to an AARP bulletin, even healthy seniors might experience cognitive decline which comes with reasoning incapabilities, difficulty in processing information and skills of making decisions to wane after the age of 60. The caregivers or the family physicians need to be alert about the symptoms of cognitive impairment so that they can be quick in making decisions. Here are some such symptoms.

  • Difficulty with handling the common monetary skills like calculating a change, balancing the bank checkbooks or handling multiple financial documents.
  • Being over-concerned about bank accounts and ‘missing funds’.
  • Not remembering to pay bills or rent which leads to disconnection of utility services.
  • Unusual or abnormal purchasing behavior or withdrawing money unwisely.
  • Accusing someone else of stealing money.
  • Getting calls from the bank regarding problems with checking accounts.
  • Getting victimized by financial fraud and scam companies.

 

Handling the inevitable odds which can’t be ignored

There’s perhaps not a single family which would ever want to sit at the dining table to discuss the risks of dementia. Nevertheless, irrespective of how much you ignore discussing these, there are some inevitable odds which are too high to ignore. The Memory Study which is backed by the National Institute of Aging figures out that 15% of the Americans at the age of 71 or older suffer from some kind of dementia and one-third of the people above the age of 85 have moderate to late stage dementia. These percentages will most likely worsen with time.

The key issue is that not many families are open to handling the money of their parents as they age. As per a survey, only 1 in 4 families discussed how their aging parents will be cared for and financially provided for. Half of those who were surveyed and who were developing even the early stages of the disease didn’t have a will and just 4 in 10 had penned down a health care directive of their own.

There’s more to estate planning than just taxes and bequests

If you thought estate planning only deals with taxes and bequests, you were wrong. It even means handling your finances in such a manner that in case of cognitive decline, a caregiver, probably your partner, spouse or your offspring could step in to manage your finances and give you a better quality of life. This kind of estate planning is imperative especially for adults who have reached 65 years of age. In short, it is never easy when you have to take care of your dad or granddad who is suffering from dementia. Society places huge demands on poor caregivers instead of offering them help to minimize their financial and emotional stress.

Approaches towards dementia care with the progress of the disease

Dementia progresses for several years and the initial symptoms are difficult to recognize and mild. However, the damage tends to increase with time and hence the amount of help needs to be adjusted. There are 3 broad categories under which dementia can be discussed:

  • First stage dementia where you need to ensure autonomy and dignity. The goal of the caregiver is to maintain the enjoyment of the person who is suffering.
  • Second stage dementia where you need to ensure safety. In this stage, the person is more at risk of decline in insight and function.
  • Third stage dementia where you need to ensure dignity, comfort and good quality life. Care includes reassessing treatment approaches and medications.

 

Care approaches for Early Stage Dementia

As long as planning for early-stage dementia is concerned, it can be done by the sufferer himself and by his friends and family members. This is the stage where the person is able to understand his situation, tell others what he wants and can also plan for his future. Here are the things that he can do during the initial stage.

  • He can adjust to his dementia state

As mentioned above, the symptoms of early age are mild enough. The person who is suffering from dementia can function properly and do most of the activities on his own. However, they might get forgetful and start losing their usual ability to plan and decide things. There may be issues with mood disorders and language or personality changes. Luckily, this is a stage where medicines can impact the patients. As the person who is suffering can understand his disease, he can get to learn more about it. Henceforth, they’re able to adjust emotionally with his problems.

  • He can make changes for planning a healthier future

Dementia is a disease which will certainly lead to increased dependence and reduced abilities. Therefore, this has an impact on what the person can plan for his future. During the early stage, the patient himself can decide on the changes that he wants to bring about to his future. For instance, if they’re working, they can reduce commitments and distribute responsibilities. In case they’re living alone, they can plan to move with their children or even check out the assisted living facilities or elderly home care facilities for themselves.

  • Caregivers can help the person stay independent and do their own jobs

The support that one may need during this stage is low and hence caregivers just find out ways to let them live a meaningful, independent and dignified life. Home adaptations are one activity that you need to plan during this stage. The caregivers can adjust and change the surroundings so that the person doesn’t get confused. The sufferer can use reminder notes as remembering aids. The caregiver may label drawers, containers using pictures and words and place visible signs on doors. Allow them to handle their medicine boxes on their own and make all their choices simple.

  • Caregivers can prepare themselves for offering later care

During the early stage, the caregivers needn’t be present with the patient all the time. The effort that they need to give is also not as high as what it will get later on with the progress of the disease. Hence, they need to learn the skills so that they can prepare themselves for offering later care. Here are a few things you should start getting educated on:

  • Understanding the disease, the different symptoms, how it progresses and how it can impact the person sooner or later
  • Understand the role of medicines, which medicines can help when and the limitations of the medicines
  • Understanding and empathizing with the medical state of the person
  • Learn about the past of the patient, his dislikes and likes. Even though you may be someone too close, you may not know the details of the person. Hence, try to know them before it’s too late
  • Understand and realize the specific area of the life of the person which might need support later on. Some instances like tax and financial decisions might have to be offered support by the caregiver
  • Know how to interact with a person who is suffering from dementia and know how you should adjust your talking approach for making it easier for them to understand you. Know how you can help them and get to know on changed behaviors, the reasons behind the changes, how you can adjust yourself and how you can handle such behaviors when you are the main caregiver

 

  • Caregivers require being aware of the risks of dementia getting worse

People who are going through early-stage dementia can do several things both alone and with the help of someone. Hence, it is clear that they won’t require full-time assistance. However, with the progress of the disease, dementia gets worse and this could happen rapidly or slowly. Hence, the caregivers need to stay aware of these reducing abilities, the risks, and mistakes. He should be aware of how the person is handling those activities which might be unsafe for them, for example driving. If the person with dementia drives on his own, you should accompany him to check whether he is driving safely.

Caregivers are busy taking care of a person who is suffering from dementia and they tend to forget to take care of themselves. As a caregiver, you should plan for self-care as soon as possible as later on you may get overwhelmed and tired with the disease. Make sure you take out time to plan for your health and happiness while you continue taking care of your family member.

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

Man up! Possibly the Worst 2 Words of Advice Ever Given to Men

A short but pertinent message this week. So kick back, grab your cup of man tea and check this out.

We’ve all heard this phrase: “Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive”.

Yes, it’s Superman, but have you got your sh*t together like Clark Kent on steroids? If not why not! How about a cup of ‘harden up’ then! Man up buddy!

Sound familiar?

How many times have I heard these types of messages! How many times have I berated myself, ending up even more entrenched in my illusory pursuit of what it means to ‘be the man’. Enough already.

With all the expectations of the world screaming at me, it can be loud out there, not to mention the noise in my own head. So enough of the macho shaming BS.

Some of you may even be thinking, ‘oh here we go with the namby pamby new age wimpy guy stuff’. Nope, not that either.

Being a man (in fact being a human), is a work in progress, and I’m quite ok with admitting that I don’t have all my sh*t together. But here’s the thing. The bits that I don’t, I own and am working on, and this is a different matter.

Whatever those ‘bits’ are for you… fears, insecurity, self doubt, lack of confidence, critical voices etc, your role as a man is not to shut these down or pretend that they don’t exist.

You don’t need to grab another crutch, punch another head, or make another million to prop yourself up. Instead, it’s time to embrace a self culture of courage, feel the fear, and face your own demons.

Look, there is certainly a place for standing strong, and living life with a firm grip of your own balls. But having your sh*t together and ‘manning up’, is not what makes you attractive, not what makes you successful, not what makes you who you are.

What makes you authentic and real, is owning your sh*t AND dealing with it. That’s what makes you a better man and increases your self worth. When you do that, the rest will follow.

As an aside, when two people do this together, they will build a bulletproof relationship.

F^*k the expectations of what other people say about how you should be, what you should look like, or how far you should have progressed by now.

Be it the media, your work colleagues, your Dad, your best mate, or self help gurus. At the end of the day, it’s you who has to sleep at night.

This is not to say don’t ever listen and take correction or feedback. There are certainly times for this, but YOU are the one you live with, and YOU are the navigator of your own life.

Neither is this about having a f^*k you attitude. Instead, it’s about having a f^*k yeah approach to life!

The Mac laptop that I wrote this on, was due to a man who had a f^*k yeah approach. He wanted to create and design the most functional, beautiful computers ever known. And so he did, even after losing his job at Apple.

So be kind, show love, own your sh*t, live your truth, revel in your uniqueness, follow your gut, because there is no other person like you on the planet.

God knows, the world needs men like this, kids need Dads like this, partners need lovers like this, and you owe it to yourself, to show up and be that man!

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The post Man up! Possibly the Worst 2 Words of Advice Ever Given to Men appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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My Friend Called Me Fat. I Needed to Hear It.


Like anyone who attends classes such as water aerobics or Zumba, sometimes I go to the gym just to pretend I’m being healthy. I’m not doing much by way of fitness, but hey! At least I can say, “I went to the gym.”

One particular day, my friend Richard was there.

We don’t see one another often enough and, now that I really think of it, our last several interactions all happened by happenstance at the gym. For whatever reason, one of us was off our routine and there at the same time as the other, instead of when we usually go.

We got to talking and, at one point, I looked at my fitness tracker and lamented, “Man, I haven’t burned any calories this workout.”

Without skipping a beat, Richard poked me right in my Pillsbury Doughboy belly and said with a laugh, “That’s because you’re fat. Your body is holding on to what it thinks you need, because you’ve been sedentary for so long.”

I nodded my head and laughed in embarrassment.

He’d called me out, which is what friends do. Especially when the message is harsh.

Some people call it fat shaming; I call it being honest. If there’s a difference between the two, fat shaming would probably be pointing out (or making fun of) the body shape of a stranger.
Friends, however, should live in the no-holds-barred territory.

With the rise of the body acceptance movement—which, for the record, I’m for (no one should be made to feel bad about who they are for any reason)—has come the rise of obesity in America.

In 1990, Mississippi was listed as the most obese state in the nation. The percentage of obese citizens within its borders was listed as 15%. In 2017, Colorado was listed as the healthiest state in the nation, because only 22.6% of its citizens were obese.

Look at that flip: the healthiest state today is more obese than the most obese state was less than 30 years ago.

That, to put it mildly, no es bueno.

With obesity comes health problem: Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and arthritis (because when you’re carrying around extra weight, it’s hard on ‘dem bones and their respective joints), for examples.

The problems with combating obesity are multiple; no one ever said it was easy.

First off, no one wakes up “obese.” It’s not an overnight thing that jumps you like a mugger in a dark alley. Obesity creeps up on you slowly. When you see yourself every day, change is difficult to discern. To quote Pink Floyd, “Then one day you find, ten years have got behind you…” and your body is different. Which is to be expected; no one can have the same body they did when they were fifteen or twenty years old.

Also, there’s the Hollywood problem. Not everyone can look like Brad Pitt. Shit, I wish I could, but I don’t have his genetics, his ability to hire a dietitian, or his ability to hire a trainer and work out eight hours a day for months leading up to a film.

I also—and this is key—don’t have his willpower.

Because the first few items in the Brad Pitt list are legitimate excuses, but the final one is not.

Other than winning the lottery, everything in life involves willpower. Effort. Blood, sweat, and tears. Aside from the very rare savant, no one wakes up a world-class violin player. To play any instrument you need to practice, and to lose weight you need to have a dedicated focus on diet and exercise.

Which is why I think the show The Biggest Loser hurt the idea of weight loss as much as it helped it. By that, I mean that show did one thing good, and one thing horrible. On the plus side, at the beginning of every season, contestants listed every medication they were taking, and why. Somewhere toward the end of every season, the contestants no longer needed those medications because they were healthier. That shows how horrible obesity is for the body.

What the show did wrong was to turn weight loss into a quick-fix spectacle. They had people exercise non-stop and starve themselves into weight loss. It was unhealthy, and critics of the show were right to blast it. Which means a better show would have been a year-long biggest loser. Instead of several months where people dropped hundreds of pounds, a show that lasted one year and at the end maybe twenty, or fifty pounds had been lost. Something honest, and real, where they showed people how to lose weight over the long term, not just force it off quickly—because forcing it off quickly led to many contestants gaining it all right back once they got home.

Slow and steady is what I’m shooting for. A slow and steady removal of mah belly. Because if I don’t do start now, in ten more years things will only be worse.

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The post My Friend Called Me Fat. I Needed to Hear It. appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2PmbJs2

13 Ways Manipulators Use Passive Aggressiveness To Manipulate and Abuse You

Passive aggressiveness is passive anger.

One of my followers has asked me about this recently:

(My partner) was never aggressive, violent or angry but after doing some research I do believe he was passive aggressive. So what I am wanting to know is: is passive aggression a form of emotional abuse?

Yes, it is.

Passive aggressiveness is confusing as someone who behaves as this acts passively. But they are covertly aggressive and hostile.

Passive aggressiveness is a sign of insecurity. It belies a deep sense of shame and low self-esteem.

A person who is passive aggressive needs to feel dominant and in control. They also need to make others feel inadequate to relieve a feeling of deficiency within themselves.

They can be unreasonable, uncomfortable to be around. They express hostility covertly and use manipulative subterfuge over time.

All designed to make you feel insecure, walk on eggshells and at times, to punish you.

They do this in a number of ways:

Characteristics of passive aggressive behavior:

1) SARCASM AND TEASING

Sarcasm can be humor used as a weapon to hurt you.

Hostile humor that can be disguised as teasing you about your appearance, gender, cultural status or whatever personal to you.

If you get hurt or angry, they’ll say:

I was just kidding

And gaslight you by telling you:

You’re too sensitive

2) PICKING FIGHTS

This is where they’ll pick a fight out of thin air. But it will be because of something you’ve said or done they blame as causing them to do this. You’re responsible for their anger.

Or, they’ll be resentful and occasionally let nasty comments slip out.

3) THE SILENT TREATMENT

This is a form of punishment aimed at creating insecurity within you. It may be sullen resentment. Social exclusion or neglect.

Not speaking to you for days, as punishment for their behavior you may have questioned. So you become the problem, not them. And they avoid accountability for it.

4) NEGATIVE CRITICISM

Negative criticism of anything from your appearance to how you talk.

Telling you your friends or family are no good for you.

5) PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE COMMENTS

But, then they’ll say:

I’m only trying to help you. Who else will tell you if I don’t

They may say negative things to others about you. Or, address you like a child.

This is all aimed at making you feel inadequate to relieve their own sense of deficiency. For them to feel superior and in control.

6) PSYCHOLOGICAL MANIPULATION

Using tactics like gaslighting. Blaming you for their abusive behavior.

Lying to you, then telling you – you’re the one making things up.

Making excuses for their behavior to avoid responsibility for it.

Throwing unexpected things your way to always keep you on eggshells.

Making you feel guilty for their behavior

Holding you responsible for their moods and behavior. Their unhappiness and lack of success.

Expecting you to change your behavior so they don’t have to be accountable for theirs.

7) STONEWALLING

This is where they don’t say no. But do everything to block things. There’ll be broken agreements, endless red tape and a lack of follow-through.
They’ll keep you thinking progress will be made, but covertly they’ll be stonewalling you.

8) STUBBORNNESS

Where they passively appear to be going along with you, but constantly come up with excuses or reasons why you can’t.
Which stalls progress or inhibits you coming to a decision.

9) SECRET SUBTERFUGE

This is where they undermine you in any way they can. They’ll ignore deadlines, sabotage projects.

Make you look like you’ve failed and you get the blame for it.

Again, this is about making themselves feel good, by crushing your self-esteem encouraging your insecurity.

10) THREATENING TO HURT THEMSELVES

This is passive aggressive manipulation at its best. Threats such as:

If you leave me I’ll kill myself

The tactic is to teach you a lesson. Saying: I’ll hurt myself to hurt you.

It’s appealing for your sympathy, aimed at making you feel guilty. It’s attention-seeking drama aimed at you and gaining control again.

11) PLAYING THE VICTIM

Narcissists are masters of at playing the victim, especially in their smear campaigns against you.

Making others believe they were the victim of your behavior, not the other way around.

Others play the martyr – not magnanimously, but so they can have control and feel better about themselves.

Victimhood can be a form of co-dependency. Where you have a need to be needed.

Even if the other person rejects your desire to rescue them. Your obsession for fixing them is at the expense of your own needs and wellbeing.

12) Passive anger

Passive aggressiveness can be frustrating to deal with, as the passive-aggressive person can transfer their inner anger onto you.

They covertly and passively press your buttons and push your boundaries. If you become frustrated and angry they’ll then turn it back on you, asking:

Why are you so angry?

If you’re in a relationship where this behavior is happening then chances are you are codependent.

Their covert manipulation is a form of coercive control and emotional abuse.

By staying there and accepting it you are also enabling them to continue with it.

It’s a form of hidden anger and resentment towards others they seem are more fortunate than they are.

They have an exaggerated sense of their misfortune, which they deem to be caused by others.

They can be sullen, argumentative and resentful and it can be so uncomfortable to be around them, it can be easier at times to take the path of least resistance.

Passive aggressiveness can be found in relationships, in the workplace – your colleagues. Even your friends can use passive-aggressive behavior.

Don’t enable this behavior. It’s emotional abuse.

13) Dealing with passive aggressive people

The best response is not to engage with any of it.

If you nag them, scold them or pull them up for it, then you will most likely be gaslighted anyway. They’ll project their behavior onto you.

And unwittingly force you into the parent role, which they can rebel against even more.

The only response is an assertive one. Which is neither passive or aggressive.

Don’t blame them or judge them. Take emotions out of it.
Simply, describe their behavior and explain the effect it has on you and the relationship in factual terms. Using words such as:

When you do X, I feel Y and I believe it would be better for our relationship if instead we try Z.
It’s all about having strong boundaries, which are key to signaling to them how you expect to be treated.

There are even times when you can find yourself acting passive aggressively. I have.

There was one time when I started to use sarcasm and put-downs to covertly bully my husband. I wasn’t even aware I was doing it at the time.

It was when certain events impacted our relationship and we fell into an unhealthy parent-child dynamic.

Thankfully, I recognized this and that it was coming from a place of insecurity within both of us.

I learned love is a verb, not a noun. To get us back on track I needed to show him I loved him with my actions, not just words.

We both needed to nurture our boundaries, sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

So, back to her question:

Is passive aggressiveness a part of the dynamic? A form of emotional abuse?

The answer is: Yes. In codependent relationships, definitely.

Passive anger or passive-aggressiveness is a form of emotional abuse. Coercive control.

It’s aimed at making the other person feel small, so they can feel greater about themselves.

Originally published on The Minds Journal

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“Let the Kids Play!” Except Him. He’s Suspended.

On Monday of this past week, MLB celebrated Jackie Robinson Day. In what has become a yearly Tax Day tribute, Baseball commemorated Robinson’s breaking the color barrier on April 15, 1947 by outfitting every player in his iconic #42.

On Friday, MLB closed out that same week by suspending Chicago White Sox shortstop, Tim Anderson (who is black) for getting intentionally plunked by a 92 MPH fastball after hitting a home run in his prior at bat and then calling the offending pitcher, Brad Keller (who is white) “a weak-ass [effing] N-word.” Anderson, who is off to a sensational start this season, had emphatically celebrated his homer by flipping the bat and staring into the opposing dugout. After he was hit by a pitch in his next at bat, the benches cleared and Anderson shouted at Keller.

By suspending Anderson, MLB showed it still doesn’t quite “get it” when it comes to issues of racism.

Perhaps, however, this should come as no surprise. Of all the major sports in the US, baseball has – by far – the lowest percentage of black players. In 2018, MLB announced that percentage of black players in the league had grown to 8.4%. By comparison, the NBA has 74%,while the NFL has 65%. The institutional whiteness of the sport of baseball, however, demonstrates how important it is for MLB to understand race issues and deal appropriately with them.

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First, MLB swings-and-misses here by suspending a black player for using the N-word.

As the NY Daily News points out, “If the NBA banned its black athletes from using the n-word in any context, the league would cease operations inside of an hour and we’d be left watching Andrew Bogut’s Warriors battle Donte DiVicenzo’s Bucks in the NBA Finals. And if DiVicenzo’s old tweets are any indication, the rookie guard would probably have to be more careful with his own language.”

For a white person, saying the N-word is a racial slur and is racist. For a black person to say the N-word is not. Finally – and this can be the most confusing to grasp – this is not a “double-standard.”

For a white person, saying the N-word is a racial slur and is racist. For a black person to say the N-word is not. Finally – and this can be the most confusing to grasp – this is not a “double-standard.”

This can be a particularly difficult issue for white people, like me, to learn and understand. My son listens to a lot of rap music and has asked me this very question: “Why can they say it and its OK, but when I say it, its bad?”

The reason for this is based on the history of the word’s creation and use.

 

On this subject, I recommend the excellent article, ‘Regarding the Use of the N-Word‘ by Napoleon Wells (who is black):

“When the “N” word is uttered by any White person, it is a slur. Full stop. No White American has had to live with the cost associated with Black skin, none have been granted access to the use of the word as it belongs to an entire other community. This is not academic, there is no science to ground it. For White persons, there has not been the history of transforming the meaning of the word, it remains one thing for that community, and no permission from any misguided Black person can be granted to erase marks that are that indelible . . .

When I use the word, and when those among my extended kinfolk in the community use it, there is an understanding of the motive, and a specific set of applications of the word. There is a history and meaning, there is a tearing down of that word as it was used as a weapon, a siphoning of the emotional poison it is steeped in, when my tribe makes use of it. I know there to be no harm.”

That article is well worth reading in its entirety, perhaps more than once.

Upworthy also has a very helpful video on this issue, here, which explains why there are different consequences to using the N-word, which was created by white people as a tool of oppression against black people, depending on whether you are black or white.

Hopefully this incident leads to more discussion and understanding around this topic, both in baseball and in our society at large.

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Second, MLB’s suspension of Anderson stands in stark contrast to its non-actions last year against players like the Brewers’ Josh Hader and the Braves’ Tim Newcomb, in the face of the surfacing of old Tweets of their that were racist or homophobic.

Some have compared these incidents, pointing to different treatment for black players vs. white players.

Acknowledging the difficulties of suspending players for incidents that occurred years ago, those were serious incidents of racism that MLB should have addressed. And, for what its worth, the Yankees just suspended Kate Smith and her (grating) rendition of God Bless America for similar reasons and her statements were made last century.

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Finally, apart from the issue of the N-word and racism, this incident shines a light on another hot-button issue about the game itself: whether we should jettison two of the hoary “unwritten rules” of the sport.

One unwritten rule in American baseball is that batters should be stoic at all times. When you hit a home run, you’re supposed to “just put your head down and run around the bases.” No eye contact. Don’t run too slowly. Don’t run too fast. And certainly, don’t exhibit any excitement, by flipping the bat or jumping up-and-down. Any of those are viewed as “showing the pitcher up.”

This certainly isn’t the case in other countries and cultures. In Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, for example, players are more exuberant in their celebrations. This is what got Jose Bautista is trouble when he let loose an epic bat flip back in the 2015 playoffs after a game-winning home run. And Korea has elevated bat-flipping to an art-form.

I don’t see the point to demanding that players quash the excitement and emotions that come from hitting a bomb. Whether in sport or in life, repressing emotions is a bad thing. But more to the point, those emotions are some of the best parts of sport! MLB baseball has long been a comparative failure when it comes to marketing the sport and its superstars, baseball needs MORE excitement, not less. We don’t need more Mike Trout talking about the weather and the daily grind of the game. Instead, give me more Francisco Lindor and his blue hair hitting a bomb in front of his hometown fans in Puerto Rico and letting loose an energetic boom of emotion.

Back to baseball’s longstanding unwritten rules. There’s a second “unwritten rule” that says that if you or your teammates “show up” a pitcher, he gets to throw a fastball at you and plunk you.

Anderson got pissed off when Keller – albeit licensed by year’s of baseball tradition – acted like a baby and threw a pitch at him. So he yelled at him. I have no problem with that.

This makes no sense. Is this really what we want to teach kids (or grown-ups)? If you make a bad pitch and get frustrated you get to take out your frustrations by beaning that guy with a 90+ MPH fastball. No. You can seriously hurt a guy that way. And if you made a bad pitch and a guy hits it 450 feet, he got you. Next time, make a better pitch. (I would say the same thing in football; if you don’t want to watch some guy celebrate in the end zone, do your job and tackle him and keep him out of the end zone.)

Anderson got pissed off when Keller – albeit licensed by year’s of baseball tradition – acted like a baby and threw a pitch at him. So he yelled at him. I have no problem with that.

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Ironically, MLB tried to show an openness to this more modern accepting view of bat-flipping by posting this on its Twitter:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Later that same day, it turned around and suspended him.

Do better, MLB.

Photo Credit: YouTube (screen grab)

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How and Why We Must Surprise Ourselves

You know what’s so beautiful and taken for granted? We live with ourselves our entire lives and yet at any moment we can surprise ourselves.

We can wake up an hour earlier and order our coffee to stay. Rather than constantly being on the go, we can take our time. We can sit by a window. Observe and reflect. We can jump out of airplanes and look a man in the eye after we’ve kissed him and we can say, I want this to happen more often, without being afraid.

Instead of waiting to be pursued, we can break out on our own. We can be the one in pursuit of our own life, our own marvelous affair. We can take one tiny, unfamiliar step.

We can idle with our dog on a bench and drink gin under the moon. We can offer a third of our macaroon to a stranger. Chat with someone we know nothing about. We can talk to a person whose profile we haven’t surveyed, whose past we haven’t already explored and, drinking our coffee side by side, we can stare out on the world and pet the dogs passing by and we can feel like we have known each other forever.

Imagine that. Imagine that feeling, the surprising grace of familiarity that could be discovered right outside our comfort zone. Imagine how a bond with a stranger could come so quickly, could actually be almost effortless. How might that free you? What might the ease of companionship welcome into your life? Consider the chances, the camaraderie, the communion. Let these benefits entice you to look at more people with care, to even reach out with your unique and simple curiosity.

The reality is that even outside our comfort zone, we can feel right at home. We might just not know it yet. And all because we haven’t risked enough of our heart, of ourselves, to learn and see how every extraordinary life is wrapped up in effort, simplicity, and ease.

Epiphanies and experiences like these come out of what could have been nothing, though. For instance, we could have taken our coffee to go. We could have continued to lose the opportunities to meet someone special, to simply involve ourselves in our day. One small conversation, though, can keep a person hopeful, centered, can help us move on or bring us alive. It’s true. A small conversation is enough to save or, at the very least, support a life. And life is so much fuller if we believe in all the ways we might come alive in it–our spirit, I mean, our character–if we believe that every surprising, refreshing act will conspire against our own mediocrity.

This will be in thanks to the mornings we woke an hour early, the solo lunches that, in the beginning, we had to settle into. Just imagine yourself. Imagine how just beyond our anxious and self-conscious ordering of a meal there is relief. There is our own amazing discovery that when alone we actually have a talent for making friends. This is absolutely possible for us. And this is how we can surprise ourselves.

We can surprise ourselves just from speaking from our gut, from sending a text that has us written all over it. We can surprise ourselves when we reach out with our own words and not the jumbled garble of our friends who have advised us on what to say and what not to say in our message. This is how our sweetness seeps into our days and comes to redefine the very concept we have of ourselves.

Our limitlessness comes from our magic and integrity and initiation. It comes from our mind, our effort. We are more capable than we give ourselves credit for. We are more than we want even to realize. It is from our feet and our hearts that we are led. So, feel it all. Feel your way into being your own mentor, your own guide. If cemented in fear, let your mind create a visual, an energy, of you overcoming something. This will excite you beyond yourself. When in fear, just imagine overcoming something you are too ashamed to admit even to your closest of friends. Because you worry. We all do.

We worry our pain might be trivial in comparison to what lives within the everyday lives of others. We worry about exposing the various hiccups that keep our spirits low. But imagine how it might feel not to worry. How things might go if we let our pain be all about us and our process for once. If we let our grief and recovery, our courage and timeline, be worthy of existing on our terms. What if we decided how we were going to respond; how we were going to answer to life; how we were going to let go of our own pain? Maybe it will surprise us to learn that that decision is already ours. Our story might be so different, so elevated and celebrated and honored, were we to overcome something on our own terms and because of that begin to see ourselves as a hero in our own heart.

If you’re seeking empowerment, the fresh air of your brightness spreading out into the world, you don’t have to wait for anything or anyone to get you there. Because we can be our own surprise. We can improve our own moments. And our moments are, evidently, our lives. They are the small tweaks and tiny bursts of newness along the way that accumulate over time and have us, before we know it, looking back over our years only to realize our own spectacular difference. A sight that will be shockingly beautiful, and yours.

Imagine if you were to see that, see how the blessings of your own effort have allowed you to come alive in unimaginable ways — and, not because anyone other than you made it happen. Imagine how surprised you might be. Imagine how we would celebrate.

Previously Published on Huffington Post

 ID: 447507112

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from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2vcam5X

5 Ways to Deal With Startup Uncertainty

Starting your own company may sound like a dream come true in your mind, on social media, and to all the people looking on in envy from their office jobs. But when the fantasy fades, you realize how much uncertainty you now have in your life. The inherent risk in any startup is that you are trading the certainty of a normal job for real growth and freedom. What people get from office jobs is much more than a steady pay check and free coffee. It’s a sense of certainty that their lives, work, and finances are in order.

You will have to give up certainty to fully take on the risks of this lifestyle. It will be roller-coaster and something you need to prepare for. Logically, it’s easy to know that. But emotionally, there are so many ups and downs in an entrepreneur’s life. Stress, frustration, and decreased motivation are inevitable.

Here are 5 ways you can deal with startup uncertainty:

1. Stick to a morning routine

There’s many ways to start a morning routine. What’s important is to have a stable, predictable routine. This centers your mind and gives you some order to your day. You manage your business and you can do whatever you want. No boss and no one telling you what to do, it can be mix of productive to outright messy days. By giving yourself some stability, you start the day off in a predictable way so that you can jump into work each day.

It’s as easy as taking your dog to the park, having a cup of coffee, and listening to a motivating audiobook for 20 minutes. You may need meditation to get into the state. Whatever it is that you need to get from a sleepy/hungover mindset to that of taking on the day.

“If you win the morning, you win the day.” – Tim Ferriss

2. Make time for high performance books

Speaking of audiobooks, everyone – especially entrepreneurs, need motivation. Get a few motivating books from other business leaders. This will do incredible things for your mindset and the way you think. Most of them help by keeping you excited for bigger goals. Look for classics from Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins. Or the newer motivational personalities like David Goggins and Rachel Hollis. You’ll be surprised at how much hearing someone’s hardships on their journey will help you on your own.

3. Schedule your week

It’s easy to get a packed calendar working an office job. Everyone else in the company seems to be demanding your time for one meeting or another. Pointless meetings are even the reason some people leave their jobs in the first place. The issue with having your own startup is that while the pointless meetings are gone, so too is any semblance of structure from a filled up calendar.

Spend one evening and fill the upcoming week as much as possible. I recommend Sunday afternoons to think about your goals. Plan big tasks every day throughout the week. That way you always know what you should be working on and stay on track.

4. Hit the gym

This one is actually part of my morning routine and it’s benefits can’t be overstated. Exercise helps fight off anxiety and stress. There’s no better way to funnel your business frustrations more than into the weights. By the time you’re done, your body and mind will be much more relaxed. A necessity when it comes to the tension of being an entrepreneur. Whether that’s staring at your laptop or making sales calls.

“Daily exercise is an insurance policy for future illness.” – Robin Sharma

5. Be grateful

Gratitude was one of the feel good things that I always used to skip whenever it was mentioned. I wanted cold, calculated strategy or tools I could use to build a business as fast as possible. Many brilliant minds in not only self help but also in business, speak about the need for gratitude.

Here’s why it helps me when the business is going through growing pains or everything seems like it is going wrong. I get filled with doubt and uncertainty and gratitude is the quickest way to relief.

Yes, starting your own business is a massive effort, but there is always some job out there. You decided to launch something of your own because you don’t want a baseline existence. You want to grow and build with the freedom someone can only give themselves.

That alone is enough to be grateful. But if you need more, how about that most people are too scared to do what you’re doing. Or that you are taking the time to believe in yourself and live a life of taking chances.

That speaks to your character and self-worth. Much more than the life of quiet misery so many people in the world allow to decide their entire lifestyle. Be grateful you have this opportunity and make the most of it.

source https://addicted2success.com/startups/5-ways-to-deal-with-startup-uncertainty/

The Terribly Tiny God of MAGA Christians

I feel sorry for professed Christians who support this President.

They have a profound and fundamental spiritual problem: their God is too small.

They passionately worship a deity made in their own image: white, American, Republican, male—and perpetually terrified of Muslims, immigrants, gay children, Special Counsel reports, mandalas, Harry Potter, Starbucks holiday cups, yoga, wind turbines, Science—everything. Their God is so laughably minuscule, so fully neutered of power, so completely devoid of functioning vertebrae that “He” cannot protect them from the encroaching monsters they are certain lurk around every corner to overwhelm them.

MAGA Christians sure put up a brave face, I’ll give them that. They shower this God with effusive praise on Sunday mornings, they sing with reckless abandon in church services about Him, they brazenly pump out their chests on social media regarding His infinite wisdom, they defiantly declare this God’s staggering might at every opportunity—but their lives tell the truth: They believe He is impotent and scared and ineffectual. You can tell this because they insist on doing all the things that a God-sized God would simply do as part of the gig.

They need to be armed to the teeth at all times because they don’t really believe God will come through to defend them in a pinch—and will always be outgunned.

They want to change gay couples and transgender teenagers themselves, because they don’t trust God to work within people as He desires. (Apparently God keeps making LGBTQ people, which really pisses them off.)
They want to stockpile and horde wealth, health insurance, and opportunity—because this is a zero-sum game; because the God they claim turned water into wine, and fed thousands with a few fish and some leftover bread—can’t make enough for everyone.
They are obsessed with building a wall and defending a border and turning away refugees—because their God isn’t generous or smart or creative enough to help them figure out how to welcome and care for everyone who requires it.
They want no other religious traditions to have a voice, because their insecure and terribly tiny God is mortally threatened by such things.

MAGA Christians’ daily existence testifies that their God is a microscopic, myopic coward, who has appointed them to morally police a world He cannot handle or is not equipped to direct and renovate. That’s pretty sad.

In short, their God isn’t a God worth believing in or worshiping—which is why they have to play God while they’re alive. It’s why they are furrowed-browed and white-knuckling their journey here—not content to let Jesus take the wheel for fear he’d drive them outside their gated community and into the hood and ask them to get out and care for the people they’re so used to condemning.

If you’re going to have a God, it may as well be right-sized. The world deserves this.

People deserve a God who is bigger than Franklin Graham’s God and Mike Pence’s God and Sarah Sander’s and Jerry Falwell’s God. Their God is small and terrified—and it suspiciously resembles them.
People deserve a God who so loves the world, not a God who thinks America First; whose creation begin without divides and borders and walls, because there is only a single, interdependent community.
People deserve a God who touched the leper and healed the sick and fed the starving and parted the seas and raised the dead—not a quivering idol who builds walls and drafts bathroom bills and social media crusades against migrant families.
People deserve a God who is neither white nor male nor cisgender-heterosexual, nor Republican—because any other God isn’t big enough to bear the title or merit any reverence.

MAGA Christians believe in God earnestly, pray to God passionately, serve God with unflinching fervor. The problem is their God is too small, and as long as they are oriented toward such a tiny, useless deity—they will continue to be compelled to do for God what they believe God should be doing, but can’t or won’t.

I feel sorry for them and for the world that has to be subjected to their pocket-sized theology when there is an expansive space waiting.

I hope and pray that these people soon find a God who is big enough so that they stop living so small.

For their sake—and for ours.

Originally Published on JohnPavlovitz.com

better world

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