In working with hundreds of men whose lives have essentially “blown up”, for various and sundry reasons, I often hear them say: “Guess I’ll try plan B…” These otherwise smart and intelligent men, who are capable of great achievements, find themselves empty on the inside and feel as if they are simply suiting up and showing up – presenting a false bravado to the outside world, while on the inside they feel purposeless and as if life has lost its meaning. What happened?
The Myth About Male Success – Plan A
The great myth about male success is that if a man becomes a husband and a father and provides for his family way beyond the essentials of life, i.e. all the toys and eye candy, then that man is a success in the eyes of society. Doesn’t matter what he does to earn money or how he does it or why he does it, it only matters that others see how much he has. This great myth fuels men’s ambition until the fuel runs out and they metaphorically crash and burn into a rubble of what I call the “spiritual coma.” The lie of the great myth manifests in many ways: A business failure, A job loss, A marriage on the rocks, An addiction that’s gotten out of control, A medical crisis, A general feeling that everything in his life has gone wrong. Yes Houston, we have a problem – Plan A did not work. But wait! There’s Plan B! Failure at Plan A creates intense feelings of shame in men. It makes no difference whether its failure at work, at home or otherwise, when a man does not measure up, he feels shame. Unfortunately the shame is internalized so no one can see it and in order to survive the feelings of self-hatred men vow to fix things to regain their sense of being okay with the world. So in his wounded state, he summons all his brainpower and concocts Plan B. It sounds so brilliant! Foolproof! Why didn’t I think of this before? our wounded warrior thinks to himself. And off he goes, blindly following his great illusion of Plan B. This time, he swears, things will be different! And usually things are different with Plan B; however, without the intended difference. Failing yet again our man feels worse when his ingenious Plan B unravels into a pile of muck than he did when Plan A fell apart. When that happens he may try a Plan C, or, he may finally ask for help.
Where to Turn and Who to Ask
Once he’s decided to ask for help, the next question is “Where do I turn for help?” There are many options available and what is the best one depends quite literally on what symptoms the individual is experiencing. Is it: A medical emergency? Emotional angst? Drug or alcohol abuse? A legal matter? While it’s often impossible to know the real problem, acknowledging how one feels, which is symptomatic of the real problem, will help determine the next step. Unless it’s a medical emergency, in which case most people will call 9-1-1 or simply go to an Emergency Room, the Internet is where one typically finds help; however, not all the information is accurate and reliable. One has to sort out the help from the hype. The good news is that there are several resources to go for emotional and psychological as well as spiritual help. I present only a few below as credible resources.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
http://www.psychologytoday.com This site has a directory of psychiatrist, psychologists, therapists and facilities that can help with emotional and behavioral matters. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter The American Psychological Association has a help center for a myriad of problems/conditions. http://www.samhsa.gov SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) is a government agency with resources for addiction and emotional distress. http://www.mentalhealth.gov Another government resource website for substance abuse and mental health issues.
http://www.silvalifesystem.com This site contains practical solutions to finding one’s truth through the hidden potential of the mind. http://www.unity.org A resource for those who feel led by their heart to find spirituality. http://www.scienceofmind.com A resource for those who prefer a more cognitive approach to spirituality.
There’s an old saying that a broken brain cannot fix a broken brain. In other words, it’s a good idea to get help when your life is falling apart. There’s no shame in feeling like you’ve failed. It’s not really failure at all – it’s simply a matter of time before one’s Plan A and Plan B produce misery. But there is hope! That which created us is the source of all knowledge and power and it has a plan that results in a life of meaning, purpose and abundance in all things. Finding and reconnecting to that creative source often requires outside help. There’s great honor in seeking and discovering one’s truth. Forget Plan B in order to discover your true potential and enjoy your life.