Jean-Paul is a high profile endurance athlete who is a veteran of over 80 marathons, in addition to numerous ultra marathons. In 2012, he represented Canada in the prestigious Comrades Marathon in South Africa, a grueling 90km race through mountainous terrain.
In 2014, Jean-Paul ran the iconic Boston Marathon twice in the same day to raise funds and awareness for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Jean-Paul is the guiding force behind Menup.ca, a movement to build a community in which men are free to support one another, and to challenge male stereotypes that limit our growth and prevent us from engaging in authentic and supporting relationships.
“It’s not the days in your life but the life in your days.” – Lance Armstrong
1. Be Willing to Open Up about Your Pain
We all have pain.
We all have trauma, whether we acknowledge it or not.
We are all flawed and imperfect beings.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
As a man, you need to be willing to open up to other people about your pain.
Be willing to bear your soul and be truly vulnerable with other people in your life.
You will often find that your fears about inadequacy and judgement are entirely unfounded, and the important people will do whatever they can to support you and love you through your pain.
2. Hurt People Hurt People
As a society, we do not address the problem of hurting people.
What we fail to realize is that it is a vicious cycle and hurt people end up repeating their experience by hurting someone else.
It is your duty to not only heal your own hurt but to also be available to other men in your life who are hurting but will not show it.
It is your responsibility to eliminate and eradicate hurt whenever and wherever possible.
You never know when that one kind word, when that one invitation for coffee, or that one offer for help will change someone’s life and prevent them from destroying someone else’s.
3. Learn to Balance Your Masculine Nature
As men we have both feminine and masculine energies.
And it is essential that we learn how to balance these energies.
We must learn how to be tough, strong, and unflappable, while simultaneously being open, vulnerable, and direct about our feelings and emotions.
One of the greatest challenges that we as men face is learning how to balance our two sides, and understanding how the masculine and feminine polarities affect out future.
The first step is to figure out which energy you lack and do the necessary work to build up more of that energy in your life starting today.
4. Get Deeper with the People in Your Life
Quit the surface layer, b.s. interactions.
A few quick hellos and an “I’m fines” are not enough.
You need to go deeper.
Start diving into more personal and emotional conversations with people in your life.
Figure out what is really going on inside other people’s heads.
Uncover what is really going on.
What pain are they experiencing? What pain are you experiencing? What is going great? What needs work?
You will never know if you don’t ask.
As soon as you finish reading this article, I want you to call up someone and ask them how they are doing… I mean how they are really doing.
You will be surprised at the answer.
5. You Are not Your Past
No matter what was in your past, it does not define you.
If you were an addict, a criminal, a liar, a cheater… It doesn’t matter.
All that matters and the only thing that defines you is who you are right now.
In this very second.
Who are you going to be moving forward?
Let go of your past.
Accept it, own it, and use it to inform yourself in your future endeavors.
But do not define yourself by it.