Old habits die hard…even, or maybe especially when they run counter to something that you truly believe in.
Visitors to this site will know that aside from working with introverts and highly sensitive people of both sexes, I have a particular interest in working with men as I believe that personality traits that such personalities engender in people can run counter to how society expects men to behave. This can result in introverted and highly sensitive men feeling that there is something wrong with them, for them to deny and suppress how they are feeling and what their needs are, and to generally struggle to speak up for what they need for fear of being judged.
I recently started a monthly group here on Maui for men who identify as introverted and/or Highly Sensitive….but it did take a while for it to manifest. Why was that?
The reason was quite simple - my fear of being judged!
I set the group up under the auspices of the ManKind Project here on Maui, an organization which from my experience is accepting and embracing of men of all leanings. My gut was telling me that the community here on the island would benefit from such a group, but I was afraid of putting out an invitation for men to join me because I thought that other men might judge me as in some way being less than due to the simple act of admitting to be of those personality types (primarily due to their own misunderstandings of those personalities). Following on from that would be having to explain and convince the community that there is nothing wrong with such men, that they are fine, normal and have their own set of strengths that should be embraced by society at large.
All of that effort felt too much. Too large of a mountain to climb that might get me into more trouble before I reached the summit, and so much better just to bite my lip and stay quiet.
But hell no!
That is exactly what I want to change…mens’ and society’s in general understanding of introverted and highly sensitive men.
My gut was telling me to do this, and I knew that that intuition would not leave me alone. Indeed that there would be regret if I did not start to the group. And so I lent into that discomfort, that fear to start the group and deal with problems if and when they arose. Hell, who knows….perhaps some good will come of it! Ha!
So I wrote the invitation, sat with it and then pressed send…
We have now held three meetings. The forth is scheduled for the beginning of March. There have been an average of six men at each meeting with fourteen on the mailing list. It is now a regular feature on MKP Maui’s weekly mail outs of what’s on, and a community meeting got rescheduled as it coincided with our third meeting.
I still don’t know where this group will go, we are allowing it to grow in its own way, but I know that the men who attend are benefitting from it and I am benefitting for taking that risk….
What fear in you are you not leaning into?