Session 2 — Understand Your Influences
You will discover the influences that have affected your core masculinity. Your parents will have exerted the most immediate and basic influence on you. You will learn how it has helped create many different personalities in you.
As a man, your father is important to you. You possibly aspired to be him and determined never to be like him. 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 behavior of his parents towards him.
You love your mother but you also need your mother. Men can confuse comfort with love, they feel this deep need, an emptiness to be filled. They look for their mothers to fill it and as they grow up, subconsciously, they can't admit this to themselves, so they look for women who are like their mothers, who will fill this need.
Conflicting requirements, particularly from parents, create conflicting needs inside you. Conflicting directions, conflicting ideas of what you should be. These can build into conflicting and different personalities within you. There are many different people within you, there are many different personalities. It's likely that you needed to be different people for your father and your mother. Your parents are individuals with their own demands and pressures. As children you would respond to these in different ways.
You are in charge of your mind and you control everything you do. You make choices for yourself and you should understand where you stand on three major attitudes to life.
- The first is the concept of towards or away from.
- The second is looking forwards or backwards.
- The third is apportioning blame or taking responsibility.
Are you moving towards a vision or are you moving away from where you've been? Understanding the essential difference in motivation is key to creating the life you desire. Are you moving towards a vision or are you moving away from something unpleasant or something you don't like? It's about whether you focus on pleasure or pain. These are the two core emotions within the depths of your being that drive so much of what you do. Do you seek pleasure or do you seek to avoid pain?
Many people get stuck in the past; constantly reliving what happened to them. Others are constantly looking forwards planning what they are going to do. Neither really seem to focus on now, the present moment; this is the most important time. Changing this could have a powerful effect on your relationship.
The desire to blame is imbedded within our society. It seems that it's always someone else's fault. It starts on a wide front with blaming the government and the people we think control us, the military, the corporations, those who hold the money. This comes out in extreme form through the many conspiracy theories around. It finishes in your relationships when you fight your partner, when you blame each other for everything that's wrong.
Your Influences - Worksheet
Set aside time to think through your answers to the questions. They are intended to get you thinking about your influences. Write your answers either in this worksheet or start a journal. Also write your emotional or other reactions.
- Who was your father for you? Was he a hero or a villain? How did he influence you? Who did you have to be for your father? What did you suppress to gain your father's love?
- Who was your mother for you? Was she a comforter or a woman? Did she have a personality, as you saw it, outside of her role as a mother? Who did you have to be for your mother? What did she expect of you? Did you fulfill that or shy away from it?
- Think about what you focus on in life. Are you constantly looking at and talking about what has happened, or are you looking to what is going to happen? How much do you focus on the present, this moment. How aware are you of what is going on around you?
- What are you holding on to that you blame someone else for? What do you think is happening in your life that is someone else's fault? How much do you blame other people for your difficulties? How much do you take responsibility for yourself and your life?
Your Influences - Exercise
Having learned to love yourself you will now look at accepting yourself. To do this you need to know who you are and integrate all the different parts of yourself.
You begin by understanding your different personalities. Write down what comes out of this exercise in your journal.
The key to your personalities will come from the worksheet where you look at how you reacted to the influence of your father and your mother. It is likely that you were a different person for each of them, depending on what they were looking for in you. From there look at your life and how you show up in different ways in different situations.
Look at the different roles you play in your life; son, father, brother, husband, employee, employer, leader, sportsman, academic, worker etc. Look at the personalities you employ in these different roles. Look at how you are a different man in each situation.
When you bring together the different personalities from when you grew up with the different personalities you are now, you will build up a profile of who you are, a matrix of what makes you a man. Look at the relative importance of these roles to you and others in your life, look at which roles you play most of the time.
I want you to list the personalities and give them names. Get to know them and get comfortable with them.
Start to understand that these personalities are different people inside you. Go somewhere on your own and talk to the personalities. Talk out loud, have a discussion about who they are, where they came from and why they are here.
Talk to each personality in turn and make sure you fully understand where they came from, what their role is and what their intentions for you are. Resolve any differences between them and you and clear up any conflict. If they don't serve you any more, let them go with your gratitude.
It may be that they need to talk to each other and resolve differences. It is frequently the case that the roles have differing outcomes that cause conflict within you. These need to be worked out and you should work to align the roles so they all have your best interests at heart.
Get yourself to a point where you feel comfortable with all the parts of yourself. You should know them and understand them. Keep going through this process until you feel that they have all become an integrated whole.
This may need to be an exercise that you come back to in the future, it is rarely possible to resolve all these issues in one session. Start by getting comfortable with the process and learn to enjoy getting to know yourself.