Man in the Mirror Group

I joined another men’s group at church and all I can say is….. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!

I think this is the first time in my 33 years of life, I have been around so many REAL MEN. I don’t mean barber shop banter “REAL” (lies), or men that are constantly trying to DEFINE THEMSELVES through what they do or don’t do (ego or insecurities).

Who are continuously using statements like:

  • REAL MEN DON’T COOK!
  • REAL MEN CONTROL THEIR WOMEN!
  • REAL MEN HAVE A LOT OF MONEY!
  • REAL MEN WORK WITH THEIR HANDS!
  • REAL MEN DON’T CLEAN, THAT’S WOMAN’S WORK!
  • REAL MEN HAVE A LOT OF WOMEN

HECK, I have even heard a man once say “REAL MEN DON’T WEAR FLIP FLOPS!!!!!
LMBO………..What does that even have to do with manhood?

I am talking about REAL MEN that are not afraid to talk about who THEY ARE REALLY! That are not afraid to talk about their:

  • REAL FEELINGS
  • REAL CONCERNS
  • REAL PROBLEMS
  • REAL INSECURITIES

Men who are trying to find the flaws in their thinking and redefine themselves through scripture!!! I can’t express enough how RARE this is.

So many times both men and women feel that they are alone in their struggle. We hide who we really are from our friends, family, and acquaintances from fear of BEING JUDGED or SEEMING WEAK.

All the while, the very THING that we are holding in is the very thing that is causing our life the most pain and frustration. We go to people for advice or to vent and leave out the things that make us WRONG or could help CLARIFY the situation.

We enlist COMRADES for our cause not realizing the enlistees have the SAME PROBLEM that we have and theirs may be worst than ours but we put on the “STRONG FACE” and we accept the “STRONG ADVICE”. Not understanding that the true STRENGTH is found in weakness.

The TRUE strength is in the HONESTY to both YOURSELF and the other PEOPLE!

No one can help fix a problem, that we refuse to admit is broken.

And that is what this group is all about! Making you look at “THE MAN IN THE MIRROR.” Encouraging others and being encouraged that you are not the only one. Helping uproot our FLAWED THINKING and FLAWED BELIEF systems and providing INTELLIGENT, PROVEN ADVICE to handle situations and DEFINE who you are, and what you should be doing through scripture.

Not Uncle Johnny’s made up version of MANHOOD or your misguided best friends version of how to handle a situation but REAL MEN, who admit they have REAL PROBLEMS, that are being REAL HONEST, SEEKING REAL SOLUTIONS and REAL ANSWERS………..from a GODLY vs. WORLDLY perspective.

This is something that I have yearned for YEARS!!!! I know this will spill over in every part of my life!

Scriptures that align with my write:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…. – James 5:16

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….1 Thessalonians 5:11

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.2 Corinthians 12:9

#RELEASINGTHEFRUSTRATION
#GAININGTHETRUTH

Living Again: Horse Back Riding

Confession: After I watch a cowboy movie, I secretly picture myself riding around in the old west with my six shooters, wrestling cows to the ground, and having gun fights in the middle of town. LMBO. Do not Judge me. I have the same thoughts when I watch a good Kung Fu flick. Y’all know that you do the same thing!

So after watching yet another cowboy joint, I decided to go horseback riding! There is something about being in nature that allows me to clear my head and gives me such peace as of late.

The horse the stable operators gave me had to be the slowest, biggest horse on earth, but Tank and I trotted around like we owned the place. He loved to eat, so I had to keep redirecting him away from and high grass. Our entire time together on the trail, every country song (2 maybe 3) that I knew kept popping in my head, and I could not help but laugh at myself when I caught myself singing them out loud.

#ishouldbeenacowboy
#lol
#ishouldbeenacowboylol

WHAT I WANT IN RELATIONSHIPS

Over the course of my life I can count on one hand how many HAPPY and HEALTHY marriages that I have seen.  

The Types of Relationships That I Have Seen in Abundance!

I have seen the CONTROLLING MARRIAGES: where one party of the relationship is trying to control the other and the controller can’t understand why they are fighting so much!

I have seen the CHEATING MARRIAGES: Self-explanatory! Heck, I have a family member that has been married for 35 years, has had a concubine for 30 and had a baby on both of them both.

I have seen the COMPLAINING MARRIAGES: where one or both parties in the relationship are constantly complaining about the other person to anyone that will listen. They will tell ALL the other person’s personal business and secrets. (I still haven’t figured out if that is the same type of disloyalty as cheating or not)

I have seen the CO-EXISTENT MARRIAGES: They live together, they have children together, they may even have sex with each other but they are not INTIMATE. They don’t confide in each other and are still hiding who they are from the other person. They may be committed the marriage but put very little effort into making it a HAPPY.

I have seen the ABUSIVE MARRIAGE, the MANIPULATIVE MARRIAGE, and the GREEN CARD MARRIAGE.

Last but not least, I have seen the FAKE – WE GOT IT ALL TOGETHER but behind closed doors we more screwed up then the people we counsel MARRIAGE aka WE TELL PEOPLE THE THINGS THAT IS GOING TO MESS UP THEIR marriage, MARRIAGE!

So my frame of reference is very limited when it comes to the HAPPY, HEALTHY MARRIAGE and when I was married and in long term relationships I have been a party to multiple of the categories above, I can admit that!!!!

To my recollection, I have 1 or 2 individuals in my family that I can say have a healthy relationship. My marriage failed, and all my long-term relationship has failed. So over the last 1 and a half years or so I have been researching relationships and analysis the few that are HAPPY within arm’s length.

(Disclosure: I don’t believe a happy relationship is necessarily free of issues. I believe they have issues, they just handle them in a healthy manner. )

The first relationship I began to analyze was my cousin and his wife’s marriage. They have been married for 16 or 17 years. They have 2 children, and both have very busy schedules do to their businesses and careers.  

The second is my friend Cal and his wife. Cal and his wife have been together for nearly 20 years. They met in high school and now have 4 children, and over the years I have watched them go through some major UPS and some major DOWNS!

The lifestyle of both relationships is completely different but the similarities of each are recognizable without question!

They’re BEST FRIENDS:

The ladies’ and men’s night out are far and few in-between. They are happy to be right there with each other. They watch games together, take trips together, go out together, workout together, and even cook together.

There is No PRIDE or EGO:  

Neither has a control based relationship. Neither is driven by arbitrary or gender-based rules. If something needs to be cleaned up, it gets cleaned up. The men aren’t waiting on “THE WOMEN TO DO THEIR JOBS.” If my cousin is going to be late his wife cooks, if she is going to be late he cooks; same with my friend Cal and his wife. Both men go above and beyond for their wives and their wives do the same. No one is holding back in fear being seen as weak.

They NEVER COMPLAIN about each other:

I have known Cal since for about 13 years. No matter what he and his wife are going through he has never once complained about her in any way. Not even the typical ‘Man she is getting on my nerves.’ or ‘Man, she is driving me crazy’………Not once. I have never heard my cousin speak ill of their wives either. Nor have I ever heard their wives speak ill of them. To me this speaks VOLUMES!

They SUPPORT EACH OTHER:

Whether in a new business or a weight loss journey, they are 100% supportive! My cousin hates network marketing with a passion. One day his wife was invited to a network marketing meeting and she signed up. What did my cousin do? He picked up the phone and start selling!!! Later that year, his wife chose a STRENUOUS weight loss and diet program! What did he do? He went to the store to get some groceries.

Cal and I use to work as pastry chefs together after we got out of the military. When he wanted to begin selling cakes and pies, his wife jumped to help in any way that she could. Neither couple COMPETES with each other. They embrace each other, they push each other, and they pull each other or whatever it takes to uplift the other person in the relationship.

They constantly COMMUNICATE:

What they are doing, what they are at, who they are with. At any given time, NO MATTER what is going on, they will stop what they are doing and pick up the phone if the other person calls. They talk about everything (with each other), not just the good things but also the uncomfortable things as well. NO YELLING! NO SCREAMING! NO MANIPULATIVE TACTICS TO GET THE OTHER TO COMPLY! …….……THEY TALK.

NO ONE COMES BEFORE THEIR RELATIONSHIP

Both men, in their relationship, have expressed to me how they have had to CUT family members completely off for their spouse, I’m talking about MOTHERS and FATHERS, not just FRIENDS, because of a family members, in some way, disrespected their mate. Whether it be calling them out of their name or talking negatively about them in some way, they CUT THEM OFF. After God, their relationship comes first!!! NO ONE COMES BEFORE or BETWEEN THEIR RELATIONSHIP.

So what do I want in a relationship?

I want a best friend. Someone I can communicate with on all levels. Someone who will stay beside me through thick and thin, someone that will serve me and I’ll serve in return. Someone that believes in me, no matter what the world says. I want that wake up in the morning and throw water balloons at each other type of relationship. I want that, I don’t have to go out because I am with the coolest person I know type relationship. That I support your dreams and you support mine type relationship. I want that it’s us against the world type relationship. That I wish someone would talk about my mate type relationship. That God first type relationship, where when we have a problem that we can’t handle on our own, we go to God first that way no one else can dump their trash in our relationship, type relationship. I want that no blame type relationship. That emotional, mental, spiritual, and physically intimate type relationship!

But I understand I have to be the person that I want in a relationship. Everyone man wants a Ruth but aren’t willing to become a Boaz. Every woman wants a Boaz but doesn’t want to be Ruth.

I want that love they talk about in 1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In order for me to make someone whole I have to be whole myself and for me to be whole I have to be vulnerable and open enough to let people in.

So as I reconstruct, I will make sure I remove the things that hinder me from having that type of relationship, that type of love and strengthen the things that allow me to keep that type of relationship.

50 Great Things About Me

This post was inspired by a friend of mine who is also going through her own Reconstruction Process. Someone challenged her to write 50 great things about herself that “gave her value as a human being”.

She explained even though this task was difficult with all of the issues she is going through externally, internally it made her remember who she was.

So I decided to do it for myself. I see it as a process of taking mental inventory. To be able to refer back to something that list WHY YOU ARE GREAT when the world is telling you, you’re not.

So here we go………

  1. I love to learn, read, and research.
  2. I genuinely care about others.
  3. I have an uncanny knack for seeing things in most situations that others miss.
  4. I don’t believe in taking advantage of people.
  5. I love giving.
  6. I have the heart and the drive to help others.
  7. I’m a thinker, I love the act of critical thinking and analyzing things from multiple perspectives.
  8. I am a Christian (I love God, you don’t love God what’s wrong with you? LOL)
  9. I am hilarious (you don’t have to think I’m funny, I do )
  10. I love to cook.
  11. I am a hard worker.
  12. I am ambitious and driven.
  13. I am a very unbiased person.
  14. I have never been a jealous person.
  15. I have never been a controlling person.
  16. I am a passionate person.
  17. I am a very optimistic person.
  18. I try to seek the good in people.
  19. When I get a haircut, I am the sexiest man this side of the Mason-Dixon line. (I’m just saying lol )
  20. I believe in treating people fairly.
  21. I am a fighter/conquer.
  22. I am a great friend.
  23. I am very personable, I can talk to anyone.
  24. I am great salesmen.
  25. I love to encourage others.
  26. I work best in high paced situations.
  27. I learn things very quickly.
  28. I am honest enough to admit my problems and shortcomings.
  29. I am very secure in who I am.
  30. I stand up for others.
  31. I never look down my nose at others based on what they have or don’t.
  32. I don’t think of myself as being better than anyone or beneath anyone.
  33. I am a great listener.
  34. I love deeply (I don’t know it that is a good thing or bad. When that love is taken for granted or I feel someone has been disloyal, it’s hard for me to bounce back.)
  35. I am self-motivated (you can try to motivate me but most likely it’s going to just make me mad.)
  36. I am very open-minded.
  37. I am very strong willed.
  38. I am punctual, I hate being late.
  39. I can spot a great chicken wing from a mile away. LOL
  40. I am humble.
  41. I am a researcher. (Nothing drives me crazier than a person that speaks without having researched what they are talking about)
  42. I have never told a person I love them without meaning it.
  43. I embrace change.
  44. I am creative.
  45. I believe I can have a major impact on the world.
  46. I strive to be a better person every day.
  47. I love to make others smile.
  48. I love trying new things.
  49. I love animals
  50. I am adventurous, I love trying new things!

1 TO GROW ON: I AM ME! (You get what you get.)

There we go! I must say this was a tedious task. As I created this list, I had to constantly, and honestly, evaluate if some of these are traits that truly define me! I challenge everyone who reads this post to do the same.

Quiet Time and Meditation

The first week that I was started in, The Every Man A Warrior group they introduced the concept of having quiet times with God and meditating on his word. So daily, I woke up and spend time in His word. I read scripture, pick the best verse from what I read. The verse that I believe God is trying to show me and then I meditate on it, write down what I feel God is telling and then pray. Then question if I am honoring Him in that area of my life or if I living by his word.

This has been the cornerstone for my reconstructing me/ healing me process. I really wish someone had explained and taught me this years ago. This has been life changing mentally, emotionally and spiritually, It’s one thing to READ the Bible and another to be able to QUOTE scripture but how many of us actually INTERNALIZE what we are reading?

How many of us break down the scripture, analyze what it is saying, then analyze ourselves to see are we, through our actions and/or thoughts, in line with the word of God?

On days that I miss my quiet times:

I feel the anxiety creep inside of me!
I feel the old Adrian fighting his way back in!
I feel resentment, and guilt peak their heads out!
I feel loneliness and depression attempting overcome me!

I wish someone would have taught me this years ago!!! It would have made for a lot less headache and pain, to know that I am not alone and there is a roadmap for my decisions, gives me a sense of true peace.

It is helping me align my character to His character. It’s helping to make decisions based on God’s belief versus my own or the world’s.

#reconstructingmethroughHIM

Seeking the Good In Everything

If you read my article on depression you know that after receiving a prescription, I refused! I came to the conclusion that I was depressed only because I wanted to be and I had been focusing on all the negative in my life instead of focusing on all the Good.

So, since that day I have made it a point to look through “ALL GOOD” Goggles and seek the good in every person, thing and situation. (Yes all people have some goodness in them, LOL) I can tell you the experience has been amazing!

“Seek and you shall find” is true on so many levels. If you are seeking the negative in people, places and things you will find negativity in abundance. When you seeking for the positive in life you will find positivity in abundance.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine about putting on the “goggles” after he called me to complain about a client that he has that had backed him in a corner both financially and mentally. We discussed the situation and by end of the situation he realized that the client had actual done him a favor and gave him the push he needed to continue building his business.

The next day I got a call from my friend and the voice on the other end of the phone was elated! He had looked the the “good” in the situation and woke up and began making calls to find more clients. He had picked up two instantly and the problem that was the day, before was no longer a problem at all. By finding the good in the situation it allowed him to elevate his business and situation.

By putting on my “goggles” it has allowed for so much closure, so much growth, and so much peace. It amazes me how a quick change at what you are looking for will change your entire perspective of people, places, and things.

Recently, I heard Pastor Van Moody speak about his book, The People Factor. I had to go get it and after reading some of the research presented in the book about relationships, it was very clear to me that even in marriage this the principle hold true. Most marriages fail at the point when the individuals in the marriage begin to focus on all the negative things in a relationship rather than the positive in each other. The negative traits begin to overpower the positive ones. The relationships begins to deteriorate and fills with anger, bitterness, and discontent.

And that is what happens in us when we put on the “NEGATIVE GOGGLES”. We find ourselves discontent, frustrated, anger and bitter.

In any given moment, during any given hour, on any given day, there are a million things we be grateful for. There is GOODNESS all around us and we have the choose to SEEK the GOOD or SEEK the BAD.

When we are seeking the good even ice cream taste better! When we are seeking the bad we can only see how cold it is, how the sticky it’s making your fingers, how much traffic there was on the trip to the store. You totally miss the moment, you forget that there was probably a time when you might have not been able to afford the ice cream. You forego the happiness and latch on to frustration.

Those people, places and situations may be something that God brought to answer a prayer that you have been praying but your mind is so fixated on looking for the negative that you completely MISS THE BLESSING. That person, that situation, that place, may be exactly what you need but by looking for all the negatives you miss the true value they hold.

So, I am keeping my “GOOD GOGGLES” on and I refuse to let anyone pass me their “NEGATIVE GOGGLES”! I refuse to let other peoples views of peoples, places or things interfere with my view. I understand that their view may have a complete different tint then mine and if they hold theirs googles to my face to often I will only begin to see what they see.

My goggles come with an entire list of benefits they other peoples may not come with, to include peace, happiness, great perspective, and opportunity.

Living Again Experiences Explained

It so funny, I was talking to a friend of mine and I was telling him about some of the things that I was doing and that I am planning to do and with a low tone he asked “Is everything okay? It sounds like you are checking off a bucket list”? LMBO!!!! I couldn’t help but laugh!!!!

So let me explain….. When I was younger, if it wasn’t something reckless or had something to do with women, money, or partying, I had no desire to do it! That was my definition of FUN! And that didn’t change until about a year into my first marriage.

When the change did take place it was drastic, I dropped 3 of the 4 and it became all about business, personal development and being at home with my family. I worked sometimes 16 hour days and when I wasn’t working I was either reading, at church, or researching ways to build my business. THAT WAS IT!

My focus on building something and not being the person I “use to be” became a coping mechanism by way of obsession. I had reasoned if I am so focused on business and personal development then I could not turn back. If I stay away from all of my old friends and not leave the house, I was safe from my own destruction. I couldn’t cheat if didn’t leave the house! There would be no club fights that I so use to love, in my living room.

My mantra became NO SACRIFICE, NO VICTORY! (I even went as far as getting it tattooed on my chest!) I thought by me not indulging in any activities other than work and learning, I would reach a level of success faster. So I sacrificed all happiness, that’s what I had been told REAL MEN WHO WANT TO SUCCEED DO! That coupled with my fear of reverting back to my old self-fueled my every decision.

I had redefined myself from the Wild Out King who can get any chick that he wanted, (self-appointed definition lol) that loved to fight and drink, TO a businessman, father, husband, and intellectual.

And underneath I was so proud of the person I had become! The strides that I had made to better who I was as a person. However, there was something missing! and although books, business, and learning were great things, I never redefined FUN. I never really looked at what provided me joy.

I really thought I was doing the right thing! And even after my divorce when most people are going out to have FUN I was not! I assumed the same posture of being stuck in the house working day in and day out with very few friends but this time:

It was out desperation to regain what I had lost.
It was to avoid that feeling you get when you can’t afford something.
It was out of fear of being judged for not having it all together.
It was out of fear of getting a taste of the previous lifestyle and turning back. A way of protecting Adrian from Adrian so to speak!

So that is what my Living Again Experiences are all about! Me finding the things that bring me joy! Finding the very things that make me happy. The things that get my adrenaline pumping, the things that provide me with a safe escape from my mind and work. To bring happiness into my life that has nothing to do with how much money is in my pocket OR who I am in a relationship with OR where I live!

They are about Thrill, Excitement, Peace and Happiness!

They are about living life to the fullest! I don’t think anyone will ever lay in their death bed consumed with the car they never had or the house they never bought, I believe we will lay there wishing we had LIVED and LOVED MORE!!!