This is the first in a series of blogs about empowerment and growth through self-discovery in men’s group work. Read this blog and the rest of the Why Join a Men’s Group series at www.bouldermensgroup.com. If you are feeling inspired to join a group, current and new groups are listed on the website.
One of the limitations of human experience is the ability to accurately self-perceive. Despite strong beliefs that you may completely know yourselves, I’ve never know a human being so evolved that they have transcended having blind spots. Blind spots are aspects of the self, which bypass self-perception; it literally (and metaphorically) means we can’t see parts of ourselves. For example, physically our eyes are set forward with our vision carrying us out to see a world full of other beings and things to perceive (viewing the outer world). Turning our vision toward our bodies we catch glimpses of our physical being, hands, feet, etc, but we still cannot perceive our face, it is a physical blind spot. We aren’t able to physically see all of our body in the same way other people can us, at least not without a tool like a mirror. Because we see the world from the inside out we have physical blind spots; the same is true for other aspects of the self, such as our spiritual and emotional sides.
Over our existence, human beings have had to get quite creative to see into the uncharted landscapes of the self. A common example would be reflections in lakes and mirrors in bathrooms, which are great tools to gain vision of our physical blind spots. If you put your mind to it, can you think of how we might reflect back the non-physical parts of our inner/emotional/spiritual worlds?
Reflecting the undiscovered self
Those who seek a deeper understanding of the unseen-self can find a different kind of mirror in men’s groups, which are the people that make up these communities of men’s groups. A most valuable aspect of the men that make up these communities is that they are usually willing to offer honest reflection/feedback of our blind spots. If we are keen to harvest this reflection/feedback we can gain great insight into how our actions impact the world around us; insight into how to actually change the world we live in!
Though it might seem so, the previous statement is not hyperbole; every human being is bestowed with innate power, which is the impact we all have on the world just from being alive. This is no small power. Gaining an understanding of our influence allows us to consciously choose the impact our very aliveness has on the world. It behooves us all to gain deeper awareness of our impact in order to make conscious choices, which allow us to live as expressions of our highest gifts and offerings. This won’t magically happen on its own, we need to work for it.
First we reflect on ourselves… and then, ask others what they can see in us that we cannot readily see in ourselves.
The courage to be seen
We might be unsure of our true potential and unable to see the talents that reside within us. Through men’s group work, we drum up the courage and invite others to see us (no hiding your brilliance here), and even if we don’t explicitly ask, we put our self in a position to be seen. Group members will likely notice details of our behavior, such as when our expressions light up with excitement because we just touched on the topic so dear to our hearts. If we are lucky, group members will speak with us about these previously unseen (by us) parts of the self and we will deepen our own personal understanding of who we are. A men’s group is a place where other men are likely to see the flashes of brilliance in you, which have already passed your perception many times and too quickly to self-perceive. If we have the courage to be seen, group members will practice witnessing these flashes of brilliance as they occur between members and give them voice for us to hear. It takes great courage to open up and hear these reflections other people offer us. These experiences can be gifts for us to examine and integrate as the undiscovered brilliant parts of our lives. The practice of reflection is the great awakener of our sleeping selves, and a part of men’s group work. For those who feel called, it’s time to wake up.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and feel inspired by the idea of your own self-discovery, join the community at www.bouldermensgroup.com to find out more about the benefits of participation in men’s group work. Sign up on the homepage to receive newly posted blogs and notifications of the next upcoming men’s group, so you can reserve your seat.