Kindling #3: Men, vulnerability and the lost art of conversation.


I was in Sweden last week hosting a leadership development program with my friend Abby.

It’s a program focused on self-leadership, on the premise that you cannot know others more than you know yourself so in order to lead from the inside out you first have to have to understand who you are and as we go through this program I share a lot – I basically open my rib cage and pour from my heart.

The participants it’s an equal mix of men and women and the average age is probably 30, from 25 up to 40ish.

So now the interesting thing is after and in between the sessions a lot of the guys came up to me and said that they’d never seen a man being so vulnerable as I was in those sessions.

It’s sad but not surprising because men have this idea that men don’t talk, you talk about the soccer game and business and if you really push your comfort zone you might do one of those bro hugs you know, with the cheeks far apart and careful tap on the shoulder.

They said it was such a relief to see that they’re not alone with their feelings, it was such a relief for them to see that a strong successful man can be vulnerable and has the courage to share, it was such relief for them to see that it’s okay to talk about things that they never talked about with their parents or their best friends.

I think it’s so important in order to become whole as a person to start sharing who you are and why you behave the way you do, because in that way you can embrace both your lighter sides the shadow sides and that’s the route to healing.

I started my journey to towards healing maybe ten years ago and one little trick that has helped me to have different type of conversations I’d like to share with you is to be mindful of your language.

Because I find that if you say things like I am happy, I am sad, I am angry then you identify with the feeling.

If you say I am… that feeling becomes a part of identity but if you change your wording to say I feel sad, I feel angry, I feel happy then it’s not your identity, it’s something that passes just like the clouds in the sky, some days it’s sunny and shiny and some days it’s rainy, some days is windy and you can’t change that flow, as with your feelings.

Feelings comes and goes, so instead of identifying with the feeling of saying I am sad, say I’m feeling sad and what I found is that it opens up for a different perspective.

It allows you to investigate why do I feel sad, where does this feeling come from? Is there an event that triggered my sadness?

This allows you to have a different type of conversation with yourself and with others.

So to all the men out there don’t be afraid, my experience is hundred-percent, that if you open up and give a little bit of your heart you’re gonna get tenfold back.

Let me know what you think about this, what’s holding you back now?

What is your approach to dealing with feelings?

Do you bottle it up or do you have the courage to speak out?

Looking forward to talk to you soon again.

Kindlings are my way of keeping myself accountable for breathing the fire that’s in my soul and I hope to inspire others to do the same in the process.

The word kindling means a small and dry, easily flammable material to help a fire get going. Once the kindling is burning, it can ignite the larger pieces of wood in your fire.

That’s is what aspire to do – Help you start your fire so you experience the warmth of your soul and feel inspired to keep feeding the fire that’s in your soul. 

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