We aren’t very respectful to women, us men.

I’ve sat for almost two years inside the heart of a raw group of women writers and I’ve learned, deeply, that all they want is for us to listen to them. I read their charring stories about abuse, I watch in awe as they put forth into words a series of events that tell the brutal and harsh truths of what it’s like to be a woman in the world of today. What it’s like to be perceived as one and what it’s like living their life as one.

It’s not pretty.

And the mind in me, it wants to sit there and be at one with these women. I want to say: “I’m right here with you; I’m not one of those men, never in a million years will I be one of those people!  I’ve experienced things some men have killed themselves over, yet I’ve survived; and you know, us men have it really bad in other ways too!”

Us men have it really bad in other ways too!”

And that’s what the mind does. It conflates the issue. Because what they’re telling me is that it’s harsh, it’s raw and it’s reality.

It hurts me because it’s my gender, it’s hard to just sit there and listen to what they have to say. Rather than just sit there and listen to the cries of these women, I’d rather mix it with my gender issues, the plight of men; the double standards that we face and the often excruciating pressure of not being allowed any feelings.

But that’s not what’s on the table here. It’s what’s happening to women. It’s how THEY feel. And because my brain doesn’t like to listen to things that feel uncomfortable it swaps into defense mode. I’ve often found myself stating that I’m not one of these men, or that we have it bad too, or that male suicides are on the rise. Doing so is a defense mechanism, and it’s not helping.

Why can’t I just sit there and listen to what they have to say?

No-one wants to listen anymore. You see it in debates everywhere. People have a thought process in their mind and no amount of love nor money will change that. It’s very Orwellian in nature. For me the quickest part to solving a problem and coming up with a solution is trying to understand the other side of an argument. People have forgotten, or have yet to learn, understanding. It’s all about how they, themselves think. Anything outwith their circle of thinking is obsolete.

I must say I very much love being in the company of women. I have been chastised in the past for being a softer male, yet for me there’s a balance to my presence. I have been in touch with my feminine side, and I’m not scared by it. Neither does the threat to my social hierarchy put me off. And being in the presence of women I get to hear what their general problems are. And let me tell you, the message I hear is not unique.

They just want to be listened to.

Society really shot itself in the foot when we dumbed down communication. I’m noticing that men can barely communicate effectively at all anymore. Not that we were ever really good at it anyway. And I see it time and time again, the defense mode, the outcry,

Feminazi bitches

When all they want is to be heard. I tell you, I swear, if you rounded up a million women and questioned them on their biggest peeve with men, it would be that we don’t listen. No contest, absolutely none. We need to work on our communication and the way we interact with one another and then perhaps there would be no more need for gender marches; we would all be looking at the solutions already.

I sat with a man, a couple of months ago, at my kid’s friend’s birthday party. He was a respectable member of society too; Captain of the local golf team, founding member on a few local Charity trustee boards, and yet all he did was talk about the women working at the venue where the party was hosted.

Wooow – I want to smash her back doors in

And ugh, I don’t think I’ve rolled my eyes in disgust so many times. But I have that effect on people. I’m open and trustworthy and people generally feel in a safe zone around me. It’s a natural thing. Sometimes I wish I’d stop doing it!

And through this I have found a new role in life. It was to initially heal men, but I’m adding another notch to my work badge; I want to be an outlet for women, to show them that there is hope for us guys yet. If you can take me, a person that’s had literally zero respect for women in the past, and change him into someone that fully supports everything they do, then I want to wear that hope badge with pride.

As well as men, I want to empower women everywhere to keep fighting the good fight. To show them that hard work with us men can pay off. Keep doing what you’re doing because I’ll admit, even two years ago, where I believed I fully supported women, looking back I can see I am now doing so much more than I ever did before. But that isn’t to say that I’ll just stagnate because I have reached a level of awareness that I’m happy with. I’ll keep learning, keep looking into the depths of my soul and pulling out those pieces that need to be examined to help me continually grow as a person. I’ll do this by reading great women who speak awesome truths, I’ll bounce ideas off my wife, and I’ll continually evolve as a man.

And this is what you should be doing, whether male or female – always trying to better understand the other sex by analysing ourselves and learning from others so that we can become better for one another.

We coexist as a society.

Let’s be better for one another.