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Overcoming Male Shame: Stories And Wisdom On How Men Can Finally Eliminate Their Shame

by Matthew Bivens
December 7th 2021
What shame are you hiding? Fellas, this episode is for you. As a man, I've carried with me different types of shame through my life that have had a big impact on how I see the world and operate in it.... More
I knew with all my heart that anyone who heard my story would judge me viciously, I knew that because how could they not? I was judging myself viciously for everything that I had done and felt and so of course they would too. Yeah, welcome to the having it all podcast, the show about what it takes to live. An abundant loving life. My name is Matthew Bivens and each week I'm helping you get out of your head so that you can truly have it all. Let's do it Yeah, What's going on? My awesome friend, Welcome back to the podcast. I'm Matthew Bivens, your balanced lifestyle coach and this podcast is the place to learn how to have it all and live your abundant loving life. If you are sick and tired of feeling stuck and you're looking for a path towards more clarity, more confidence and more purpose that my friend, you are in the right place. I drop new episodes of the show the first Tuesday of every month. And if you're new to the podcast, then I encourage you to go check out the back catalog.

I've been recording this thing since 2016. I've covered tons and tons of topics and I've bound to have covered something that can help you with what you're struggling with right now. So go check out the catalog and if you can please hit subscribe on whatever app you're listening to this podcast on right now, hit that subscribe button, that would be awesome. That really does help the show get discovered by more people and if you want to reach out to me, you can shoot me an email. My email is Matthew Matthew begins dot com, you can reach out with feedback on the episode, suggestions for future episodes or if you just want to say what's up? I love that as well. All right, I'm gonna jump right into today's topic because this is one I have been chomping at the bit to record and share with you all. Today's episode is all about shame and this is an episode that you may not want to listen to with some young ears around because I'm gonna do a lot of personal sharing on this episode and I know that I'm going to be free and loose with my language and there's also a couple of adult moments in the clips that I'm going to share with you today.

So just a heads up, may want to have the ah the kiddos listen to a different one. So we're talking about shame and specifically men's shame in today's topic. And if you're a woman I want you to listen in as well because you play a big part in helping men to face and deal with and heal their shame. So there's something in this conversation for every single person but I am focusing specifically on the shame that men feel because it's something we don't talk about enough. You know, we do not talk about this topic. It is one of these taboo topics and men. The only way for us to feel better and and and be truly joyful and fully expressed and free in life, is to talk about these things that we've been keeping in. So that's why I'm focusing on men's shame today. And the inspiration for this topic came when I was experiencing and working through some of my own shame. So to start off, I'm gonna give a quick background on me for you new listeners out there and refresher for those folks who've been around for a while.

My wife and I, my wife sarah her and I have been married for seven, absolutely amazing years and we've come a very long way in our relationship and really in the time that we've known each other, um we have come together during this period of time or both of us have dedicated ourselves to some very deep intimate work on ourselves. Um and part of that reason is because we want to have the most amazing, thriving relationship that we can and our relationship right now, seven years in it has reached just an incredible height of intimacy and vulnerability and connection. And quite frankly, I didn't think that this type of relationship was possible. You know, I never saw examples of this in my life. Um, but it is possible. I'm experiencing it right now and our relationship just keeps growing and expanding and for the last five years my wife and I have each had sexually intimate relationships with other people. We each have other partners. My wife has several partners and I have several partners and this love style.

We call it a love style. Um it has been a major source for my healing and for my growth for a number of reasons. one of those is because having multiple partners myself and supporting Sarah and having multiple partners has put me in situations to face my absolute biggest fears, fears about myself, fears about masculinity, feels about relationship, fears about love. And we don't call our love style polyamory or anything like that. We refer to it as abundant love. And truly the purpose of abundant love for us is for healing is for manifesting and for creating and experiencing sustained joy has a purpose of abundant love that's the purpose of sex and moving sexual energy for us. And so both Sarah and I, we have standards who our partners are. We don't just go around hooking up with random people. Um nothing wrong with that, but that's just not for us. And there's full transparency and full communication between Sarah myself whenever either of us are engaging with other people.

And you know, I know Sarah's partner is very, very well. I hang out with them individually, you know, on our own time and she knows my partner is very well and she's very close with them. So this is a very unique love style. Um and and we have found that it is so empowering, is it just an empowering way to approach love and intimacy and we've gone into details on our love style and abundant love in some past episodes and so what I've done is I've included links to those past episodes in the show notes. So if you're really curious, you're like, yo I whatever what Matthew just shared is blowing my mind and I want to hear more, then just go to the description, you can find links to those episodes and I definitely encourage you to to, to dig in and and listen and just see, you know, have an open mind and see what comes up for you. So, the reason why all that is important is because it was when I was with one of my partners that I felt this shame come up and identify this shame as being rooted in sexual performance insecurity and so that inspired me to do this episode and my partner and I, we were doing a practice called orgasmic meditation or ohm om for short and again, I've talked about it on the podcast a number of different times because it's been a practice that has really changed my life in some beautiful ways and I'll describe what orgasmic meditation is.

I'm gonna pull this next sentence straight from the website, if you go to the Institute of OEM again, link in the description, then you get this description of orgasmic meditation and it says home is a unique wellness practice that combines mindfulness with the power of deeply human, deeply felt experience of orgasm. So during the practice, One person strokes the other person's clitoris for 15 minutes with no goal other than to feel the sensation a lot of times when we're engaging in anything sexual, the goal is orgasm right? Whether it's hand job or oral or, or lovemaking, like for a lot of people, a lot of the times the goal is orgasm, but that's not the case with orgasmic meditation, even though the, the word orgasm is in the name, I get that, but there is a difference between feeling orgasmic and having an orgasm. And during home you're really working on connecting, connecting with yourself, connecting with your partner and being in that state of orgasm, whether or not you actually come is beyond um is not the point.

It's really about being in that space. Um and there's a male version as well, it's obviously not stroking the clitoris, but on the head of the penis. And that's what my partner and I were engaged in. So after we set our intentions for the session um and we got into position and got music playing all that great stuff. You know, my job at that point is simply to relax is to be right, I'm not doing anything. So I'm working on relaxing, I'm working on focusing my mind on the different sensations that are coming up in my body and what started to happen where I started to have these old, very familiar thoughts of sexual performance and security and they started to come up and the word shame like that five letter word actually came into my mind, which I thought was really fascinating at the time. And the thoughts that I started to swirl in my mind as I we were in this orgasmic meditation. The thoughts were, you know, you're not good enough, you're not able to last long before coming.

If you were a powerful man, you'd be able to control your direction and control your ejaculation and you know, think thoughts like I can't believe after all this time and all this work that you can't control yourself, right? It was all that stuff was swirling in my head, just very judgmental, very critical um of, of me of who I am and for me, I talked a lot about sex and sexual healing in particular on this podcast because that's a big part of my healing and growth journey over the years and starting at about 10 years old, Going on until I was around 25, I consistently paired arousal and sex with feelings of guilt and shame. Right? So from a young age for about 15 years and still, I really started to peel back some layers and look at it any, a lot of the times that I was feel aroused or or be engaged in sex. I was also pairing it with these feelings of shame and guilt and judgment and all that stuff.

And actually looked at a feelings wheel, don't know if you know what that is. Go to google and type in feelings wheel. Um it's this, it's a circular wheel with all these little looks like slices of pie for all these different feelings that a person a human can experience. So I looked at a feelings wheel and I wanted to see for myself what are all the different feelings that I've connected with sex. And it was really interesting to see. And so the feelings of mind that come up or have come up in the past that were connected to sex. The feelings were nervousness, guilt, inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, displeasure and shame. And so when I would have sexual urges or sexual experiences, many of those came with those feelings. and so experience after experience. Year after year, from again, like 10 to mid twenties, I was consciously or subconsciously attaching sex with those disempowering feelings.

So back to the home, back to the orgasm meditation, you know, here I am again, working on relaxing, working on being centered and working on being present, and I'm having all those feelings come up and shame is just looming. They're strong in my mind just hanging out and it's in that moment and these moments that the healing occurs because in that moment when I'm working on relaxing and those thoughts that come up coming up, I am presented with a chance to choose to not pair this particular home, this sexually intimate experience with those feelings of shame. And instead I can choose to attach them to something more powerful. Or just choose to observe those feelings and thoughts and not attach anything to it. Just let it go, let it go. Let them float by. And so, if you ever meditated, then the idea of letting your thoughts float by sounds kind of sounds normal.

If you haven't meditated in the past and that might sound just strange as hell to you. But is this idea that when you have a thought, you don't have to keep thinking it all right? You can choose to let go of that thought and think a different one. It's up to you. And so as my shame thoughts were coming to me, I remembered I reminded myself, you know, you have the ability to choose a different thought. And so that's what I did. Instead of getting enrolled in the I am not enough conversation, I chose to actually affirm myself to remind myself that I am in control of my thoughts. And thus, I'm also in control of my feelings and what I was doing in that home, as I was choosing to think of things that were more loving and empowering. What I was doing is I was breaking those attachments of pairing sex with disempowering feelings. And instead I was connecting sex with something more positive as something more powerful. And so in the moment, in that home I'm doing this in my mind, I'm feeling a fearful thought come up and I'm saying, nope, I'm gonna pick something else.

So I'm going to affirm myself, I'm gonna remind myself of my power, right? And as I was doing that, I started to no longer feel scared or nervous about coming. I started to no longer feel scared or nervous about whether or not I was going to hold an erection. It didn't matter. It didn't matter because that was the old paradigm me gets focused on those things. But in that moment I was choosing something different and I surrender to all of it and I welcomed all of it. And so when I did that, when I let go, my mind calm down and my body calm down and the discomfort and the anxiety that I was feeling, it literally melted away. It was literally like a switch was flipped and I became so present and that experience with my partner And the rest of that 15 minutes. Oh mom just went by beautifully. And so after the experience what we do, whether I'm with Sarah, somebody else. We talked about the experience we share about what came up for us.

And so that's what I did. I shared with my partner, I was like, wow, you know, I started feeling shame. I started feeling shame and I was talking to myself about my erection and I was scared to orgasm and I just shared with her and then later on that week I shared with Sarah as well, it's like, wow, Sarah, you know, this came up for me the other day when I was in doing an OEM and you know, I just shared all the details and now I'm sharing it with you. So all of that, like all that stuff really got me thinking, and I was thinking like, you know, I've been Dealing with an experiencing shame and its variations for a long time now. It's been like 10 years that I've been actively working on this stuff and, you know, I've been doing some deep work to address it, working on spotting it, working on, talking about it, analyzing it and ultimately healing it. And I'm still seeing these crumbs of shame come up from time to time, right? They still come up and they happen to come up in this orgasmic meditation with my partner and when those crumbs of shame are there, like it impacts me, it impacts my life.

I don't, I don't like the feeling. It's like it's something that I don't want to happen, but it does happen. And so it really got me thinking like, what are other men dealing with, what are other men dealing with in terms of shame, who, I don't know what it is, haven't identified it as shame or maybe they know it's shame, but they push it so deep down and they have no idea how to address it. And so when, when, when this episode was forming and coming together, I really thought I was going to be focused on sex and while I will be talking about sexual shame, because again, that's a lot where a lot of it is rooted for me, shame comes up in all different areas of life, right from sex to relationships. We feel shame about our careers, we feel shame about everyday life. We feel shame about being a father or not being a great father or not being a great husband, right? And it's because so much of of what we men feel shamed about lot of it is tied to these masculine archetypes that we've bought into and felt like we had to live up to these certain standards.

We have to live up to that a lot of times don't align with the standards that we truly want to hold for ourselves. So today I'm going to be sharing with you some very, very courageous men who are talking about their shame, they're talking about it, they're struggling with it, They're wrestling with it, but ultimately they are facing it and through facing their shame, not only are they healing themselves, but they're giving other men the permission to heal as well. So I want to kick things off by sharing an article, a blog article and it's called shame. The core issue for many men and the author of this article isn't. It is a guy named charlie Donaldson and this comes to us from the men's resource center. And so what I appreciate about this article was how it illustrates that shame can come in big life moments, but also in very small moments. And the author charlie does a really great job of describing the impact of living with shame and not addressing it.

Here is the first excerpt from the article I'm going to read to you one day. A long time ago I went to Sam's Club to get groceries and a few other things on my way in, I passed the tire center and thought to myself, jeez, I need some new tires. There were these two big burly guys behind the counter. I stood there for a while until finally one of them turned his attention to me. I said, I think I need some new tires, he said, so what size is your car? Take my mind went blank. I didn't have the slightest idea what size fit my car. I said, I don't know. The guys looked at each other and roll their eyes. Then the larger of the two said, so do you know what kind of car you have? I died a little bit that day. My conclusion clearly a real man knows the tire size of his car and I must not be mad enough. So fellas who doesn't have some sort of story that's similar to this, you know, I can recall a number of small everyday situations where I walked away from it, feeling that sense of shame, feeling like I didn't know something or I wasn't experiencing something and just didn't wasn't manly and I was supposed to be, but I wasn't manly enough.

And these micro shames like they add to our bigger shame story and that's why I appreciate this this section of the article from charlie. It's like it doesn't have to be these huge life changing moments. It can be these tiny little moments that we internalize and we carry with us that add to our overall shame story. And it can happen when others don't even mean to make you feel less than, you know, if you're like me back in the day, I was really sensitive to these things and you can make meaning out of pretty much anything. Like you can use any situation, anything that occurs, you can create some meaning out of it and use that to fuel your shame. So the author goes on to write when I lived in grand rapids, I was in a supervision group and before the session started, we were talking about the dark feelings of hurt fear and shame Kirk, the group supervisor, a great therapist and truly wise man came in and joined our conversation.

He said, you know, first it's really not hurt fear and shame, hurt doesn't go so deep. It doesn't sear like fear or shame and second it's really not fear and shame. It's fear of shame. All I got to say about that last part is yes, yes, it's fear of shame. That makes so much sense to me. No shame can be defined as a feeling of embarrassment or humiliation that arises in relation to the perception of having done something dishonorable, immoral or improper fearing shame is being afraid of that feeling of embarrassment or humiliation. And that feeling can come up in simple everyday situations that you do not anticipate like being at the mechanic or in combat situations where you already know that you feel shame like in the bedroom and as a result of of the fear of the shame. You know, we protect ourselves and we often end up wearing these masks that hide how we truly feel.

We act like a tough dude or react like a stoic like nothing bothers me or we use humor to deflect and to obscure and to avoid really exposing how we really feel. I mean, all of us, all of us men can we can think of some way that we do that every single one of us can last passage I want to read from this article, it says so many men not only have been regularly shamed but they live in the incessant anxiety that they'll be further shamed. They live in fear of embarrassment, intimidation, humiliation, They are watchful guarded vigilant. They keep their distance. They act much more confident than they really are To avoid further shame when they are ashamed they act out in their own bullying abuse and violence to deal with it or avoid it. Men go through life as if they're on patrol in a war zone and they never know when they might get ambushed because they're so frequently ridiculed and mocked and bullied in their daily lives. They come to see the world as a deeply unsafe place.

When men are repeatedly shamed, they either get piste off or they shut down and sooner or later some way somehow sometime many men will explode. So again this all this stuff can happen whether a person was actually shamed or they just simply thought that they were ashamed right by making meeting out of something that wasn't there. It doesn't matter where it comes from because the point is when a man feels that when a man feels that shame, there are some big ripples, right men, we we get on guard and we start being watchful. We start living in fear. Well start acting out towards others might even get piste off or we just totally shut down and for me I can relate to shutting down. That's what Shane did for me whenever I would feel that I just shut down emotionally and I would just stuff all those feelings deep inside of me and I would refuse to visit them at any time that I felt triggered. It would just shut myself down even more, which only made the triggers worse, but that's how I learned to cope.

That was like what I went to as a young man and I just continued feeding that as I got older and it didn't change until I was very proactive and very intentional about doing something about it because I no longer liked who I was being, how I was living and how it made me feel. And so back then, what was crazy is that by not doing anything to address the shame I was opening myself up to experience more of it. Didn't even realize that so fellas, how many of you can relate how many can relate. All right, so let's shift gears. I want to share with you something else. Next I'm gonna share with you a couple of clips from Will smith's latest project which was a Youtube series called The Best Shape of My Life and so quick synopsis on this. It's a it's like a five or six um episode series on Youtube. The episodes are short, they're like 15, 20 minutes long. Um I recommend everybody. Go watch it. It's pretty cool. And What what will Smith attempts to do is he had gained some weight right over the last one or two years he had gained some weight.

He was at the heaviest that he'd ever been. He didn't like how he felt. He didn't like how his body looked. So he set out on this project to lose weight. I think he wanted to lose £20 in 20 weeks, something like that a pound a week simultaneous to that. He was also finishing writing his memoir. So he had two big challenges that he wanted to work on simultaneously and accomplished at the same time losing all this weight and writing the memoir. And as he's going through that process, he starts to essentially face his demons and he has breakdowns and he wants to quit the project and all sorts of stuff come up. So it was like a documentary that started out as one thing, but it ended up being something else. And once again links to the videos in the description. And so we're going to hear several clips now and I'm going to edit them together. A few of these different clips from a couple of different episodes and in the first set of clips, you're going to hear what you're gonna hear our our will smiths, actual inner monologue, right?

He's he's he wrote it down now. He's reading it, his inner thoughts on his shame and the feelings he has about himself. And then after that you're going to hear some commentary from his therapist about the roots of where his shame comes from. All right, let's listen, what was wrong with me? Why was I so afraid? Why was I such a coward? Such a couch Just reinforced my shot was the week I was the Kauai was the coward. My thoughts were swirling, caused me to feel more shame and more self loathing and everybody's looking at me. I didn't have control over. It began to dawn on me that my overcompensation and fake bravado were really just another more insidious manifestation of the coward. My thoughts were swirling. I didn't have control over. It was overcome with Shane, Shane, Shane, Shane mm well really derives a sense of self from always succeeding and being well liked. The need to feel like I'm going to be loved, I'm going to win and for Will.

This is his drug. But unfortunately as with any addiction, it can kind of get a little out of control. Come on, will get your head back ah this little ass weight that you can lift for will goals are everything. It's pretty clear that that came a lot from childhood where will really had the sense of I've gotta work. I've got to succeed. I've got to lose this much weight he has to win completely to stay safe to stay in control. One of the challenges though is control is always an illusion. So in that first clip we have Will smith's inner monologue that he shares and he's letting us in on those very deep emotions of shame of self loathing lack of control over compensation, cowardice Inauthenticity. Like these are the stuff that he deals with and that's some real ship. It really is. Again, I can relate right?

Can you relate listening right now? And it's important to understand something that those feelings they do not go away just because you're famous and have a bunch of money. Think about it. Here's a man at the top of his field. He has achieved all of the quote unquote success that there is. And I call this type of success small as success, your net worth, your accomplishments, fame, prestige, that's success with the smallest while big s success. That's your self worth. That's high trust in yourself. That's relating to life in a powerful way. So Will smith has all the smallest success that you can have right top of his field. Yeah. Look at what he's dealing with in his privacy when no one's around just him and his thoughts, he's dealing with those demons that us guys deal with. You know, what's wrong with me? I'm weak. I don't have control. And those thoughts and those feelings, those behaviors, they will not go away unless they are confronted and dealt with.

And most of us we don't have the resources that will smith has to distract himself from his shame. And at one point in this series, if you watch it, you'll see he jets off to Dubai right in the middle of of the book and the book and body challenge. He's going through. He just goes over to Dubai, that's where he wants to go now and his therapist comments that people like will have that work hard, play hard mindset. Some of that behavior can really be a manic defense. I don't know what that meant. So I looked it up and from psychology today. This is what they have to say about a manic defense. Once again, see if you can relate the manic defenses the tendency when presented with uncomfortable thoughts or feelings to distract the conscious mind with either a flurry of activity or with the opposite thoughts or feelings. A general example of the manic defense is the person who spends all of his time rushing around from one task to the next and who was unstable. Excuse me, unable to tolerate even short periods of in activity for this person.

Even leisure time consists in a series of discrete programmed activities that he needs to submit to in order to tick off from an actual or mental list. one needs only observe the expression on his face as he plows through yet another family outing cultural event or grueling exercise routine to realize that his aim in life is not so much to live in the present moment as to work down his never ending list. If one asked him how he's doing, he's most likely to respond with an artificial smile and a robotic response on the lines of fine. Thank you very busy of course. In many cases he is not fine at all but confused, exhausted and fundamentally unhappy. If my mic wasn't attached to my desk, I would take it off and drop it. That's a mic. Drop moment. So many of us go through that so many of us men, we go through that we have this manic defense to all the feelings that we're not addressing. Such as shame, right? And will smith. He's got the means to jet off to Dubai as a way to avoid facing himself.

But what do you do? Maybe you escape into video games or exercise or porn or you escape into a bottle, whatever it is. The point is that if you're feeling shame and the discomfort of dealing with it, if that's so high that you're choosing to distract yourself, that is the opposite of what you need to be doing in order to deal with the shame and truly feel better. It's not going to get better unless you address it. Alright. Here's another clip from the same Will smith series um that I want to share with you and this clip really shows you it's a story that will tells that just illustrates how his internal war impacts the people around him. In 2017. I was on the jury at the Cannes Film Festival, it was day five and we'd already watched 14 movies with one more movie to watch before dinner, I needed a beat to be quiet and reset. I Had 30 minutes to hit the gym before rejoining the jury.

I had told myself that this was my time For me and I had promised myself that I would not allow anyone to infringe on it. Midway through my second set. A 30 something black dude with a British accent entered and immediately noticed me. He whipped out his phone as he approached. Hey, will he said, say hi to my cousin. I reached up, putting my hand over the lens of his camera and pushed it down. Hey, sorry man. I said I'm training right now. It's just a quick video. Will he said, my cousin has down syndrome. He loves you. I promise it'll be quick. The fresh prince is the only thing that makes him smile. I'm sorry ma'am. I said, but no, he looked at me with such disbelief, but why not? Well, I paused a search for the deepest, most honest answer because I don't want to, the man shook his head in disgust, turned and left the gym.

I knew I had done right by myself, but I hated that someone else and innocent had gotten caught in the crossfire of my internal war. I went back to my room and could not stop crying. What I personally take from that clip is that the reason for we're going back up to resume and being unable to stop crying is that he is seeing how not dealing with his shame is changing who he is. It's changing who he is and he doesn't like the person he's becoming and this whole series, this whole Will smith series is just beautiful because you're seeing the true way that he relates to himself and to life angry, forceful, shameful, it's not the image that he wants you to see, which is the light hearted, funny guy who is loved by everyone and just super well adjusted and has this incredible life and for for us men in particular this clip and this series, it shows you that when you think your inner inadequacies will be alleviated by outer success, you're playing yourself, you know, we all have struggles Yes, no matter how well you're doing economically, we all have struggles, but when your struggles have to do with things that are deeply rooted, fear based feelings about yourself about life, then no amount of external success is going to protect you from your inner troubles and I really, really appreciate will smith for doing this series and for sharing his shame and his struggles with the world because this is what healing looks like fellas, this is what it looks like right here, opening up about what you're feeling, talking about it, battling with it like getting in the ring and battling with it and battling with your ego, the ego that wants to keep pushing all this stuff back down inside, it's not going to be a pretty process I'm telling you is vital for your health and for your happiness.

So, I've got one final clip for you And this is a really badass one. It really is. And this clip comes from an interview on the podcast, the Dad Edge podcast, which is hosted by a guy named Larry, Hagner And Larry. He's husband, he's a father of four boys, and he's been hosting this show that that edge podcast since 2015. And over that time, he has interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people experts on all types of topics that are really geared towards helping fathers to be greater. And on this particular episode, he's interviewing louis house, Louis houses a former pro athlete. He's an author, he's the host of the School of Greatness podcast. And again, I've mentioned him several times on this show, you know, he's somebody who's doing this, this personal development work that's peeling back the layers work. And in this interview, Lewis shares very, very openly about his shame and about how he faces it, and the episode of this podcast is called The mask of masculinity with louis house.

And I'm going to play a longer clip, it's going to be about six minutes from this particular episode, but please go listen to the whole interview because it's great. Once again links in the show notes and or you can just go to the website that Dad Edge dot com slash louis dash house. All right here is the clip when I opened up about being sexually abused was four years ago. I remember I was terrified the moment I was about to do it. I I shared I shared it in a group of like 50 people. I was going through an emotional intelligence workshop myself and it was like day three or five of this five day workshop. And we had gone through a lot of different exercises and games and experiences to emulate real life in this workshop where we address things in our past. Things with our parents, things have like bullies that bullied us, things from beliefs we had that we weren't supporting our life and our vision. And there was a moment when the facilitator of this workshop said, okay this and people were, you know, opening up about crazy stuff. People were crying.

It was like, it was pretty intimate and vulnerable for these three days. It was intense and there was a moment in the facility and said, okay, we are moving forward. We're no longer fixating on the past. We have dealt with the past now. It's time to create a new belief for your life moving forward. So you can have a more fulfilling, richer meaningful life. So if there's anything you have not addressed yet, now it's a time or forever, hold your peace type of moment. I remember going through my mind and there was like silence for a few moments. I remember going through my mind, I was like, you know, my brother going to prison, I've addressed that my parents getting divorced and fighting and screaming all the time. Like my siblings trying to commit suicide. Like I was stealing all the time and being bullied in school and picked last and in the special needs classes at that time I got raped. You know, I was just kind of like going and I was like, huh? Why have I never shared into my mind? Was like, why have I never talked about that to anyone my entire life? Like why have been so scared to just let someone see me for something? And And I was just like, I have to share this right now.

It's been 25 years. I have to share it. And I got up in front of the room and I walked to the front of the room and I It was like a semicircle of like 50 people around me, right? And I couldn't look anyone in the eyes. I stared down at the floor the entire time and I wasn't like crying. I wasn't like Doing anything crazy, but I just looked down and I put myself in that situation and walked through and talked out loud step by step. Everything that happened 25 years previously and remember I was like a little shaky in the voice, but I wasn't crying and I just walked it through like clinically like, this is what happened. I was here at the babysitters and I walked in there and I just walked through the whole thing. Yeah. And I, when I was finished, I just walked back to my seat, I couldn't look up at anyone and literally right when I sat down, it was like, I was releasing like the most like tears of sadness and just so much came out of me in that moment. I was like, shameful, embarrassed, scared, nervous everything.

I was like, terrified what this room of people were gonna think about me. Yeah, I'm crying. The whole room is crying. There's two women on either side of me that are like holding me there crying and holding me. I'm like, I can't deal with it anymore because I'm so ashamed that I run out of the room and it was in like a hotel like conference ballroom. I run out of the hotel into like the Backstreet and there was a wall against the back street and uh I kind of just put my head up on the wall, like in shame, just like crying, releasing this like tears and I was so scared. I didn't want anyone to look at me or see me. I was so ashamed. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. Probably because one x one, the men in the room came out and look me in the eye and they were like, you're my hero, you're my hero. These are older men who are like, you know, I've been through something similar or some men who hadn't been through sexual abuse were just like, I've been judging you. I've been assuming about these things about you and like I will follow you anywhere.

They were like, you have the most courageous man I've ever met and they were just like looking at me and acknowledging me and accepting me even more. And I realized like the more I started to share with my family, one x one, then close friends and it took me a while to start talking about it openly. But the more I started to share the relationships I had with everyone shifted. Like you just said, they started to see me differently and accept me. They started to share things with me that I never knew about them. And instantly we had this deeper connection and deeper relationship and deeper bond that was like, I got your back, I see you, I get you. Like, you've revealed yourself finally fully. Not that I wasn't like this fun loving guy before, but it's like now they could see everything and I'll tell you what, like, my business took off, not that I was like doing it from my business success, but it's just like I had a deeper intention and relationships with people in business and my team and so much more heart and care behind everything I did.

Mhm. And my life is just transformed by literally just taking off these masks and being being open, being real, being myself, being vulnerable and again, like you said, it's not like sitting around kumbayah, like sharing my feelings every day, but when things are appropriate, like revealing things and being open to people and what I've really learned is that the key to success in life with anything is relationships, whether it be your partner, your Children, your family, your career, like it's all this world is relationships. If you want anything done, you've got to have relationships. And the key to the most powerful relationships ever is vulnerability. That is where the most strength comes from. When we reveal ourselves and open up about who we are, our fears, our insecurities. That's when people connect to us on such a deeper level or they say I trust you, let's do this together, whatever it is you're doing, I'm up for it because I just trust you now better and that's you know, the old marketing tactics were like, you know, you want to get people to know like and trust you, right?

That's like a branding marketing thing. But it's like if you're just that's who you are, it's not a marketing tactic, you're going to be extremely great. Uh you know, proud of the results you create in your life, Damn brother. I mean seriously, if there was ever I'm telling you if there was you guys can't see this huge fist bomb if there was ever a reason to be your real authentic who you ourself louis that that story right there man. I mean the way you told it, I was like I'm there with you in the hotel, I'm seeing this whole thing unfold and I would be one of those guys coming out to be like holy crap man, like you know because what you do in that moment is you not only free yourself, you free everyone, you give people permission, you give other men permission who have been trapped in a prison in their mind for their entire lives thinking that it's not okay to reveal themselves or to share something. They're uncomfortable with their embarrassed of our shameful of are afraid of you give other men and women permission to open up and to start having the conversations that have been trapping our hearts for our entire lives.

First off we just have to commend Lewis house for having the courage to share that with the world, right? This is on a podcast goes out to so many people and I've got to believe by then he had probably shared that story dozens and dozens of times, which tells you how much healing he has experienced around that shame that he was holding onto for so long. So major props to him for choosing to face all that for choosing to work through it and for sharing it with others so that we can all you know, see that example be a part of it and heal as well And prior to hearing that podcast episode. I didn't know those things about louis house. I didn't know all that about his story, but what's fascinating about it is that I have my own healing experience that's very, very similar to his. And so as I mentioned, the top of the episode, I was about 10 years old and I started to associate physical urges with shame and guilt. And at that time I was a young boy, I discovered porn and I was very, very curious about it.

I was very attracted to it and I had these sexual urges and I had no idea about how to process them or to deal with them. And at that time I was living in my house and my mom and my sisters, my father wasn't there, he was, he had moved out, he was still in my life, but it just wasn't that presence around every day. And I had again, just this challenge of dealing with and processing these feelings, especially when those feelings were directed towards my sisters. Right? I lived in a house of women. I spent a lot of time with my sisters and there were several occasions where I wanted to express myself, I wanted to kiss them, wanted to cuddle with them, just wanted to be physical and affectionate beyond what at the time I thought was quote unquote normal and that messed me up in a lot of ways when I was young because I felt that there was something deeply wrong with me for having those feelings, those physical urges of sexual feelings, I just thought it was so wrong that they were being directed towards my siblings and I had no idea that that was completely normal for kids and for siblings, you know, I had no idea that when you're around the same age and you're in close proximity for another, like, those types of feelings are very natural part of development.

I get it now, I get it now because, you know, in college I studied psychology, that's my degree is in so I learned it there and hearing stories from friends who have kids that are older than my daughter, like they, you know, talking to them, they would share different stories and then just having a child of my own, like, I get it now I get it, but for years I thought I was perverted, I thought those feelings and everything was just so wrong and so shameful and so over the years I just repeated that story within me that I was truly funked up for feeling that way and that I should be ashamed of myself and that I had done something so terribly wrong. And so it really became my biggest secret something that I locked away deep inside of myself and I swore that I would never never share that with anybody and I would never share those things with anybody. And so that's what I did for, I don't know how many years has locked it down and even when I got older and got into relationships and you know I understood that trust was a big part of relationships, I just swore to myself that they will never know these things about me, they'll never know about those feelings I was having when I was young, I'll die before they will know that stuff and I was okay with that.

Like I was totally at peace with that, but then I meet Sarah and in this relationship with her, I really wanted something different, I wanted just true and deep honesty and transparency and full, full trust between us and so that meant sharing all of myself, sharing everything and so all this stuff had been on my mind for a little bit and one day I just, It just came, it was so clear, it was like you gotta share this, this shame from when you were 10, you got to share it with Sarah and as soon as that congealed in my brain like I got so terrified, I was so terrified, I knew it needed to be done and at this point in my life I was very deep into personal development and working on myself and so I knew that this was the next big thing, the next big frontier for me to tackle and face but the thought of revealing that secret to Sarah like it absolutely scared the living ship out of me and I just felt that she was going to judge me horribly, she would judge me and then she wouldn't want to be around me and that she ultimately leave me and I just knew that would happen.

So for a while in our relationship several years I just did my best to like push, push it all deep down I had done in the past, I could do it again, we push all that stuff deep down. Um but you know, once that seed of sharing with her was planted in me, it was not going to go away and eventually the pressure of all that shame and judgment, embarrassment, it just got to be too much. So I remember as if this happened this morning. Um, one day I called Sarah over to sit at our small dining room table and I was so nervous. I was so nervous and you know, we sit down, I told her that there's something that I want to share with her and it took me a while to find my voice. You know, I was all shaky and started crying, but eventually I started sharing and I told her all of it, you know, I told her about the feelings that I had and told her about, you know, the things I wanted to do and things that had gone down and you know, I just walked her through all the details and tears were streaming down my face and my voice was cracking all through it.

Um but I shared and when I was done sharing, I really didn't know what to expect. You know, of course I was anticipating the worst and I think the worst would have been if she had like stood up and walked away without saying anything that that probably would've been the worst. But she didn't do that. You know, she reached across the table and grabbed my hand and told me she loved me and just affirmed me and her compassion and her understanding and her love. It was so unexpected. It was so unexpected. You know, I had held onto that stuff for decades all like I held onto that for so long and the last thing I ever, ever thought was that when I finally revealed it that somebody was still going to love me after I shared because for all those years I didn't feel lovable because of all that stuff. And so it messed my head up. It messed my head up in some great ways. Um but I felt such a release of judgment, oh my gosh, I felt such a weight lift.

They don't even I mean it was it was incredible. It was like the judgment, the way they stressed the guilt, it just it just was gone. It was taken away. It was it was pulled off, you know, I felt so much closer to Sarah, I loved her even more because of her compassion in her heart. And I feel more confident in myself because I had faced that fear, that fear that I've held onto for so long. I faced it finally and I survived. So I felt like this sense of of of strength within me and I honestly, I felt even more legitimate as a coach, as somebody who helps other people face their fears to heal and and to grow because now I had slayed one of my big dragons and let me tell you, That's not the end of it. That's not the end of it. Because just like with louis house a short time after I shared that with Sara, I was on a three day personal transformation workshop, just the same like what louis was describing And over the three days we did all sorts of different exercises in role playing scenarios to help us really face ourselves and to look at the stories were holding onto about ourselves and wake up to our true nous our authenticity.

And it was the last day of the workshop. The facilitator created the space and gave a chance for anybody who wanted to come up in front of the group and share and let go of a story that was no longer serving them. And so one by one, people just lined up around the room and they shared and of course, I mean, you know, where I'm going with this, Like I knew in my heart what I had to share. I knew like and I had just shared it with Sarah not too long ago and it was like, oh Matthew this is what you're supposed to do. But it was one thing to share it with my partner. Like it was something totally different to share it with a room full of people I just met a few days ago, like that's something freaking intimate and to share it with strangers like that to me was just insane. So I sat in my seat and people started lining up and people started sharing and you know the stories were just like unbelievable and so much courage and I was witnessing people heal like I was witnessing them release their own demons.

But I was, I was once again terrified and the minutes just tick by, tick by and I have, I was having this fight within myself of like, you know share, share this one more time and finally release it versus no, no, no, no, no, you can't share like you can't do it, it's just way too much. All these people are going to judge you, Sarah has has love for you, she loves you and there's a relationship there. These folks don't know you at all, they're going to judge the ship out of you. So just be quiet And it took all my strength to get me out of that chair and to stand in line. And even once I did that, I still had to wait for like 10 other people in front of me to share. And so I stuck with it, I stayed and when it was my time to get up there and share, that's what I did and I spilled it all just like I had done with Sarah. Once again, the tears are streaming down my face. I'm having a real hard time looking at anybody in the eye. Um, I'm feeling that shame and the humiliation and that judgment all over again.

When I was done, I went back to my seat, I sat down and I was like, wow, I did it. You know, it's like you did it. And a couple of people who are right around me immediately next to me, they put their hands on me and just set a couple of supportive words. Um, and then the, the weekend, the transmission weekend was complete. Like the event was done and people were hanging out and mingling and giving each other hugs. Like it was this beautiful three day experience that we just had and this guy walks up to me and I had seen him around during the weekend, but I hadn't really connected with him in a deep way. Um, he walked up to me and he just looked me in the eyes and you know, tears in his own eyes and just like I said, thank you, he just thanked me for sharing so vulnerably and so courageously. And then he told me that he had gone through something so similar when he was young, he had had those same feelings, he had that same confusion and he had held onto it as well and buried it deep deep down and he was walking around with guilt and shame and judgment trying to smile, but you know, trying to smile in front of people, but secretly carrying all this stuff and when he heard me share, he felt that he too could let it go and he felt connection, he felt love.

And so we hugged, we hugged and I cried some more on the shoulder and you know, it was just, it was so amazing, like once again, that story that I had that people were going to judge me and ostracize me and and remove their love from me. Like all of that was just it was not true and it went so far to break those old beliefs and break those old thoughts and break those old stories. And so, you know, I left that weekend just feeling full and feeling empowered and feeling deep love for myself and I was changed. And so as we get into the final part of States conversation, you know, we've been talking about shame from a few different angles here. We talked about what it is, how it impacts men's lives, what it looks like when us men carry around that shame and how it can ripple and and impact other people and we talked about what, working through shame to heal and grow looks like.

And that's really where I want to wrap up today. I want to conclude this by talking about healing your shame. There's a common thread that runs through all of today's examples and stories and this is this idea of sharing, you know, shame it grows when we don't shine a light on it. Shame grows in those dark depths of our souls in those corners where we stuff all of our stuff that we don't ever want to address. That's where the shame is allowed to grow and to just penetrate us and go deeper and get that strong hold on us. That's what it did for me. But what you heard in the blog article from charlie Donaldson or in the clips from Will smith or in the podcast interview with louis house or in my stories, what you heard is men openly talking about the shame that they've carried throughout their lives and that is the key to healing it. You have to be willing to bring it out of the darkness and to talk about it. You have to get to the point where the weight of living with the shame is greater than the fear of releasing it and it takes courage and it takes vulnerability and it takes faith, but you have to have this faith that you are going to be okay in the end, after you share.

You know, I knew with all my heart that anyone who heard my story would judge me viciously, I knew that because how could they not? I was judging myself viciously for everything that I had done and felt and so of course they would too. But you know, the feelings of going through life with a secret and not being my authentic self, especially as I was, this person claiming to be all about personal growth and healing. Like that feeling was so far worse than the judgment that I might face. The incongruity was so much more uncomfortable than the fear and I had faith that I would survive. Like releasing my shame and speaking on it and letting it go? Ultimately I would survive. I wouldn't die. I held onto that little bit of faith and that gave me the courage to be vulnerable. So fellas, I'm gonna give you some concrete action items to help you dealing to help you to deal with your shame. So, first you really gotta start by identifying what are your underlying shame triggers?

Like when do you feel shame and when you feel it in that moment, like what's happening, what's happening to you or what were you thinking? Just prior to feeling that shame? I want you to ask yourself where do you feel guarded or defensive or judged or where do you blow up at others and take out your frustrations on those people around you because those can those things can be an indication that you're holding on to shame. Remember think back to that that article that I read, I think that's what happens when we hold onto that shame. It bubbles up and manifest in some way. And so you have to be able to understand what's really going on and and that's like the first step to then being able to look at it. And so that's the next step is you gotta be willing to face your shame. And this first part, this first part of looking at it, it can totally happen in your privacy. It doesn't need to be, you know, you sharing with your spouse or in front of a group of people. But you've got to be willing to go into that dark corner of your soul and pull out the things that you've been stuffing down there and just looking at them, just look at them.

And if you can try to look at them from an objective point of view rather than from an emotional subjective point of view, because it's being in the emotion that has us feeling like what we did was shameful. But if you can look at it from a different perspective, it can help to release some of those immediate emotional attachments to whatever it was. So that's the second thing you got to do is to face it. And third listen, at some point it's time to talk about it with others. It is. And I remind you that how you think people will react is most likely not accurate again. Think back to all the stories from today and how after a man shared his shame, it was vulnerable. Other men came to him and they said what? They said, thank you. Said thank you for sharing. Thank you for being courageous. Thank you for being vulnerable. That's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. They didn't come to them with all sorts of judgments. And so you've got to find the courage within yourself to share and to release that emotional weight that you've been holding onto.

There really are no shortcuts here truly in order to heal, you've got to get it out. And then finally, the last step that I recommend is you hold space for other men to talk about their shame you share. And you also listen right, and give permission for other people to share their stories. That's how we can all heal and support each other. It's a community thing, it's not just an individual thing. And this comes up all the time. My coaching, right? The coaching that I do with men. It comes up. Like we share stories, we talk through the emotions, we talk about the shame. We talk we talk openly and vulnerably and we discuss tactics for healing and in doing that. There's support there and you feel supported and you feel like you can do it. So those are my steps for helping you to heal and release the shame that you've been holding onto and I'll just say in closing that shame really is a motherfucker take it really, really is, but if you don't adopt a proactive strategy to deal with it now you're going to go through life, being robbed of the joy, the pleasure, the fulfillment, the relationships that you are meant to have and you're meant to experience and listen, I know because I've been there myself and I can speak to you from being on both sides of it from living with deep, deep shame and guilt to finally having released it and and feeling what life is like on the other side of not carrying all this stuff around and no matter what you're holding onto, you can overcome it, I promise you you can overcome it.

So thank you so much for listening to this episode, let me tell you this was very healing for me to dive into this topic in this way and to share with you all and to connect like heart to heart on a very human level is something that we can all relate to in one way, shape or form. So I appreciate it and if you want to reach out to me, you can hit me up in my email is Matthew Matthew Bivens dot com so that's it for me today. I appreciate you. I love you. My name is Matthew Bivins and here is to you having it all I think, yeah, quick note about the having it all podcast. I am not a doctor nor a licensed therapist. I'm a guy with a story and a passion for conscious conversation. My thoughts, opinions and beliefs are my own. So please consult with your doctor or healthcare provider regarding any questions or issues you have related to your personal, physical or mental health.

Overcoming Male Shame: Stories And Wisdom On How Men Can Finally Eliminate Their Shame
Overcoming Male Shame: Stories And Wisdom On How Men Can Finally Eliminate Their Shame
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