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(Men) Do you want to be SAFE or STRONG?

 This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 at 6:07 pm

“Do you want to be safe or strong”, this is the question posed by Dr. Jordan Peterson in his book 12 Rules to Life – An Antidote to Chaos. This speak very clearly to me as for most of my life I have wrestled with wanting to feel safe, but really wanting to be strong.

Strength comes from navigating the order and chaos of life, whether internally or externally. When we are in chaos, we feel no strength at all, we’re flustered, we’re scared, we’re insecure, we’re unsure, but going through that chaos and navigating it effectively is the very road to strength. Consequently, within our thoughts/feelings of wanting to be safe can come unrest and its own set of challenges that contribute to chaos. Anxiety feels very unsafe (chaos), the ability to effectively navigate through an anxious situation creates order (strength). Struggling with the pit of darkness, feeling depressed and stuck (chaos). Putting movement/action to confront the very issues that contribute to the underlying feelings of depression create change (and the accompanying order).

This morning my six-year-old asked me to spike his hair just so that he can appear tall enough to go on the big slide at the pool. This is a funny picture, but it is a form of chaos (i.e. out of his control, I can’t make myself tall enough, I will be told no)……..vs him confronting the internal/external chaos by jumping into the pool, showing that he can swim proficiently and thus has the ability to go on the big slide (order).

We all have it, the internal chaos vs order struggle. So, the question for you is……. would you rather be SAFE or STRONG?

(ALL) Steps to Control my ANGRY Outbursts

 This entry was posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019 at 5:26 pm

I have struggled with anger for the majority of my life. This may be why I personally hate the idea of going to “anger management”. I think that life is more complicated than that and the fact that you are going to simply teach me a couple tools and that will solve everything, is just not logical……to me. That being said, as a kid I could be a tyrant. I would yell and scream at teammates on the field, I would break things at home, I would destroy items in fits of rage. All of these were my temper tantrums. Sadly, it is not just kids that have temper tantrums. As a 44-year-old, married man, father to two kids, throwing temper tantrums is not setting the best example for young minds. I wish I could tell you I have mastered my outbursts, but I remain a work in progress. So, lets start to break things down to get a better handle on how we manage ourselves when angered.

First thing we have to acknowledge is that anger is a very normal feeling. Everyone gets angry, and if they say they don’t, sorry, not buying it. Anger is not good, Anger is not bad, it’s what you do with your anger that matters. Having the ability to lean into the anger (i.e. feel it, slow it down, and ultimately get to the root) is most beneficial. Having the ability to control my anger means having more personal power by being able to be in control of my angry reactions despite the attempts of others to hassle me.

The ABC’s of Anger

Antecedent – what led to the problem?

Behavior – what did you do (your response)?

Consequence – what were the consequences of your behavior?

How Do I Get Better at Dealing with My Anger More EFFECTIVELY?

·       Triggers (what “triggered” the angry response?)

     o   External Triggers – things someone else does or things that happen that cause us to react with anger or become stressed out.

                    §  May be verbal (someone calling you a name) or nonverbal (someone pushes you)

     o   Internal Triggers – things we say to ourselves that increase our angry impulses.

·       Cues – Cues are our physical signs that tells when we are becoming angry.

·       Anger Reducers – techniques we can use to help calm ourselves down.   

     o   Examples:

                    §  Deep breathing: taken from the world of sports. Athletes commonly use it to help themselves stay focused. (JUST BREATHE BLOG)

                         ·       Inhale through your nose, hold for two seconds, exhale through your mouth

                    §  Backward counting: Calms you down while you think about how to respond effectively.

                         ·       Count backwards silently from 100 – 1 (by 3’s)

                    §  Pleasant imagery: A situation so relaxing that it actually reduces tension and anger.

·       Reminders

     o   It’s helpful to use sports analogies

     o   Ex: “Bend your knees and follow through” when making a foul shot in basketball

     o   Ex: “Watch out for his left” or “jab then hook” in boxing

·       Thinking Ahead

     o   Thinking ahead is a way of controlling anger in a conflict situation by judging the likely future consequences of current behavior.

     o   “If I do this now, THEN this will probably happen later:

     o   Short-term consequences vs Long-term consequences

     o   External Consequences vs Internal Consequences

·       Self-Evaluation

     o   Looking at the situation pragmatically, instead of emotionally.  













(Men) Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us

 This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 at 8:27 pm

I can get into a pretty dark place. A place that if only exposed to others would most likely leave them looking at me in a different way. This place is scary, unnerving, potentially violent, and very toxic. For the longest time I thought I was the only one. So many years I struggled to hide real fear, dark thoughts, and even darker ideas. I felt powerless, I felt alone, I felt hopeless. I felt broken as a person, insignificant, and a worthless example of a boy/man. It was in these darkest of places that I lingered.

Over the past week, my family and I were out of town. While we were gone, I had the privilege of watching the movie “A Star is Born”. I ended up liking the movie more than I ever thought I would. In the end, the movie is about a man and a woman. Each present themselves in certain light, but through the course of the film you begin to see how the presentation is a façade…….at least for one. Ultimately, the façade crumbles, the truth is exposed, and a harsh reality unfolds. It left me with tears in my eyes, so saddened and connected to the pain.

At 44 I recognize that I am not alone, and neither are you. By exposing the struggle, the shame gets removed and truth begins to emerge. Shame being, “there is something wrong with me.” There is nothing wrong with me, but as the kids say……” the struggle is real.”

Don’t believe me, check out what these guys had to say.

(ALL) Just Breathe!!!!!!

 This entry was posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2019 at 8:27 pm

Hey guys, I came across this article and wanted to share. I have bullet points below, but I would highly recommend reading the article at the bottom for a thorough understanding. You can print these bullets out for a quick glance.

Breathing is so pivotal in our ability to slow down, focus, and make better more pragmatic decisions………. especially in the heat of a moment. I cannot stress this enough, get proficient in your breathing exercises helps you to perform better in life……. not just athletes, but all of us.

#1 Box Breathing

·       All you need to do is picture a box with equal sides, where the inhale (breath in through your nose), the holding of the breath, and exhale are all four counts (four seconds approx.). “As you take in a breath, for four counts, visualize traveling up one side of the square. Next, imagine moving across the top of the square during the four counts of holding your breath. Then follow the breath down the right side of the box on the exhale and watch it travel across the bottom of the square on the breath hold, following the exhale.

·       Repeat the pattern.

·       Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to box breathe correctly:

     o   Start by sitting with your spine as straight as possible.

     o   Close your mouth and eyes. And exhale all of the air out of your lungs.

     o   Next, inhale slowly through your nose, counting 1-2-3-4.

     o   Now close the valve at the back of your throat and hold your breath for that same count. “When you do this, keep a slight lifting sensation as opposed to clamping down, causing pressure on your heart and lungs,” Divine suggests.

     o   Next, exhale slowly through your nose to that same count. Hold your breath again after the exhale.


#2 Tactical Breathing

·       Another effective breathing technique practiced by the SEALs is called ‘tactical breathing’. The method focuses on slowing the breathing rate down by breathing through the nostrils, counting to four for each inhale and exhale.

·       “The difference between tactical breathing and box breathing is that the latter includes a breath hold after the inhale and exhale,” Divine explains. Secondly, “box breathing is done as a daily practice to permanently alter your unconscious breathing — for better stress management, enhanced mental and emotional awareness and improved mental control, notes the fitness expert.

For optimal results, both Divine and Everatt suggest practicing this breathing exercise first thing in the morning. “I recommend a minimum of five minutes, and up to twenty. It’s key to do it daily until your nervous system is re-wired with the slow, deep diaphragmatic breathing patterns,” he says.

(All) Want to Lead a Happy Life?

 This entry was posted on Monday, May 27th, 2019 at 5:57 pm

I came across this article through a trusted friend and found it a great reminder of what I need to do in order to be happy……. more importantly to try and sustain some peace. Below are the bullet points, but the article is much richer than simple bullet points.

1)    Make little changes in your daily routine

a.     In my experience it is rarely BIG changes we have to make in our life, but rather small changes that result in the BIG gains/goals.

2)    Read more books

a.     If you are being honest with yourself, there has never been a better time to read (and this is coming from someone that has NEVER been a good


b.     We have the ability to go to the library (free books), the old school way (purchase a book), and more of a newer school way (audio books).

c.     Any way you look at it, there really are no excuses.

3)    Find your right fit or match, both personally and professionally

a.     Let’s be honest, work is not supposed to be the end all be all to our lives, but it plays a significant part.

b.     If you are miserable, or find that you are going through every monotonous day with little to no change, then try to take the small incremental step of noticing those times when you are stimulated, find that your energy level is higher, find that the music is a bit louder on the way home because of a good day……..and then lean into that. Meaning, what is it about those times that stimulates me?

4)    Be grateful

a.     We all can use more of this. It is the best time ever in history to be alive, where is your focus?

5)    Smile more—even if you don’t feel like it

a.     Fake it until you make it

6)    Relish simple, everyday moments

a.     Read #4

7)    Perform random acts of kindness

a.     Instead of pointing the fingers at what others are not doing (talking to myself here), go do it yourself.

b.     As James Dalton (Patrick Swayze) said in the classic Roadhouse, “be nice”.

8)    Spend money on experiences versus things

a.     I would also take it one step further, if you can have those experiences with others…….it makes the experience that much richer.

9)    Avoid comparisons

a.     Be the best you, not the best Tom, Susan, Larry, etc.

10) Build and maintain close relationships

a.     Surround yourself with others that make you better.

b.     Too many of us live in isolation.

c.     Meetup groups, Church, Community Groups, etc.

                      i.     Challenge yourself to get out of the isolation.

(Men) Work is easier for me than being home.

 This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 at 6:04 pm

At work, I have felt a level of success that I have rarely felt at home. I struggle at home, as a husband, as a father, heck, even as a son. In my struggles at home I have tended to point fingers, struggled with taking ownership, battled resentment, wrestled with my insecurity, and left too many times feeling depressed.

Marriage is hard, and I think that my wife would say the same thing. Marriage is hard, especially when I am feeling hurt and weak, and it is even harder when I am unable (or unwilling) to be vulnerable in my difficult time. So, if you feel like you are unable to talk openly and genuinely, well, what do we tend to do……. we isolate. So now, not only is my marriage struggling, now I am isolating in it and not resolving anything.

Having kids is hard, and I think that my wife would also say the same thing. I have not felt really successful as a father. I have felt guilty, I have felt shame, I have felt anger, resentment, and on and on and on, but successful has not been a consistent feeling. So, what do I do?

Isolation is not effective, long term.

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