Building a Better Bloke

Group action

Posted in Confidence, Depression, Male bonding by Sam de Brito on October 22, 2009

By Leon N

What’s this stuff about men’s groups?

Some of you might learned about them via the excellent film released last year, whilst others may suspect they are an urban myth, or just some gay or feminist fantasy.

The fact is that men’s groups exist all over the country, and if you’re lucky there’s probably one near you.

Social psychologists in Australia have studied the evolution of men’s groups over the past 20 years and recognise them as powerful mediums for enlightenment and personal growth …

Many of us may have a poker night, or a ‘boy’s night’ down at the pub; so how is a men’s group different?

Every man has issues and most times we don’t need counselling or a ‘fix’. Whether formal or informal, many men would appreciate a supportive forum without alcohol or sport where they can air their issues non-judgmentally, and without competition. In a men’s group, men can explore their issues together.

Seeking enduring, beneficial, real-life change takes hard work and commitment, and can be a terrifying prospect.

However, it’s only scary because we men don’t realise just how much we have in common with other blokes. The reason we don’t realise this, is because as men, we generally won’t discuss it with other men.

So we keep our secrets, tell ourselves more lies about what’s wrong with us – or with them – and become increasingly more isolated.

That’s how most men have been taught and socialised to behave. But that’s not the way it has to be.

In Redfern, NSW, a couple of guys have been running Gamarada Men’s Healing Group for a couple of years now.

“Gamarada is about brothers joining together to create a positive space where growth and healing is encouraged,” says the group’s brochure.

“Shifting the focus to higher values such as community service, love, compassion, non-violence supported by increasing awareness, mindfulness, promoting inner strength, discipline, willpower and self control.

“The (free, completely voluntary) program is for men who have an open mind and a willingness to grow and change positively,” says the Gamarada literature.

So join or start a group and get to work.

Sometimes it’s good to begin with an existing circle (of strangers) so you can go in without any of your previous baggage, and you can easily cast aside the (often false) persona you’ve built up in your current circles over the years.

Most men have been building the walls, tightening the masks and believing their own lies for a very long time.

It can be hard to be unafraid, to let go and expose yourself warts and all.

Even if you do have a good circle of mates, elevating your meetings to ‘group’ status may be a way to take your relationships to another level.

If any of your mates have been suffering this may well be the catalyst for getting started. Working together, you can clearly define your goals, create the vision of the man (men) you want to be, and start being that man in all areas of your life.

Through strong and trusting relationships men can teach one another, support one another’s changes, make commitments, and importantly, hold each other accountable.

Making promises and keeping them – even the little ones – is what being a real man is all about.

Leon N is engaged in the pursuit of happiness and will not go gentle into that good night.

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