Author: Hank

Twice-divorced, single father of 3. I love to write, share ideas and listen to people. I'm transparent to a fault and love to learn through authentic and intimate conversation. I'm no stranger to pain and loss, but through the struggle I have learned a great deal about me and what's truly important. That is to love fearlessly and to be loved in return in a meaningful way. I love good music and how it takes me to a place... Life is good.

“I’m learning to love the sound of my feet walking away from things not meant for me.” – A.G. 

 

Have you ever been in a cycle of your life where you found yourself more angry and uptight than at peace? A time when everyone and most circumstances that evolved around your life seemed like an annoying problem. You know that season of your life when the only time you weren’t complaining is when you were sleeping, but even then peace was far from your slumber?

Not only were you perpetually unhappy, but those around you hated to see you coming, because you certainly were the dark cloud in their lives as well. Of course you didn’t mean to be, (maybe) but you were. The center of turmoil for many, but mostly yourself. Even if others would argue that, it probably is still true that you were more miserable than you were making others.

Perhaps that was you once upon a time, or it accurately describes the place you are in today. If you are taking the to read this post, than it must mean you are somewhat concerned about your current status of being a tyrant, party pooper, or the one that family, friends and acquaintances avoid. Or better yet, you recognized this state of affairs long ago and have since done the work to bring it into submission.

However if you are that one that still finds themselves blaming others for your current condition and are adamant about it, I pray this post gives you some insight and encourages you to finally see yourself and how you impact others around you, but most especially yourself.

We all have a family member, friend or colleague who will go to their grave arguing about the unfairness of life. Nothing ever works, nothing ever fits or goes their way and it is always someone else’s fault or responsibility.

One word that comes to mind when describing this personality, and that is…draining. They are energy zappers and usually have no idea the travail they bring to every doorstep and circle they are connected to. And I get it, sometimes they are connected to us in ways that we cannot avoid or change, so removing ourselves from them may not always be an option.

So what are we supposed to do when we’re confronted by knuckleheads, consistent bitchy attitudes and downright mean individuals, who want nothing more, but to see us in misery and turmoil? Well I am reminded of a scripture in the Bible that says, “Be at peace with all men as much as it depends on you.” – Romans 12:18. In other words, the peace we need to experience in our lives may take some work and discipline on our side, and it does not necessarily mean becoming a doormat. If we continue to wait for others to get better, finally see the light or turn over a new leaf, we may find ourselves disappointed, because some never grow up and mature.

As a nearly 50 year-old man, it took me a while, but I finally recognize my peace is mine to own and protect. No one should ever be able to penetrate my appropriated peace unless I give them permission to enter. Anything short of that should be declared as a violation of personal space.

So how do we get there? To that place where the unhappiness of close friends no longer depicts our well-being or state of mind. Of course we will and should always be sensitive to world events and concerned about what is happening in our communities and families, however when these events consistently overwhelm us and begin to take precedence over our well-being, we have surpassed the point of simply being concerned citizens or good people. We enter the world of becoming a victim to bullsh*t.

Since this is NOT the road I plan to travel on I made the choice to grow up and understand my place in the lives of others, whether they were hostile family members, antagonizing colleagues or unruly acquaintances. That growth looked liked me not being attached to there issues any longer. I learned the art of separation. Not from them as people in the world, but as people attempting to drag me into their unresolved issues, specifically the ones that I had no involvement with.

So many times we caring people want to save the world around us, (and I commend us for that) but when it comes at the cost of our mental stability and health, I think not. We must become comfortable being uncomfortable. Simply stated, get used to the fact that everyone will not be happy when you finally take a stand for what you believe is right for you.

Love them and give them advice when they seek it, but stop attaching yourself to their issues that have nothing to do with you. Stop being a victim and a puppet. Live your life without guilt. We are NOT responsible for the emotions and feelings of others. We are not to blame for the shortcomings of our dearest friends and mates. We have  this life to live and we must all grow up at some point. For those that choose to remain in perpetual adolescence, I’ll be praying for you, but from afar.

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it.  It just blooms.”  Unknown 

 

I’m not much of a gardener, but I appreciate the multiple colors that flowers can bring to a dull landscape or front yard. Regardless of the arrangement, type of flowers planted or the blend of colors, it is always a sight to see them in full bloom. I suppose it is why so many of us head to our local nurseries every spring to plant flowers that bring life, color and beauty to our otherwise simple yards.

Today I found myself thinking about the blooming of flowers and its close correlation to our lives unfolding in different seasons. As we the gardeners plant our choice of flowers in the dirt, we have expectations that we will see the manifestations of our work at some point in the near future. We will do the work of watering and making sure our flowers have the proper nutrients to grow in their environment, all so we can experience the magic of the colorful blooms of our perfected arrangement.

Like a flower, we often have untapped beauty waiting to be experienced and seen by the those that can appreciate its wonder, amazement and vitality. But what if that flower fails to bloom? We immediately recognize that something is not right and we go into the “fix it” mode, because one, we paid for a flower that is supposed to bloom, and two it falls short of the anticipated array we envisioned from the lawn and garden books we studied.

So how does all this tie in to us?  Well if I asked you if you were blooming, what would your answer be? Are you allowing the beauty that lives in you to shine through, or are you hiding it, due to shame, lack of confidence or have you become more comfortable with conveying another version of yourself that has become more your norm and quite honestly, more acceptable to family and friends? As doctor Phil says, “How is that working out for you?

As I have grown in my own journey, I have come to understand that living anything less than my authentic self compares to making a choice to deliberately wear shoes that are one size too small. I will be always uncomfortable, uneasy, irritable, lacking confidence, doubting my decisions, feeling awkward, and ultimately in some sort of pain that seems to linger on. I get it, been there and have lived the life of someone other than myself for many years, and for a diverse set of reasons, but no matter how good it seemed to look or feel on the outside, ultimately I was making the choice to die inside. A slow death that squelched every part of my self-respect and esteem.

There I was smiling on the outside, and crying on the inside. And I knew the reasons, but lacked the courage to do anything about it, until one day I faced my fears after a harsh breakup.

I learned that brokenness is not necessarily a bad thing. Although it feels terrible, it was the process of putting things back together where I learned some of those pieces were no longer relevant in my life or never belonged in the first place. Other parts I discovered were closed off and dormant with a purpose. A purpose that relegated me to silence, doubt and living comfortably in the shadows of life.

So my decision to open those dormant parts were akin to a flower blooming for the first time. My life has never been the same and I continue to press towards higher heights and deeper depths.

How about you? What are you holding back? What are you shielding? Are you letting your flower bloom? The world is awaiting its beauty and aroma.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

”You will never be able to escape your heart.  So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.” – Paul Coelho

 

Just last week I witnessed a dad telling his 4-5 year old son to not be a “cry baby” because he wanted his mother.  It was in a public place, so I am pretty sure the father was a bit embarrassed, not because he should have been, but because of the valueless stereotype placed on boys, (and fathers) whom one day become men that are taught to believe that emotions, specifically crying is a sign of weakness and should never be displayed. 

The term is, “suck it up”, and as a dad I have used it with my own son on many occasions, and have been told the same by my father many times growing up.  Initially it seems like a harmless thing, but over time young boys (like me) learned to internalize that idea, and it eventually began to shape how we think about what it meant to be a man, father and husband. 

Imagine growing up and being shamed for displaying any type of emotions.  Being called a cry baby, punk or sissy. After a while you learn to contain those emotions, just to protect yourself from being shamed any longer, despite the circumstances and the slow burning turmoil begins. 

Now I absolutely celebrate the beauty of our differences as men and women.  We each play an important role in the family and in some cases the roles are actually reversed, but nonetheless there are a unique set of attributes being disseminated to our offspring through us.   Those attributes do not primarily come from what we say, but ultimately how we live and interact with our children. 

What is important to take note of is one day we grow up.  We become men who raise our own children, men who establish relationships, get married, interact in the work place and in our respective communities.  What does this type of man give if he has been told all his life that his authentic self is weak and should be replaced by someone better, someone stronger or someone less sensitive?

He morphs into that acceptable image of a man and screams inside,  because we learn it feels better to be accepted for who we are not, than to be ridiculed for who we really are. 

Obviously this goes deeper than just being shamed for crying after experiencing a fall, cut or bruise.  It is about the impact to our psyche, ideals about who we are and possibly who we will become in the future.  If I choose to hide my best self, due to the shame I experienced for a great part of my life what have I become?  Sadly I have become a liar of the worst kind.  The one that lies to himself. 

It took me many years to truly discover who I was.  I was ashamed based on what I thought I was supposed to be true about me, but I eventually learned there was more to who I was, and those new discoveries were admirable, holistic, pure and honest.   I learned that I was okay in my own skin, no matter what anyone else had to say. 

So much of our lives is spent on jockeying for position, affirmation and status.  We our taught at those tender young impressionable ages through expression, interactions and experiences, that we really are not good enough as we are.  Therefore we spend a lifetime reinventing ourselves.  For men, we define ourselves by our possessions, how strong and viral we are and the current status we hold in the workplace and community. 

Of course the aforementioned list has it’s place and relevance in our lives, but far too often it becomes the standard we live by name strive for.  Therefore we short-circuit the creative genius and beauty that is waiting to manifest itself. 

Sadly, for so many that beauty and creative genius will die or remain dormant, trapped inside the walls of shame, disgrace and fear that someone else built for us many years prior.  Like a glass ceiling we can see the other side, we just are not sure how to actually get to the other side of it.  So we make do with what we know and are comfortable with, however something on the inside will always be shouting to us,  “YOU ARE MORE THAN YOU ARE RIGHT NOW!” 

Will you listen or simply continue living with the armor on? 

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

“Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”  – Mary Anne Radmacher 

For many years of my life I have made the conscious choice to cower down, give in, and refute my own heart for others. For me that looked like a young man agreeing with something that I did not whole-heartedly believe in, and as a grown man with responsibilities, including a wife and children, it looked pretty much the same, except it has had a much greater impact.

Not only has this decision brought me tremendous grief, it has equally brought me to a place of grave disappointment, utter confusion, along with a heavy heart. A heavy heart that spent many late nights wondering why it could not stand up for itself in times when it meant the most. For years I would repeat the cycle of living in anguish for what I initially believed was for the greater good, only to recognize I had done it again. That is, placed someone or something else before myself. And unfortunately, that greater good was rarely manifested as an actual good for yours truly. 

In some ways even the idea of considering ourselves rubs up against the selfish vs. giving strings of our personalities. I know, that was me and typically why I consistently gave into what I ultimately chalked up as just that, me simply being selfish or inconsiderate towards someone or something I should care more about. And so I would have a change of heart or talk myself into becoming congruent with ideas that others had, despite what I felt in my heart, or what I knew was right.

Have you ever been there? Men and women alike can find themselves here, although how it looks may differ. I can only speak for myself and will not attempt to explain how one should feel while in this place. I am only here to say it must become something that we consider if we consistently see ourselves on the short end of stick of life.

Perhaps another commonly used term for this is being a “people-pleaser”. Someone attempting to get along with others at any cost. The truly sad part about this is at it’s core, is we are not getting along with anyone because what we are portraying is a lie to ourselves and to them, so the actual falsehood is in stark contradiction to having peace and living in our truth. Even if our current truth changes next year, (or next month) while it remains our truth we must contend with it, or else it will slowly deteriorate the fabric of our peace of mind.

So what does it look like to live in courage versus comfort? For me it looks like several things.

1. I now take my time to give someone an answer. – In times past I would be quick to agree or disagree before really considering what the issues were. It was a pressure I solely placed on myself, but the sheer burden forced me to prematurely make a decision that was not well thought out, and certainly removed of good intentions and authentic realness. 

2. I say “no” if I mean no. – In my line of business there is a statement we use that says, “ If you can’t say no, what does your yes really mean”. Think about that. For a great part of my life, I said yes just to go along with the flow of others. It brought me angst and restlessness, but it was how I chose to live, until I begin to see the pain I was inflicting upon myself.

3. I brought into equilibrium, the “the taking it personal button”. – For years my emotions were worn on my sleeves, and I projected that frame of mind on others, so since any disagreement with me hurt my feelings, I assumed it hurt others as well. Once I begin to understand that having a diversity of thought was not necessarily a bad thing or did not have to equate to anything personal, I was able to release myself from the emotional disarray that usually accompanied my thought process, and took me down a paralyzing rabbit hole I had a difficult time finding my way out of.

4. I am thoughtful and I value my own ideas. – It took me a considerable amount of time to understand this one, but one day I realized that not only am I okay in my current state, I am great. I have always been a thoughtful person and I take pride in being a deep thinker and a deep feeler, therefore I know when I give an opinion (whether it is popular, rejected or accepted) it comes from a meaningful place and is worthy of mentioning. So today that is what I do. I share it with joy and no longer worry about where it falls, how it is received or resonates with others. It is enough all by itself, as I am.

So at the end of the day, my comfort was not comfort at all.  Nor was my so-called courage.  It was quite the contrary and only served to perpetuate my internal struggle of living in fear. Most guys will never admit this, but we too consider what others think of us and how we are perceived. We tend to dress it up differently and use widely acceptable tactics to gloss over hard facts that are undeniable.

My choice today is to live in my truth. My choice today is to live with authentic courage, even if that means I must often challenge my own way of thinking and ultimately the way I live my life.

 

Keep Pressing,
Hank G

 

“You had a purpose before anyone had an opinion” – Unknown 

 

The other day I was listening to a Podcast about finding your purpose. Like many of you, it was not my first sit-down encounter of gathering points on a topic that is readily available for the masses, yet equally difficult to really grasp and live out. Over the years I have taught on purpose, read many books on the subject, but I was pleasantly surprised on this speaker’s particular delivery and the simplicity of it.

In times past I would proclaim that many will ultimately live outside their true purpose, yet spend a lifetime seeking it out, and inevitably that would have become their purpose; simply looking for it. What a waste I felt that was, as most would I imagine. What I failed to share and understand, due to my own ignorance was the sustaining component of living out our specific callings.

You see it is one thing to fully understand why we were created, and another thing altogether to grasp the means to that end. In other words, if I fail to understand that my purpose must connect to something much larger than myself, it will ultimately die and never fulfill it’s course in my life. So it is not enough to only discover what one’s purpose is in life, but it is equally important to understand what and who that purpose will serve. Once we make that connection, our purpose begins to reproduce life in others and becomes sustainable and viable for future encounters.

Over the years it has become crystal clear that one of my purposes in life is to teach. So for years I taught in church, various topics about how to live a victorious life as a Christian. I had students that eagerly attended my classes and all was good, but quite honestly, something was missing. For years I had no idea what that was. I realize now that missing component was the lack of connection I had with most of my students. Of course a few I had great connection with and knew about their lives intimately, but somewhere along my journey it became more important to convey the content, than to understand how the message was received.

Were my students able to really connect with the words proceeding from my mouth, or were they more wowed by my illustrious words, charismatic delivery and eloquent presentation?  A question I may never truly know the answer to, and perhaps it doesn’t matter to the others, but to me it does.  It matters today and for the rest of my life, that my purposes in life bring life to others. Not just in words, images or ideas, but in tangible life-giving moments that touch the hearts of those that choose to listen. 

When you truly think about it, what else really matters at the end of the day? To me not much does. As a teacher it is essential that my students learn, grow and apply what they have been taught. Therefore, it is important for me to connect with them in ways that authentically connect with how to apply the lessons.

Many of those lessons will stem from my own life experiences, if I dare to share them. That is where the life-giving part comes into play. So I can choose to hide behind the knowledge I have and speak from a very impersonal place, or I can become a life-giver by sharing the ugly and not so happy moments that brings an array of hope, real truth, and life to my audience. Suddenly I am no longer just a teacher, but a student as well.  Open to all that I seek to give.

Never forget that living out purpose is directly tied to our choice to serve others.  When we fail to see that, we miss the most essential part to sustaining it.  It’s not not enough to know it, we must also live it and ultimately give it.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

“Before the truth can set you free you need to recognize which lie is holding you hostage.” – Unknown 

 

This morning a dear friend of mind was checking in on me to see how I was doing?  She reminded me that my second marriage happened during this time of year and was wondering if I was okay. After twenty years of friendship, you tend to know someone pretty well and share a common history in many areas of your lives.  I am forever grateful for her, because she has helped me through much travail during some of the hardest moments I have experienced.  However I can say without any anxiety, unease or ill-feelings towards my second ex-wife, I am truly good in spirit, body, mind and soul. 

I can also say that I honestly had no recollection that today (or a date near this day) was that moment I stood at the altar on such a momentous occasion.  I am not sure if one ever places a day like that completely out of their minds.  I mean I believe a part of the memory is healthy to reflect on for continued growth and positive reflections, but when it consumes you with guilt or regret, this can be an indication you are still holding on to unresolved feelings. 

So my dear friend helped me to recognize that I have indeed moved on with my life.  Six years ago I would have never thought that I could get over something so devastating.  It was extremely difficult to overcome, especially when I was the primary instigator of our demise.   Today was like a test (and I have had many) to see where my heart was.  I mean it is easy to proclaim with words where we are, even when the heart does not necessarily align with the words protruding from our mouths, but when we are put to the test in ways that only life can bring, there is no opportunity to get ready.  You are, or you are not.

Today in this moment for this particular situation, I was ready.  Thank God I was ready!  Honestly, for me it means so much more than just being ready, but it means the work that I have committed myself to, the endless counseling sessions and the many nights of crying out to God are paying off.  Not that I have arrived, but I can literally measure the progress by how I respond to unplanned interactions.

You see, it is not enough to suppress bad feelings and memories, only to see them return years or decades later unresolved with the same intensity of pain and anguish.  I promised to myself that I would not become that guy.  One full of bitter, disdain, hate and anger.  I wanted to be free and continue being the hopeless romantic that I am.  Thankfully I am, but it has come with a cost.  A cost of looking within myself and owning what was mine to own. 

This has been a slow journey filled with obstacles and countless hours of finally being true to myself about who I was, versus who I wanted to become.  You know that place in life where you can fake it with most of the world and they buy into it fairly easily, primarily because they don’t really care one way or the other?  And quite honestly neither did I?  However when the struggle becomes more about our authentic growth and becoming entirely whole, this will cause one to pause on the things that matter the most. 

And what matters the most to me is truth to myself.  I was quite good at lying to myself in times past.  I wanted to believe something about me that simply was non-existent.  It took a divorce to bring that deep embedded lie to a head, but it was not enough to remain there in a state of shock.  I had to do something if I wanted to be a better man.  No more blaming others, no more making excuses and no more looking for an easy way out.

It was finally time to pull the layers of my own issues back.  Get somewhere quiet (literally and figuratively) and learn who I was and why.  As they say, “the struggle was real”, but also one of the best things I could have ever done to invest in myself. 

So how are you investing in yourself?  Are you still being haunted by your past?  What are you doing about it?  If all you’re doing is dwelling on it and feeling bad, that is not enough to move forward.  It is time to put in some work!  No more lying to yourself and living a double-minded life.  

At the end of the day, we all fall short and make poor choices at times.  The great thing is we don’t have to necessarily be defined by them, unless we do nothing.  I am more than my divorces, my short-comings and multiple failures.  I am more than the many botched decisions I have made over the years.  Today I am a man who is growing and has taken responsibility for his actions.  I live in my truth, I live in peace and no one can alter that.  No one, but me.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

“Some people are so broken, they get mad at you for being whole” – Unknown 

 

How many things can you look back on in your life and get angry or sad?  You know, the missed opportunities and poor decisions that took  you way off the mark, or perhaps it was indecisiveness or procrastination that seemingly held you hostage from your ideal paths and goals. 

To be more specific, how about a relationship that went sour after years of your time, investment and commitment, only to see your life partner walk away.  Or perhaps you were the one to leave the relationship to try to salvage any dignity that remained in you, after realizing you had been betrayed by the one who claimed to love you with all their heart and soul.  Or like the old cliché, you grew a part  and found yourself more empty being together than you did alone. 

There is no question that we can all fill in the blanks with a laundry list of disappointments that have filled our lives over the years.  Perhaps some were avoidable, while others required a bit more maturity that you simply did not have at your disposal at the time.  So you made your choices with what you knew and understood, and whether wrong, right or indifferent those decisions currently shape the world you live in today. 

Seeing that I can relate to all the above and more, I have learned it is what we do during calamity that defines us, and how we respond cannot be mistaken and is seldom debatable.  This defining moment reaches to the fabric of our being and is a great opportunity to expose our true hearts, intentions and motivations.  Very rarely is it a feel good session for the one being exposed, even if only to one’s self. 

So what do you find ourselves doing after the dust has settled, your separate lives have went on, and the emotional distress of the moment has long faded away?  Have you become bitter, distrustful and suspicious of all those that merely represent the one(s) who hurt you, or are you learning to grow, embrace truth and live a new and better life? 

I wish it were as simple as typing these words down, but unfortunately it is much more difficult and complex than that.  And in many instances it requires support from outside sources, uncomfortable transparency and a decision to live a different kind of life.  One that allows time for introspection, reflection, meditation, submission, prayer and self-analysis.  All things that cause us to slow down, to allow us at some point to go fast, however with much more wisdom, empathy and integrity. 

It is indeed the journey of life, for those that choose to go down that path.  A journey that will not only enrich our own lives, but the lives we touch as well.  The hardships of our past can become lessons we share with others that choose to listen.  Our growth will teach us to no longer exude energy on what we cannot change, or the people who remain angry and point fingers at us.  Our focus is only on what lies before us.  Our past pains will remind us of what can potentially happen, however our new identity sees past the negative images and helps us to navigate towards what is better and full of life. 

So if you are still looking back on your life and becoming disheartened when you do, don’t you think it is time to embrace a new way?  Life is truly too short to remain mad, hurt and perpetually disappointed, however it is never too late to make a new declaration.  A declaration that opens the door to peace, hope and joy.  

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

 

 

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible” – Christopher Reeve 

 

As I go through my life encountering new obstacle’s and trials; good times and bad times, one thing I try to keep as a way of life is to grow, learn and improve, no matter the circumstances.  Whether it is discovering something new about myself, another person or embracing a new perspective on life, I try to live my life in such a way that I never become complacent or satisfied with the way things are. 

I know this sounds like a common declaration, and it is, but it is also a choice to live with a commitment on something we can control.  And that is, no matter what happens in our lives, we always have the option on how we react, respond and what the next steps look like in our lives. 

I realize for some this may sound like an impossibility because perhaps you have lived the majority of your life underneath someone else.  Not only were your best ideas and thoughts overshadowed, but they were rarely heard or even considered as an option.  So if that is you, this concept may seem foreign, strange or outlandish, but it is never too late to start your best life.

Consider the fact, that no one can make you do anything.  No one can make you so angry that you hit them, even if you want to.  No one can make you so sad that you stay in bed with the blinds drawn for three days, even if you feel like that is the best thing to do.  No one can hurt you so bad that you feel as if life is not worthy of living, even if the thought crosses your mind. 

You see, we are all human and therefore we are subject to frailty, disappointment and poor decision-making, however we are also a resilient specie that tends to find our way in the darkest hours.  We never really know what we are capable of until the options we once had are no longer options.  Until we find ourselves with our backs against the walls of life, the path of least resistance is the preferred (human) choice. 

I get it and have been there on many occasions.  If I could spare myself a little initial temporary grief, even if it meant a longer period of travail after, I took that route almost every time, but I also lived to regret it every time as well. 

Growing and getting better in less about just getting things right, and more about learning why you do, or should in the first place.  It is coming to an understanding about who you are, how you are wired and the various proclivities you have at a specific time and realizing the specific reason you make the choices you do.  And then after all that, deciding to make a better choice for yourself, consciously. 

I purposely omitted specific issues that we face, like death of a loved one, death of a relationship, loss of a job and health issues that come our way, because we are all bound to encounter one or several of them in our lifetime.  The key is what we do when we are there.  

We will discover what we are made of, what we truly believe and how we respond during a crisis.  In most cases if we actually take the time to examine our responses we will learn something new about ourselves.  Perhaps that something new is favorable, and you continue down that path of growth, or perhaps that “something” fell short of what and who you thought you were.  Instead of getting upset or angry with yourself, maybe it is your season of growth and getting better.  Nothing beats a failure like a try, so get to trying and expect a better outcome.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

“Sometimes you have to know someone really well to realize you’re really strangers.”  – Mary Tyler Moore

 

As a young adult my mentor once told me that I am a deep thinker and a deep feeler.  For a long time I had no idea what that really meant, but I finally figured it out about 10-15 years ago.  I experienced a few life struggles and have had endless conversations with myself before I truly discovered the meaning and the value of what it meant to be wired this way.  

For me it was accepting the fact that I rarely fit into a mold of what a regular guy does, what a regular guy thinks or what even a regular guy feels at times.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a man and embody the full characteristics of a regular guy, but in many cases my opinions, thoughts and ideas differ from most men.  I am neither better or less than any other guy, but I am me, Henry. 

One area this has impacted my life more than anywhere else is in my relationships, both male in bonding and female intimacy.  I have always longed to know my friends in a deep and meaningful way.  It was really like a prerequisite to being my real friend, or you simply fell into the acquaintance category, which was easy to do.

The most influential component to this type of relationship is the ability and the choice to become vulnerable to another.  Not just anyone, but to a specific person or select group of people.  It is making the choice to live outside the shadows of comfort and ambiguity, and become authentically known by someone.  Known in a way that reveals your true identity, embarrassing flaws and imperfect beauty. 

To discover and experience such a relationship is very rare and many will never find it, not because it was not available to them, but because  it is much simpler to remain in the shadows of life, than to give the pieces of us that reveal our true character, motivations and layers of who we really are.

It has been imbedded in us since we were kids. That concept to suck it up, pretend it doesn’t hurt, (when it absolutely does) smile even when you feel bad and never let them see you sweat.  It all sounds good and seems like a smart recipe to becoming a strong kid/adult.  But is it really?  Is the end product really stronger, better and more in touch with their true identity or are they being taught to become great at pretending, faking and that lying to themselves is okay? 

I am not here to answer that question for you or the world, but I can speak for myself and those I have relationships with.  At the end of the day, I just want to know you and I want you to know me.  The real me, the strong me, the afraid me, the confident and fragile me, the indecisive me, the smart me, the don’t have it all together yet me, the broken and getting back on my feet me.  Just me and my imperfect beauty and strength. Can you handle that?

Many cannot and will abandon you at first indication of true reality setting in, but that’s okay because they are not worthy of who you really are.  They will not be able to grasp it or understand how to engage in this type of relationship, so they will naturally find an exit for themselves.  Allow them to go.

I have learned that the first person we lie to is ourselves, so until we can begin to live our truth to ourselves first, we will continue to live in the shadows of mystery, illusions and ultimately darkness.  The by-product seems to always be disappointment, brokenness and a sense of being incomplete.  Who wants to keep living this way, even if it causes you to feel okay for a season? 

That season will one day come to an end and what will you have left to claim?  The lie?  I have been there, done that and understand it is no longer the life for me.  

As a deep thinker and a deep feeler, I will always ask why.  It is in my DNA.  I will always probe and never settle for the easy way out.  I will deeply feel my questions and responses, which will motivate me understand better and with more clarity.  I will not be quick to judge, but I demand truth, not half lies.  When you give me truth I give you me, when you offer me lies our relationship is no longer credible, and will eventually die.  Our lives are too short for anything less, because I just want to know you, nothing more and nothing less and it takes a lifetime to attain. 

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

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