This is the second step in the Men's Manifesto, which is intended to bring men together in a new movement.
Understanding your influences is the start of your growing awareness. As a man, your father is important to you. Whether you know him or not.
In my mentoring programme for men one the early subjects I always talk to my clients about is the influence their father had on them. I know the influence my father had on me, I have written about it a number of times, recently in ‘My Father was An Angry Man‘.
There is almost always a troubled relationship with their father at the base of the issues the client is dealing with.
John (named changed) had a controlling father who called his sone ‘a wuss’! John has no sense of his masculinity and no idea what his passion is.
David (name changed) didn’t know his father and didn’t get on with his stepfather. He was bullied by his parents. He is restless and often angry. He has no sense of a masculinity that can stand the test of femininity. He lost and unhappy.
They cannot get past these broken relationships to their core masculinity.
In the ‘Manifesto‘ I said about understanding your influences,
Be conscious of your conditioning. You are not what you were when you were born, you need to understand how you have changed and been changed. Once you know what brought you to where you are you are able to move forward.
There are three keys to understanding your influences:
Whether you knew your father or not his influence lives on in your life. You possibly aspired to be him and determined never to be like him. This tension can continue through the years, shaping the kind of man yo have become.
You will find that your attitude to him is mixed up with emotion, memory and even sexuality. What ever your view you should know what it is.
A boy child tends to copy male figures because he perceives them as similar to him and as powerful. This copying is reinforced by the behaviour of his parents towards him. Parents often encourage their son to imitate his father and discourage him from imitating his mother.
But what did you copy and how did you copy him?
The way your parents influenced you can create many different personalities inside you. I have been many different personalities to different people. One of the journeys in my life was the journey of integrating and pulling those parts together
That was a journey full of fear for me, until I understood that what I was hiding away from was the light in my life, not the fear. I was hiding away from the power and the passion that was in me, the power and the passion that I now love and embrace.
You are in charge of your mind and you control everything you do.You make choices for yourself and you should understand what your major attitudes to life are. You have built these attitudes from how you learned to be in the world. These have come from parent, from friends, from colleagues and many other people you have interacted with.
One core attitude is do you move towards a vision of your life or are you moving away from where you have been? It is about whether you focus on pleasure or pain. These are two core emotions within the depths of our being that drive so much of what we do.