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Welcome to this episode of Friday Reflections by Dad.Work!

Every Friday I share the best of what we have been doing in the Dad.Work community, to provide perspective, new ideas, and motivation for you to continue on your journey to becoming the best man, partner, and father you can be.

In this episode…

We go deep talking about:

  • Why fatherhood and masculinity are not toxic (and why that’s important)
  • Learning to trust yourself first as a man and as a dad
  • Why it’s important to give yourself a chance to be a man and also teach your sons to be men
  • Being confident and mature in order to lead our families
  • Finding your purpose in life and healing your wounds as a man and as a father
  • Being courageous enough to stand up against the society

Mentioned on this episode:

Iron John

The Art of Manliness

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

#69. Do The Hard Right Thing and Being The Intellectual Leader of Your Family – FRIDAY REFLECTIONS

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the data word podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of dad work. This is episode number 71. fatherhood and masculinity are not toxic. This is a Friday reflections episode where I go into what's real for me things I'm thinking about food for thought so that you get a better understanding of where I'm coming from, and can continue to understand where I am setting the container and how I'm setting the container of this podcast of this movement of all the work we do. So guys, I've been thinking about this one a lot. I made a post about this on Instagram recently, that's been getting a lot of traction. And there's something about this idea of toxic masculinity that is straight up wrong. Masculinity itself is not toxic. There are obviously behaviors by men that end up being toxic and not good. But it is not the fault of masculinity is the fault of those men never having been initiated into adult mature masculinity. And in fact, they are simply playing out an uninitiated unhealed boys psychology version of masculinity. So this is basically boys pretending to be men, not actual masculinity, what we need now more than ever is strong masculinity. We need men to embody more masculinity not less, but we need to do it in a way that is the mature, useful, helpful, life giving version of masculinity, not the wounded uninitiated, little boy version. So we're gonna get into that today. I hope this is food for thought for you, and would love to hear what you think. At the end of this episode, you will hear me talk a little bit about the village. Again, we are launching in less than two weeks. And I want to make sure that if this is something that seems like it would be the right step for you to do your work around a group of other intentional men, I would love for you to join us. So listen to the end to get more details on that or you can sign up for the waitlist at Dad.Work/Village. All that being said, let's jump into Episode number 71. fatherhood and masculinity are not toxic. Here we go.

Alright guys, we're gonna have a conversation today about toxic masculinity, the so called toxic version of masculinity. And I want to start by saying that masculinity and fatherhood are not actually toxic, and that we must reclaim mature masculinity and the confidence it gives us to lead fathers needed to give themselves permission to be a man to teach your boys how to be a man to teach your daughters what to look for in a man. It's not toxic. In fact, we need it now more than ever. But we're being shamed for being men, and we have nowhere to turn. Is it true? Are we bad? Are we inherently broken? Are we inherently oppressors? Should we just give into the postmodernist critical theorists who say nothing matters and that we are nothing but oppressive, dangerous forces that must be stopped? This is the kind of narrative that we're coming up against. And it's why I think so many people see masculinity as being toxic, because these are, the story is being told. And almost for good reason, which I'll get to in a second. And I don't think it started out for good reason. But we'll get to that later. And so I want to start though, by saying, you know, why is this even so dangerous? What's wrong with us? Shouldn't we all just attempt to be more, you know, balanced in our feminine side, leave the toxic masculinity in the, you know, 19th 20th century? No, we shouldn't do that. It's dangerous. Because if you believe that you as a man are inherently toxic, you not only do you have like way lower self worth, and you know, just feel terrible, because, you know, you know, as a man that you are a person, you're a human, you're a man, that's good, that is good, because it exists because you are good, because you exist, and yet, you're being told that you are bad. And it's like, okay, well, then you must not know yourself very well. You must be delusional. So you can't trust yourself in the first place. You can't trust your instincts. Ooh, that's a hard place to be suddenly you stop trusting yourself, you feel bad about yourself, you start to internalize the shame. And so you're feeling bad, you believe you're toxic, you've been told you're toxic, there's nowhere to go. Everyone's telling you that you're bad because you're a man and you are therefore more likely to abdicate responsibility to grip the touch their own moral superiority over your own. They know what's best. You're just a dangerous of fathers, though. Not some abstract ideal must lead their families, we must reclaim our confidence and being men to lead our families. The version of masculinity that society labels is toxic is in fact not true masculinity. And here's what I mean. It's immature. It's an uninitiated version of masculinity. It's actually immature uninitiated wounded boys, who have grown up into adult men and are playing out their pain insecurity and unhealed trauma. Toxic masculinity is not a repeat, not rap masculinity. It's an uninitiated immature and petulant embodiment of masculinity by boys in adult bodies. Now, it's tragic that enough men feel and act this way that society sees it as a natural state of masculinity. And so I'm sure there's some good reason, obviously, for being wary of the so called toxic masculinity. We see it play out in negative ways. But it's not the masculinity that's toxic. It is the behavior of the men who have not yet initiated themselves into full mature masculinity which I'm going to get into right now. So we'll talk briefly about this idea by exploring the archetypes in the book King warrior magician lover. And this is a an important book in the men's work movement of the 90s, the mythopoetic Men's movement at least. And the idea here is that the author's Gillette and more take the idea of union archetypes, which are not personality types per se, but like energies or patterns of behavior that underlie our actions and feelings that are found in all of us in varying degrees and Jung called this the collective unconscious versus the personal unconscious were events that happen directly to us live. And if you want to learn more about this, I highly recommend reading the book King warrior magician lover. There's also a lot of good commentary about this, particularly the one buy Art of Manliness. If you just search King warrior magician lover Art of Manliness, you'll find that on Google or elsewhere, but the idea in King warrior magician lover is that we develop an immature set of these archetypes and then must through initiation and growth embody the mature forms. So in other words, we move from boy to man psychology, as they call it. And so each main archetype mature and immature, they have shadow sides, and we must reconcile and integrate each shadow, the positive and the negative version thereof. In order to reach the so called pinnacle, if you will, of the archetype, you can almost think of it like a triangle. And in fact, this is how it is often portrayed. Visually, you have a triangle at the top is the king, for example. And then on the sides of the triangle at the bottom left would be the the tyrant, the bottom right would be the weakling. And those are the positive and negative shadow versions of the archetype. And you have the same thing in in the immature so you have the Divine Child, which leads to the king in his fullness at the top. And then you've got the positive side. And I don't mean this to be like the good side, but the active pole, if you will, the highchair tyrant of the shadow, and the weakling Prince is the passive side of the shadow. And so we've got to reconcile integrate the highchair tire and the weakling prints, see how we play out that out in our lives, heal anything that needs to be healed, so that we don't act those out regularly, so that we can then embody the Divine Child archetype. And from that through maturing, we can get them into the the king, and as we go, there will have to battle against our shadow side of the tyrant and the weakling, so that we can act out more fully the king archetype. And so I mean, you can read more about this. This is a very important book, I think, for a lot of men to read. But the point here is that this helps us to understand that masculinity today is mostly played out as immature boy psychology and or the shadow side of the archetypes. So we're either seeing immature men who are, you know, the Divine Child, the hero, the precocious child, the audible child, or we're seeing the tyrant the weakling, the sadist, the masochist, rather than the King, the warrior, you know, the magician, the lover, rather than these mature versions of masculinity. What we're seeing today is a stunted version stuck in immature boy psychology. So here's a quote to explain more what I mean from the book King warrior magician lover.

Quote, the drug dealer, the ducking and diving political leader, the wife beater, the chronically crabby boss, the Hot Shot junior executive, the unfaithful husband, the company, yes man, the indifferent graduate school advisor, the holier than thou Minister, the gang member, the father who can never find time to attend his daughter's school programs. The coach who ridicules his star athletes, the therapist who unconsciously attacks his clients shining and seeks a kind of gray normalcy for them, the yuppie all these men have something in common. They're all boys pretending to be men. They got that way honestly, because nobody showed them what a mature man is like. They're kind of manhood is a pretense to manhood that goes largely undetected as such by most of us. We are continually mistaking this man's controlling, threatening and hostile behaviors for strength. In reality, he is showing an underlying extreme vulnerability and weakness, the vulnerability of the wounded boy and quote. So the moral of the story here is that masculinity itself is not toxic. We are seeing it mostly play out in wounded uninitiated, boy psychology, and we are rightly seeing this as not healthy, and in many cases, actually toxic. So this whole discussion then has been about separating masculinity in itself, from the immature version of that, that we see playing out that we mistake for masculinity. And so that is why masculinity is not toxic. Masculinity is strong, it's purposeful, it's protective, it is good, it is necessary. It is one of the two necessary forces that show up in nature in the universe, masculine and feminine and we must reclaim mature masculinity and the confidence that it gives us to lead otherwise, a we're going to be thrown out as being human beings because we'll just be labeled as bad. But be you will throw yourself out before society gets to it because you will start to internalize the sense of shame. If you are not aware that being a masculine man is in fact good. If you identify with the throng of people now telling you that you are bad. This is what's going to happen guys. And so it was important to go through a little bit of the nitty gritty details of King warrior magician lover there to give you an understanding of what I mean by boy psychology immature masculinity, how these things can even exist. But even beyond this, the reason I think this is important for fathers is that we need to be mature and masculine and confident in order to lead our families, we must do the work it takes to integrate the shadow sides of the immature archetypes and then progress into the mature archetypes through initiation, contemplation, brotherhood, community suffering and finding meaning in our suffering, finding our purpose, healing our wounds, taking full responsibility for our lives, we must again, we must reclaim our own mature masculine chorus fathers. And this requires deep healing work as I mentioned initiation into manhood alongside other men, usually in a group setting, confidence, courage, the acceptance of responsibility and noble burden. And it's hard guys, there are very, very few examples today, which is why masculinity has been called to toxic in the first place, because the vast majority of men are acting out an immature version thereof. But the consequences of continuing to believe that we are inherently bad for being men is extreme insecurity, loss of direction, lack of confidence, lack of self worth, deep shame, nihilism, mistrust of other humans and descent into fatalism and fixed mindset, not showing up to lead and encourage our children and eventually passing an even worse version of these on to our children. So this is why we must do the work. This is why we need to lead by being the first to break the cycle, identify, heal and alchemize your wounds men, contemplate, study and develop confident beliefs and values. Be courageous enough to stand up against a society that is headed for ruin if you don't, because it is the right thing to do. As I said in my Friday reflections last week, we must do the right hard thing. Not the thing that's comfortable, not the thing that society is telling us is true because the majority of people think that way. We need to do what is right and you can tap into that by becoming more of a mature masculine man by developing confidence by developing self awareness by being comfortable in your own skin. By training your body by being more self aware and present. Masculinity and fatherhood are not based on dominance and malevolence, but in protection, nuance, humility, strength, encouragement, leadership, purpose and deep supportive love. We must optimize parenting for truth, the development of self worth and goodness, not for fitting into a society that values comfort, mediocrity and victimhood. We have to teach our children courage by standing against the assertion that we are fundamentally bad. Because we are men. We need to be humble and curious, yes, but confident in our masculinity. And so guys, the moral of the story here is that masculinity and fatherhood are absolutely not toxic. The thing that is true is that most men are uninitiated and wounded boys playing manhood, and they're not doing a very good job. And we see this because there are wars, we see this because there's ego we see this by career politicians, and by crony capitalism, and all sorts of power dynamics that are unhealthy where men have power over rather than power to influence. We see a play out all the time. And yes, that is bad, that behavior is bad. Sure, nobody should accept toxic behavior, but it is not masculinity doing that. In fact, if they were acting as men, if they were masculine, none of these things would be happening in the first place. So this is a this is my call for you to re examine your relationship with masculinity, how you see it in yourself, how you can see it coming about in your children, how you can prepare your children to deal with it in the world and to respect it and to honor it. And also to in sure that they hold it to a high standard, so that they do not allow it to fall back into being toxic. So I guess this is sort of there's a, there's sort of a micro and a macro here the macro is that I think society needs strong men to stop it from going downward from taking advantage of people from not being fair from not being loving for not being open, compassionate and supportive. And on the micro level, we need to understand that this is true that masculinity is not toxic, because otherwise we are very prone. I see this all the time. We are very prone to internalizing the shame that we ourselves are bad because we are men. That is not right. So there's a very important societal impact here there's a very important impact on the individual lives of men that I want to see reversed. This is not popular with the current narrative. This is not the PC thing to say. But I hope I've done at least a small amount of justice to the topic to get you thinking at the very least reading these books King warrior magician lover, going through your own life healing what you need to heal, letting go of the behaviors that are showing up in your your shadow archetypes, or your immature archetypes and developing a life that is securely rooted in mature masculinity.

I think I'm gonna leave it there guys, if you want to talk about this more, I encourage you to read the book. You can also read iron John, which is another important sort of mythopoetic Men's movement book, written by Robert Bly, that goes into a little bit more about the journey of boy to man, if you're interested in initiation and what that looks like in your own life and the lives of your, your children. And otherwise, once you do that, if you have more thoughts on this, please let me know Instagrams probably the best place dad worked, Curt, we'd love to hear from you. Before we wrap up, I just want to remind you that in about a week and a half, on the last week of March, we are launching and opening the doors to the village by dad work. This is our training and brotherhood community, you will get access to a group of men doing this type of work together to become better men, partners and fathers. And, guys, this is what I wish I had, going through my own journey as a father, and I'm so excited to create this with you. So this is going to be an online place where you can do our course conscious fatherhood, you can come to live calls with us, you can watch the workshops live or recorded that we're having experts, record for us and bring for us, you can jump on a q&a office hours call with me, you can talk to the men in the online forum, there's so much you're gonna be able to do in there. And at the very least, you get to hold yourself accountable and the other men in there will hold you accountable, to grow and heal in the way that you need to do to become this mature masculine content, confident man. So I'd love for you to join us go to Dad.Work/Village and you can sign up for the waitlist and I'll be launching to the waitlist one day before we launch to the rest of the list. So if you're on that waitlist, you will have a first chance I think we'll probably let only about 20 guys in the start. And that is your best way to do it. So go to Dad.Work/Village and sign up for the waitlist and hope to see you in there in a couple of weeks time. Alright guys, thank you for listening to this. I hope it was Food for Thought we'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Make sure you enjoy the weekend. Spend some time with your children. Put your phones down, leave them away for the weekend. See if you can do even one day without them and be present for you. Your partner and your children. Enjoy the weekend men

that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to that's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL'll find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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