You can’t escape it – whether it’s online, on the radio, on television, in your newsfeed, or the checkout line – stories of well-known men and a few women who have been accused of sexual harassment or worse. The accused run the gambit from actors, directors, producers, politicians, businessmen, civic leaders, to pastors. Those who know them sadly report they’ve known or heard about these accusations for years, but said nothing.
Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. Humanities’ history is ripe with rumor and realization that the men and women we revered were not the leaders we believed them to be. Which lead us to ask, “How could they do so much good, have so much, and still do these things?” Great question.
First, I am not here to trash them or diminishing their accomplishments. That wouldn’t be right or helpful. What I hope to help you understand is that when men grow up learning to compartmentalize their life, it will always result in a compromise. Let me explain.
Men have the ability to compartmentalize their thoughts, their feelings, and as a result, their actions. That’s the way we are made. Women, for the most part, don’t have this ability. For them, everything, thoughts, feelings, and actions are all connected. However, as boys grow into manhood, they learn that compartmentalizing is “normal” for men. They learn to suppress and separate their feelings, because, “Big boys don’t cry.”
Further on, they learn that showing weakness leads to being bullied. So, they compartmentalize the hurt and fear, act strong, powerful, and in control to protect themselves and those they care about. This leads to comparing and competing with other men, distrusting and distancing themselves from developing any fellowship of friends. After all, that’s what men do, right?
However, along the way, they also learn that when they do something they are not proud of or that makes them feel guilty, they can rationalize and thus compartmentalize that guilty “pleasure,” falsely believing that it won’t affect their character or the good things they are doing that everybody sees.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Just as, “One bad apple makes the whole bushel rotten,” compartmentalizing unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, will eventually affect and infect their present-day relationships.
- Compartmentalizing doesn’t make bad behavior better. Moreover, your behavior is a product of your feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. Betray your beliefs, and you betray the man you strive to be.
- Compartmentalizing gives you permission to continue unhealthy thoughts and behavior that if others knew about, would change their opinion of and, potentially, their trust in you.
- Right from wrong gets confusing and compromised. Compartmentalizing only makes the darkness of your thoughts and feelings darker. This leads to feeling more isolated and lonely, even in your own home.
- Compartmentalizing sabotages healthy intimacy in a relationship. Compartmentalizing leads to keeping part of your life secret, guarded, and separate from what people see – secrets like pornography, gambling, affairs, alcohol, or drug addiction. Consequently, because of your secrets, you can’t allow your loved ones to truly know you, because the dark part of you stinks like rotten apples.
- Compartmentalizing prevents you from getting the help you need. Unhealthy habits are often the “quick fixes” used when you try to heal your own hurts. Suppressed anxiety, depression, PTSD, or fear of failure will all lead you to try to fix the problem yourself – only to find out that the fix has only caused more problems and frustration.
Unfortunately, men are prone to compartmentalize their thoughts, feelings, and behavior, but you don’t have to be that kind of man. You can learn how to resist and refuse to compartmentalize your life. You can learn how to face and overcome your faults, failures, and fears. You can learn to forgive yourself and others, thereby unleashing the potential to become the man you’ve aspired to be, but didn’t know how to.
I hope today’s blog has encouraged you. Make sure you sign up to receive blogs posted every Tuesday and Thursday. TransformingFamilies.org resources are designed to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man God created you to be.
I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.