Giving ourselves permission to struggle

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This post is specifically directed to those of us with significant others whether partner, child or friend. As men, we play many roles-leader, father, husband, lover. More than that, we are warrior, poet, and sage.

We will struggle. Realize that this is ok and it can be a good thing. Our children, our partners, our friends will see us wrestling with truths and life. They will watch close to see how we handle the adversity which life throws our way. And in those moments, we can offer the greatest lessons. Teaching them to embrace the struggle yes. More than that, these are opportunities to give them, and ourselves, permission to embrace our humanity.

It is important for a man to stand strong against life remaining stoic and steadfast. Equally important is allowing the struggle, the tears, the anguish to show through and more so to involve and be involved in the wiping of the tears. To stand tall in the setting of the sun as much as in the rising of the sun.

Growing up I was constantly admonished to stand up straight and hold close to my feelings. I have done well holding close to this reproach. And yet, after years of standing firm to this rebuke, I find myself slowly breaking down. I stood with my wife in my arms in the middle of a parking lot as tears flowed down my face.

The last several weeks have brought me to the very edge of despair and back again. While I am grateful for the latter, coming back; and being privy to the miraculous, these events shattered the allusion of simply moving past all things. I am brought to realize that my life is colored deep by every moment I’ve toiled to shut down and out.

In the deepness of the moment, I realized that there’s a certain release that comes with knowledge that belief still exists inside of me and isn’t gripped by the hand of death. That sweet release however holds the life span of a gnat, left to hemorrhage anguish, followed by a mad dash to loose the chains that hold bound the past.

I pursue this debilitating desire to understand the passion inside, holding fast to hope that with time I’ll comprehend that it is love that I need. And yet, I fight hard against seeing it through to the rescue. Noting only the accustomed austere view.

I know well enough these self-help, self-deprecating pits of hell. There is a real, hard desire to just let go. I know that letting go is not an option here and now. But soon I will let my grip go, and I will do, what I can to let love take control. And as a man, a husband and father confusion colors the moment. The caused confusion of who I am and who they need me to be.

I suppose, the summary is this: We are men, and we must permit ourselves to be whole.

We are called to be strong; thus, we find strength in the weakness not hiding nor hiding from the weakness.

We are called to lead; a leader cannot guide through that which he has not walked himself.

We are called to fight and protect; thus, we must enter the battle in a very real way.

We are called to be lovers; thus, we must permit our love to show.

When we are brave enough to show the truth of our deepest selves, we walk with integrity. Anything less is a lie and should not be permitted. And so, I offer permission to be your authentic self, in the good times as much as in the struggle.

Originally published at

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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