You make a mistake. You immediately feel the pangs of guilt, shame, and condemnation, which come from years of programming to tell you that mistakes are the end-all be-all of your masculinity and manhood. Immediately you dive into a downward spiraling cycle of shame and despair. Why do I do this? You proclaim to yourself with criticism. You always do this. You’ll always do this. Why can’t you change? Rather than approach yourself from a place of understanding, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, and loving-kindness, you approach yourself with cold, negative, criticizing energy. You likely won’t learn from this scenario. Instead, you’ll be paralyzed in an endless cycle of self-reprimand. Rather than grow forward into the future, you’ll stay stuck in the past, trying desperately not to repeat this mistake in this same way again.
You make a mistake. You immediately feel the pangs of guilt, shame, and condemnation which come from years of programming to tell you that mistakes are the end-all be-all of your masculinity and manhood. You take a deep breath. You recognize that you’re having a programmed response to the perceived threat of perceived failure. You take another deep breath. This mistake is not the end of the world. Even if it is a dire and drastic mistake, it is not the absolute, actual end of the world. Why do I do this? You ask yourself after a few deep breaths. You aren’t coming from criticism, shame, guilt, or punishment. Instead, you’re coming from a place of curiosity. What happened? What caused you to go against your better judgment, to not use your tools, to maybe even seek self-sabotage in this case? Rather than approach yourself with cold criticism, you approach yourself with curious compassion. Silly human, you tell yourself, here you are again. How did you get here? Instead of condemn yourself, you invite yourself into a conversation which pursues greater knowledge, wisdom, and truth. As a result, you’ll grow forward into the future with freedom rather than be stuck in the past.
The difference between the two scenarios is obvious once it is put plainly. In everyday life, the opportunity to change this scenario is missed because the difference of perspective is not understood. What most men understand is that they deserve to be punished and criticized and don’t deserve compassion, empathy, or the kind of curious seeking which can bring about true growth. All it takes is a shift in perspective to realize you are deserving of your own forgiveness and gentleness as is anyone else. From a place of authentic love and compassion, unimaginable transformation can take place.
At Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, we’re helping men find freedom from addiction by creating sustainable change for a sustainable recovery. For information on our men’s treatment programs, call us today: (503) 850-2474