When I was a kid I can’t recall many days where I didn’t jump out of bed excited for the infinite number of magical possibilities that awaited me.
I loved life.
I loved my family.
I loved my God, and more importantly I loved myself.
I was free, living in the present moment, on a second by second basis, never giving in to the guilt or regrets of the past…and not worrying about the future. I was simply joyful and at peace in the moment.
How many of you can relate to this feeling as a child?
I have another question…What the fuck happened to us?
As I attempt to parent my two boys in the best way I know how, I often think there has to be something said about the lessons they are teaching me. I watch them and sometimes find myself oozing with jealousy because they are so lighthearted, free, playful, imaginative, and liberated from real responsibility. They have not yet fallen victim to the world and its’ conditioning.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:3
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Kids don’t live in their heads. They live in their hearts and are openly living in the present moment.
And Snap! Just like that…the innocence is lost.
We begin to care about appearances, people’s perception of us, our personalities, who we associate with, and what we believe. We begin to worry about academics and institutions that tell us we aren’t good enough if we don’t meet “X”, “Y”, and “Z” standards.
We are then told we need to go to college, get a job, get married and have two and a half children in order to be happy. We forget along the way to have fun, pause and enjoy daily life. So we stress about the future.
The media feeds us with an ideal that is almost impossible to obtain. Air brushed models and muscle bound men whom if you saw in real life, with zero make up on, would be impossible to recognize…yet we still starve ourselves and spend countless hours in the gym just to feel beautiful. The unimaginable hours spent on social media posting the perfect selfie with the perfect hashtag and the perfect filter. It’s all a façade to get more followers and feel appreciated for a millisecond to mask the fact that we have no “real friends” that connect us to true happiness.
Actors, entertainers and twenty one year old tech millionaires have taken over societal ideals. The market is flooded with media that chronicles all the impossible vacations they take with trophy friends and lovers. Luxuries most of us won’t see in two lifetimes. We watch CNN or Fox and watch them divide us nightly as they try and convince us that their news is the truth, making us fight, argue, and loose friendships over fucking political beliefs.
I personally fell for this bullshit for years.
We are told that if we aren’t millionaires, live in a big house, and drive a Lamborghini Diablo we are failures. It is really a mystery that the self-help industry is a billion dollar business? We are being pulled 9,000 different ways in today’s society and it’s fucking exhausting. We should start living the way we feel is right in our hearts. We have all been living a giant lie, losing that sense of wonder and excitement we once had as kids.
And I’m guilty as charged.
I have been on quite a personal development journey in the last year and a half since my divorce. Needless to say it’s been eye opening. I have gone to places deep in my mind, heart, and soul trying desperately to fall in love with myself all over again. It’s been a difficult, painful and mentally exhausting process…but a beautiful one.
It’s ironic that in the midst of our greatest pain can come some of our biggest growth. My divorce made me take a step back and revaluate who I really am as a man. For the longest time I lived in my head secretly struggling with worry, doubt, depression, anxiety, fear, guilt, and resentment from the choices I had made in my past, and the current reality I had found myself in. For years when I played baseball I was secretly miserable and I had no idea why. I numbed that pain with booze and Adderall all the while wearing my fake masculine mask.
As men you know what I’m talking about…that fake confidence we put on daily. I know for me, as an athlete, I was trained to not show any emotion, or fear on the field. To be a warrior. I bottled up any emotion, hurt, doubt, insecurity, worry and fear deep into my mind forever. I shoved it so far down for so long that it became a part of my reality, my subconscious.
How many of you have done this and don’t even realize it?
Within this last year I realized I needed to begin living more authentically and with my whole heart.
This is what I believe I have been doing with my blogs. I have begun to speak more vulnerably about my past struggles, anxiety, depression, and drug addiction.
…and guess what?
It has inspired people that may be going through the same struggles to open up and talk about their issues. It has freed them by giving them hope.
My reward for being vulnerable and honest…freedom.
How do we achieve freedom?
Below I have listed steps that opened me up to a new level of childlike joy, passion, freedom, and excitement for life.
1. Be Vulnerable: This is no doubt the most important step. Believe me men I know you cringe when you read this, but there is no negotiating here. This is an absolute must. When you are being vulnerable to people and especially the ones you love, you’ll be amazed at the junk you are able to release on a daily basis.
2. Be Authentic: In short be yourself. If you are a person who is one personality for one group of friends and a whole different one for another group then you are cheating yourself. I used to do this. I would be the meek and mild Christian guy who didn’t curse or drink in front of Christian people. Then be party douche bag drug guy with my party buddies.
3. Don’t be a hypocrite: Don’t say one thing and do another. Don’t “talk the talk” if you aren’t willing to “walk the walk.”
4. Don’t Judge: I lived much of my life in this area. The minute I would meet someone I would judge them. The way they dressed, the way they looked, acted, what they said. I judged them based on their political beliefs, and even their sexual orientation. I realized in this last couple of years we all have our fucked up issues and all have our own unique journeys.
5. Be Kind: You never know the deep dark pain someone may be going through. Who knows, maybe your kind words or actions will be exactly what they needed to completely change their perspective on life.
I write this blog passionately because I think in a world full of self-help and personal development this is the key to all our happiness and freedom. It’s time you live in your heart, and not in your head. Start being you…authentic, completely vulnerable and transparent.