Quick announcement before I get started, The eBook Kindle version of my book, Forging A Man, is now available on Amazon. The big part of that announcement is that it is still in the free promotion. So if you are listening to this episode between now and April 23rd, 2017—you can download the book for free! All I ask in return for the free book, is that you leave a review on Amazon. There is a link to download the book below
The print book will be available in about a week if everything goes right and I’ll let you know when that happens.
Well, it’s Friday. Now I’m going to take a moment to recognize the sponsor of our Friday show, StumpTown Kilts.
Last weekend my wife and I went to a local event called Norway Days over at the fairgrounds. As I’m walking around I had three or four different people come up to me and compliment me on my kilt, which was of course…a StumpTown Kilt. Even people who are wearing other brands of kilts have complimented me on my kilt.
So every time that happens I take a minute to show the people some of the features like the big hidden pocket, the adjustable sizes and the snap on pockets, and I tell them about the fact that I don’t have to iron it. Everyone who approaches me seems to want one, especially after I show them these things. One guy wouldn’t let me leave until I wrote down the information for him to get one.
I’m used to it now. That is what life is like in a StumpTown Kilt. You get noticed and envied, and so does your kilt. Now the listeners of this podcast can get their very own kilt for a substantial discount. All you do is go to stumptownkilts.com and pick out your next kilt. Then, when you are checking out you enter the purchase code: betterman, all lower case, all one word, and you will receive 10% off your online purchase.
It’s a great deal, so stop putting it off and go visit stumptownkilts.com today.
OK, so I got a letter from a listener named Raiyan a couple days ago. This is what he said:
“Hi Alf, I was wondering if you could talk about the role of love in men’s lives. I’ve personally been emotionally invested in relationships that weren’t there and I feel like this feeling is consuming my manhood and my life in general.”
I think what Raiyan is talking about here is something that has happened to most of us at least once in our lives. You fall madly in love with someone to the point that it becomes unhealthy. It becomes all you think about, you stop eating regularly. You start making stupid decisions and acting in ways that are not customary to you.
Sometimes your other real relationships start to suffer as a consequence of your single minded passion. You do all this only to find out that there is no relationship there at all. The other person does not feel the same way you do, and all of that emotional energy was just wasted.
At the end of that it’s hard to feel very good about yourself. That happened to me once and after it was all over I felt like a fool, it was embarrassing.
Here is what I think about this. If this scenario happens once or twice when you are a young guy, thats pretty normal. It happened to me when I was a teenager. I think it’s just one of the unfortunate effects our hormones can have on us, they can make us a little crazy.
However, if this situation keeps happening over and over again. If it keeps going on into your adulthood and starts to have a negative impact on your life, consuming you—that’s not normal.
Whenever we repeat a negative cycle that means we did not learn that lesson. In a healthy situation, something bad happens and we learn from that experience so that it can’t happen again. If you find yourself getting caught in the same thing over and over again the first thing you need to do is recognize that, and try to figure out what you are supposed to be learning. You have to think your way out of it with your enormous human brain power. You have to choose to end the cycle, or you will continue to be a victim of it.
There is something else going on here too though. In his letter the listener referred to this emotion as “love”. I think there is a definition problem. This situation is not about love in my opinion. It is more about desire, passion, lust, and procreation as far as I’m concerned.
These are all animal instincts left over from our distant past as a species. It’s something we share with every other species of animal on the planet, deep in our brainstem we have an impulse that tells us we need to mate. In the animal world it makes male animals almost kill themselves. They stop eating, they fight with every other male that comes around, and sometimes they even kill each other. These behaviors are not very useful as a human, in fact they are a problem.
Love is something entirely different, and I believe it separates us from animals. After the initial infatuation is over, after you stop having butterflies in your stomach every time you see someone, that is when love happens in my opinion. Because that is when love becomes a choice. We have to choose to love people. I think love is a verb, an action word, because when you make a conscious choice to love someone you also need to demonstrate that love with kindness and thoughtfulness. You need to put that other persons needs above your own and make sacrifices, and do whatever you can to communicate this choice you have made to love them.
See the difference? Our animal instincts that are often referred to as love are not really love at all. When they are in effect we have little control over it. We are not in charge because we are being ran by our instincts and hormones.
However, when real love happens, it happens because we chose that it would. We are in charge of how we demonstrate, nurture, and grow that love. It is a conscious emotion, rather than a reaction to a primal impulse.
I have heard people say many times that “You can’t help who you love”, as an excuse for people who find themselves in a bad situation or who made a bad relationship choice. I disagree with this statement entirely. Perhaps what they mean is that you can’t help who you are attracted to, I agree with that. But we can help what we do about that attraction. Just because we are attracted to someone does not mean it would be a good idea to pursue them as a relationship…there has to be more than just attraction to create an environment where true love can flourish.
Thank you Raiyan for that question. If you need more specifics just email me again at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alright guys, head out into the weekend and remember that you are a man. As a man you have control of how you react to your impulses. We have the power to decide how we want our life to be, and then make it that way. While you are doing all that, remember to be a better man today, than you were yesterday.
(added 04/18/18) The content from 193 episodes has yielded a product! Not every episode, but from the Wednesday stories I tell that have a lesson attached to them. It has been compiled into a book called, Forging A Man ~ A Collection Of True Tales, And The Lessons Wrought From Them. It will be available in both eBook and print form, the print copy will make a fine gift as well. Here is a link to my author page, if you only see one book, that means the print copy isn’t available yet, but it will be soon. Oh, and please remember to leave a review on Amazon, because that makes it more visible to potential readers. Thank you so much! (GET THE BOOK HERE)
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