Feb 28

Yesterday we ended with the question “Why won’t men admit they are not happy and do something about it?”

Again this may sound like a strange question, but it is true for men and women. First you need to understand the difference between pleasure and happiness. A lot of men and women seek pleasure from many different areas, but they still are not happy. Pleasure is temporary; happiness is at a deeper level.

They are not happy no matter how much pleasure they seek, but they will not take the responsibility to ask why they are not happy or take the time do something about it. They would rather put the happiness of others before their own, or they try to soothe their unhappiness with distractions or substances or in the worst case scenario they try to get rid of their pain of being unhappy by taking it out on others.

For the most part men don’t stop and ask about happiness because they are not supposed to show their feelings—men are hard. Now please understand that I’m not talking about whining here, complaining or self-pity. I’m talking about burying disappointment, mistakes, failures. I’m talking about those who don’t give themselves permission to think they could or should be happy because they have spent their entire lives living up to the expectations of others and they don’t see any way out.

I’ve even heard preachers preach that you don’t need happiness because you’ve got joy—happiness is temporal, but joy is eternal. That never made any sense to me. It’s like the old concept of the Southern Spiritual Hymns where they sang about how this life sucks but in heaven they would be happy. Most people don’t realize these were songs written and born out of Southern slavery where they had no option but to look to the after-life since there was no hope here on earth.

Yet God uses the word “blessed” in the scriptures which means “very happy”. But here is the key, don’t wait for someone or something to make you happy, man-up and take responsibility for your own happiness.

Don’t wait for your wife to make you happy.

Don’t wait for your job or career to make you happy.

Don’t even wait for God to make you happy. Yes you heard me right. It’s not God’s job to cheer us up or give us a sweet life so we are happy.

God has already given us all we need to be happy but WE must understand first that we have the right to be happy, secondly understand what God has given us and lastly take the responsibility to steward what we have both physically and spiritually so we can be happy.

As men we have a phenomenal responsibility to uphold. We have people directly or indirectly depending on us all the time to lead them, provide and protect them (I’m not overlooking single moms who are under just as much pressure but this article is about men). So most men don’t think they have the time or luxury of thinking about whether they are happy or not. And yet how can I fully help others if I am not whole myself?

In the New Testament and the Old Testament God tells us to take head unto ourselves so we can then help others. During this series I’m going to be talking about how we take those steps which make us whole so we can bring happiness to ourselves and to others.

Have a great day,

Duke Clarke

Feb 26

This series is something I’d like to dedicate to men BUT I would also really encourage the women readers to check it out as well because you will learn a lot about us as men.

If you have read my emails for any length of time you will know that I blend spiritual concepts with real life issues because I believe that we are all one being and it makes no sense to me to separate the two.

This first lesson is about “Responsibility” but it’s not the same old “suck it up and take it like a man” advise so give me a few minutes to tell you what I mean.

When my oldest son turned 18 I wrote out Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” and read it to him as our family gathered around to celebrate. In case you’ve never heard it, let me share it here:

“If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, but not deal in lies,

Or, being hated and not give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings – and not lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!”

A man, a real man has to take responsibility for how he acts and reacts to the world around him and it starts with taking responsibility for himself and not blaming others or anything else.

Now this really isn’t new, we are taught this almost from birth, but I want to talk about taking responsibility for one of the biggest silent killers of too many men. Something that a lot of really good men don’t take responsibility for and it eats away at them silently killing them day by day.

Now when I tell you about it you may think I’m nuts, but I’m serious.

It’s taking responsibility for your own happiness.

Now there may be women reading this that say “That’s ridiculous! All men do is think about their own happiness”. And that is true for some, but that’s not who I’m talking to. I’m talking to the men who have been taught from birth that being unhappy was a sign of weakness; that happiness was for women and children and men are just supposed to suck it up and move on; rub some dirt in on it and keep playing (if you women don’t get that last reference ask a man, he’ll tell you—it’s a sport analogy).

So what do men do? They put on a face, shove the hurt or pain down and keep moving. They deceive themselves into thinking that the next job, the next salary, the next raise, the next relationship, the next vacation, the next…will make up for it all. But the next…never comes as long as they wait for someone or something else to bring it.

Man is a solution, problem solving creature and because he is not happy or content with himself he looks for other ways to measure happiness and relieve the emptiness.

His happy list contains: athletic accomplishments, sexual conquests, financial success, social recognition, new relationships, new careers, new toys. Or he may take the more damaging path of alcohol, drugs, controlling others, fighting with others and doing other destructive activities to make others feel his emptiness and pain.

Why won’t men admit they are not happy and do something about it?

Well, let’s take some time to look at that one tomorrow…

Duke Clarke