Decluttering the Brain Box

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I sat in the room where with about fifteen other men.  We were all anxious and nervous because we were at a first time event for men who struggled with sex/porn addiction and we had never been to anything like that before.  We all played it cool and joked about the weekend being a time where we sat around in circles and cried.  Well, the weekend was full of times where we sat around in a circle and cried.  Many of us had never unpacked our mental boxes and that weekend was a big step toward freedom. Clutter is a reality in many men’s minds.  Their brains are full of boxes that they have created and instead of dealing with the boxes and cleaning out their mind, they find other things to do or live a life so hectic they don’t think about the clutter.  However, the clutter will eventually overpower a man’s brain and will affect every area of his life for the negative.  As men, we have to start dealing with our mental boxes and there are a few good places to start.

Deep Friendships

  1. We have a lonely epidemic in our culture as men today.  We have many acquaintances but very few close friends.  Very few men have a friend they can talk to about everything?  Many men never take the time to build a small group of friends who can be their safe place to just be themselves.  Men are notorious for acting like everything is ok when everything is falling apart.  They do this because they do not feel like they have a safe place to be themselves.  Having a small group of men who they can count as friends helps men learn how to deal with life because they feel like they are on a team and are not alone.

  2. Having other men who will call us out is another reason men should have close relationships with other men.  When we are sharing something with our wives, we can sometimes manipulate the words to get a reaction or to cause an emotion.  Men often see this in other men and can call them out on the deception.  This kind of honesty helps us learn how to be honest with ourselves.  A small group of friends should be there to help us walk in truth.  We all need a group of men we can talk to, but too often we live in a sea of acquaintances where the void of loneliness is felt deeply.

Authentic Journaling

  1. Learning how we feel is often one of the hardest parts of being authentic men.  When asked how we feel, many men shift nervously around and then answer the classic man answer, “Hungry.”  How we feel is a big part of opening up the mental boxes and dealing with the emotions that are packed in them.  This is a difficult thing for men because many men were never taught how to express their feelings.  Some men fly into fits of rage because they have pent up anger they do not know how to deal with.  A man will never see his own insecurities without a tool like journaling.

  2. Journaling can take many different forms, but essentially it is spending regular time writing.  When I started dealing with my struggles with pornography one of the best tools I learned was journaling.  Journaling opened me up to the world of feelings I had always suppressed.  Journaling is something men should engage in regularly so they can become better students of themselves and begin the process of clearing the mental clutter.  There are many ways to journal and every man should experiment and find what works best for them.  How we journal is not as important as the consistency of journaling.

Personal Mentoring

  1. We need mentors in our life as men.  Men who have gone before us in one area or another and can help us make that journey.  Mentors can be people we know, or people who create material that helps us.  The relationships can be long-term or short term depending on the need.  Too often we think a mentor is someone who is involved in every area of our life.  Some may have this luxury but often times our need is what drives us to the mentoring.  Our personal trainer at the gym has the role of helping us get in better shape, not to help us have deeper communication with our spouse.

  2. Many men think mentoring is all or nothing, when the truth is we can have many mentors in our life. The key for our mentors is we seek them out.  As we see mental boxes that we do not know what to do with, we can find other men who will help us unpack those boxes and deal with them.  We cannot sit around and wait for someone to come and ask to mentor us. Other men cannot see the myriad of boxes in our minds and ask to help us.  We have to be aggressive about our need or we will never really do anything about it.  Mentors are out there, but we have to engage to find them.  They may be authors of books or bloggers, but we still have to go find them.  Sitting around and waiting for them to find us, only gives us an excuse to do nothing and allows the mental boxes to pile up in our brain.

Decluttering the brain boxes takes time and effort.  There are no shortcuts or easy trails in the decluttering process.  One of the great benefits as we make this journey is we learn how to work through things and then we free up plenty of mental space instead of cramming our brain with more boxes.  The way to start is one box at a time.  The time to start is now.

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