In Part 1 of “The Hidden Secret For Becoming a Sexually Successful Male,” I described the lessons I had learned in my life between the ages of 8 and 80. I said the secret was what I called Quiet Confidence or QC. In Part 2, I described the three interrelated reasons why this secret has been hidden from us. In Part 3, I described four practices we would embrace and follow to develop our Quiet Confidence. In this final part of the series, I will continue to offer specific practices you can engage.
In my Junior High School yearbook, my mother offered her advice in this well-known quote from William Shakespeare. “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” At the time I had very little idea about what it meant to be true to myself, but I remembered the quote and I learned more as my life journey unfolded.
Humans are social animals and as such we are forever influenced by those around us. When we are surrounded by loving, caring, and healthy people that is a good thing. But as humans, we are all flawed. No one is perfectly good, not even Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama who are great examples of being exemplary human beings.
We all have experiences of trying to live up to someone’s expectations of who we should be, whether our mothers or fathers, brothers or sisters, friends, or social-media friends. Yet, we can’t let others define us. We must do our best to be truly ourselves. The unconventional Christian pastor Brennan Manning summed up his advice this way.
“Be who you is, ’cause if you ain’t who you is, you is who you ain’t.”
6. Follow the Golden Thread of Your True Self
Years ago I had a vision that all of us have a “golden thread” that connects us to our true selves. Even when we lose that connection and are forced by life’s circumstances to drop the connecting thread, it is always there to pick up again. I found a poem in later life that helped me better understand the importance of keeping attached to that thread of goodness and authenticity.
It’s called “The Way It Is” by William Stafford:
“There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. You never let go of the thread.”
7. Get to Know Your Right Brain
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard trained and published neuroanatomist. On December 10, 1996, at the age of thirty-seven, she experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain which almost killed her. She suddenly lost her ability to walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her former life. As she was experiencing this cataclysmic occurrence, she alternated between the experiencing the euphoria of feeling the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and pace, and the logical, sequential, left brain, which recognized she was having a stroke and enable her to call for help before she died.
She recounts her experience in a now famous TED talk, “My Stroke of Insight,” seen by nearly 30 million people and described in her book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. After watching the TED talk and reading the book, I reached out to Dr. Taylor and interviewed her. She told me our culture has become too left-brain focused and we all, particularly men, need to get better acquainted with our intuitive, feminine, body-centered, right brain.
She introduced me to her colleague Dr. Iain McGilchrist author of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Train and the Making of the Western World. Dr. McGilchrist says, that the right and left brains perform the same basic functions, but in very different ways.
“The two hemispheres have styles — takes, if you like, on the world. The left hemisphere’s goal is to enable us to manipulate things, whereas the goal of the right hemisphere is to relate to things and understand them as a whole. These two ways of thinking are both needed but are, fundamentally at the same time, incompatible.”
Dr. McGilchrist concludes saying,
“We behave like people who have right hemisphere damage that treats the world as a simple resource to be exploited. It’s made us enormously powerful. It’s enabled us to become wealthy, but it’s also meant that we’ve lost the means to understand the world, to make sense of it, to feel satisfaction and fulfilment through our place in the world.”
Reconnecting with our right-brain, and letting it guide our lives, allows us to balance our minds and helps us find the Quiet Confidence so many of us have lost.
8. Understand the Four Brain Characters That Drive Your Life
When I spoke to Dr. Taylor she told me that understanding the four brain characters was the crowning insight from her personal experience and studies of neuroscience. In her follow-up book, Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Your Life she offers a very simple, yet powerful set of practices, that can help us understand and get in touch with the four characters that make up our brains.
“There is now convincing neuroanatomical evidence of the existence of four brain characters,”
says Dr. Taylor.
“There is a thinking character and an emotional character. Neuroanatomically these four groups of cells make up the left and right-thinkingcenters of our higher cerebral cortex, as well as our left and right emotional centers of our lower limbic system. The better you know your Four Characters, the easier your life will become.”
Character 1. This rational character in your left-brain thinking brain character and is amazingly gifted at creating order in the external world. This part of your brain defines what is right/wrong and what is good/bad based upon its moral compass. It is also our left-brain Character 1 that triggers our stress response since it is a perfectionist in all it does and stays alert to what will help us survive.
Dr. Taylor suggests we name each of our brain characters as a way to begin to become intimate with these unique characters within us. She calls her Character 1, Helen. “She is hell on wheels and gets things done.”
I call my Character 1, Jaydij for Just Do It, Jed. This character is action oriented, takes no prisoners. He is impatient and jumps to creating solutions, often before he gets all the facts. Rather than taking his time–On your mark, get set, go–he often “goes off” quickly, never needing to get ready or set. This can, and often does, cause problems with relationships.
As you get to know your own Character 1, you will come up with your own name and learn his or her characteristics. Dr. Taylor lists some of the characteristics of Character 1 as follows:
- Organizes and categorizes everything.
- Divides people into we and they.
- Is protective of our people and suspicious of their people.
- Critically judges right and wrong, good and bad.
Character 2. The left-brain emotional character is preoccupied with one vital question: “Am I safe?” This is the core issue for any intimate relationship as well as our very survival through our long evolutionary history.
Character 2 is often powered by a familiar feeling of unease that stems from either a traumatized or out-of-control past. As a result, this Character 2 part of our brain may end up feeling either “less than” or “not worthy.” It can also bring up fears of abandonment. That’s why I call my Character 2, Aban.
A great deal of the conflicts I have had in relationships can be traced back to my fears that my safety and security needs were being threatened.
Dr. Taylor says some of the most important characteristics of Character 2 include:
- Gets angry and blames others when upset.
- Feels guilty and internalizes shame.
- Loves conditionally and has negative self-judgment.
- Experiences a great deal of anxiety and worry.
Where Characters 1 and 2, address issues of our past and future and how we can use things and people, our right brain Characters 3 and 4 are all about the present moment and how we can connect with others and appreciate their uniqueness.
Character 3. The right-brain emotional, is our experiential self that seeks similarities rather than differences with other people. It wants to connect, explore, and go on adventures with others. The way the present moment feels is delicious, and sharing time, having fun, or deeply connecting through empathy can be gratifying for everyone.
I call my Character 3, Jeddy, the endearing name my wife, Carlin, calls me when we are feeling the most connected and playful. Jeddy is like a big joyful puppy dog. He is spontaneous, exuberant, unrestrained. He may unexpectedly jump into your lap and lick your face. He also can overwhelm you with his barks of delight and may even pee here and there when he is overly excited.
Dr. Taylor says some of the most important characteristics of Character 3 include:
Character 4. The right-brain thinking character which exists as our most peaceful, open, and loving self. Our Character 4 is right here, right now, and completely invested in celebrating the gift of life with immense gratitude, acceptance, openness, and love. I call my Character 4, The Lovers. My Tarot deck says the card VI, Lovers, is “symbolized by the conjoined male and female, is the law of union—oneness through the marriage of opposites.”
“This is the part of our consciousness, right thinking brain that we share with one another and all other life,” says Dr. Taylor. “I see the brain cells underlying our Character 4 as the portal through which the energy of the universe enters into and fuels every cell of our body. It is the all-knowing intelligence from which we came, and it is how we incarnate the consciousness of the universe.”
Dr. Taylor says some of the most important characteristics of Character 4 include:
We can summarize all eight practices for developing Quiet Confidence as follows:
1. Tune Into Your Soul’s Calling.
2. Heal Your Family Father Wound.
3. Embrace Your Male Generational Lineage.
4. Accept Your Animal Maleness.
5. Be True to Yourself.
6. Follow the Golden Thread of Your True Self.
7. Get to Know Your Right Brain.
8. Understand the Four Brain Characters That Drive Your Life.
I am considering offering an on-line workshop for those who would like to learn more about “The Hidden Secret of Becoming a Sexually Successful Man.” If you are interested, please drop me an email to Jed@MenAlive.com and put “Sexual Success” in the subject line and I will send you more details (It will be open to both men and women).
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