Men’s lifestyle bubble
Men’s lifestyle bubble
In 2012, a bunch of men sat in a room in Goonellabah and listened to Serge Benhayon introduce the concept of the Lifestyle Bubble. It was an inauspicious start for such a groundbreaking concept, but for many men who were there that night, it was the start of something life-changing.
In the beginning there was discomfort at the thought of becoming introspective enough to question one’s own identity and what it is to be a man.
For some, it was confusing at first, such was their attachment to the version of manhood they had sold to themselves.
Amidst the sea of folded arms and crossed legs however, there was also a palpable sense of relief in the room that here was someone who understood them and did not judge or condemn their choices or their foray into those aspects of masculinity we all embrace at times, but which do little but bring harm upon the world and those around us.
It’s not an easy thing to accept that tenderness is our innate nature. It is not an easy thing to accept our sensitivity as men. It is not easy to remember that whilst we might not be these now, we were at least once – perhaps when we were very young. But few boys survive the passage into manhood unscathed and intact.
It starts with little things: being ridiculed for crying, being asked to take to the football field and dominate another when all you really want to do is play, a stiff rebuke from your father when all you crave is to be hugged. And they are little things, but to a boy who feels the world in its entirety, those moments take their toll, and in time they erode his sense of being, and so nearly every boy hardens to the world and if he doesn’t, then he struggles to find his place.
So if the world rejects you for the precious being you are, where do you turn as a man? In recent years, the media has started to question the quintessential male stereotype, and well they should.
However, they have only begun to touch the tip of the iceberg, for the male condition runs deep, and from a young age all boys start to create a façade around them that in time becomes their identity. They start working out who they need to become. Robbed of their ability to look inward for such answers, and acutely sensitive of feeling rejected, they start to look outside of themselves for their identity.
A large part of their identity starts with the obvious things – the type of job a man is drawn to, the type of relationship he seeks. Will he seek success, or will he seek escape from society? What hobbies will he take on to keep him occupied in the quiet moments in between?
And then it gets a little more subtle. What personality traits will serve him to survive? Should he strive to be an alpha-male? Should he be introverted, or intellectual? Should he be stoic, and strong? Should he be hard working, or lazy? Perhaps he should play the clown or the no-hoper so no one expects anything of him.
If there is indeed one thing that every man is an expert at, it is carving out a successful lifestyle that in time becomes his identity, even if it is not the success we think of as success. For success for some is defined by making something of life. For others, ironically, success and identity are found in failure and struggle.
Such is the paradox of the lifestyle bubble. It is now 6 years since Serge Benhayon first introduced this concept, and many men who were there that night are still struggling to unravel the cocoon they have placed around themselves. This is not a condemnation, but an observation of just how difficult it can be for men to let go of the identity they have created for themselves.
It takes time to learn again to be sensitive, to be tender, to allow oneself to feel all the things we spend a lifetime protecting ourselves from. But believe it or not, time is on our side. It matters not if you are 17, or 70. If you are honest enough and willing to at first be vulnerable, there is a doorway that leads you back to your true being-ness. And that doorway is opened with nothing more than a willingness to be self-reflective and question that which you may have always taken for granted as being part of who you are.