On our podcast ‘Tales That Tethr’, tethr Founder & CEO Matt Zerker interviews entrepreneurs, experts, thought leaders, and regular people about what is means to be a man, the challenges that modern men face, and how to overcome challenges and live life in a more connected and authentic way.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be part of a community of men who support each other unconditionally. Here are my thoughts on how to build trust, safety, mutual support, and brotherhood.
More than ever men are looking to live more authentic, connected, and purposeful lives.
The problem is that many men have internalized outdated beliefs about what it means to be a man.
As modern men living in a connected world, we have a unique opportunity to build communities with one another that provide support, guidance, and meaning.
Here are the principles and guidelines we use to guide our community here at tethr.
1. We all need a community around us — no man is an island!
None of us are an island, nor should we be.
We’ve evolved as humans in communities and lost much of that in the modern world. Not only do we all need a sense of belonging and community, we crave it deep within ourselves.
tethr is a platform for all men regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, or economic status to meet, share openly, and support each other in a mutual quest to become better men for ourselves and everyone our lives touch.
Let this space be your community for honest connection, judgement free support, and true brotherhood.
2. Have patience for another man’s process
We are all at different stages in our lives and at different parts of our journey. It can be hard to feel like you’re just at the beginning and the climb can seem daunting from the bottom.
It’s also hard not to compare where we are with someone who appears to be further along.
Sometimes it feels like we will never ‘get there’.
It’s for this reason that it’s crucial to be patient with the other men you meet in our community and let them know that no matter how much they are struggling, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
3. Meet a man where he is, not where you think he ought to be (this includes yourself)
We all wish we were further along. We all wish that we were more, better, faster, stronger.
But sometimes we’re not.
Sometimes where we are doesn’t look all that glamorous and it can feel like progress isn’t being made.
That’s why it’s important to not put expectations on where you feel a man ‘should’ be or what you feel he ought to be doing.
As humans, sometimes we are only capable of doing so much. Understand that everyone you meet here is doing the best they can with what they have — and so are you.
Meet a man where he is knowing that your patience and understanding could make all the difference.
4. Reaching out for the support you need is a sign of strength
Everyone needs help sometimes. As men, we often find it hard to ask for help because we’ve been programmed to believe it’s a sign of weakness — but it’s not.
Imagine telling someone with a broken leg to suck it up and keep walking.
The same goes for how you’re feeling. Asking for support is the same as asking for physical support if you couldn’t walk.
We all experience disappointment, regret, and feel depressed. Oftentimes it feels like our problems are insurmountable.
It is precisely in those moments that it’s most important to reach out to a man in this community and let him know you need his help.
Not only will this help you, it will help the other man as well.
5. Reaffirm how another man is feeling and let him know it’s OKAY
As part of this community we honor every man’s experience exactly as it’s happening in the present moment.
We do not aim to change how they feel or try to fix the problem.
As men we tend to want to fix things and help, which is a commendable trait.
However, our goal in this community is to drive other men deeper into the experience he is having. If he is angry, affirm that you can see how angry he is and that’s okay.
If he is sad, let him know that you can feel his sadness and that you’ve known sadness like that too.
We all come from common experience and it is important we let another man experience fully what he is going through.
6. Be open and honest about where you are right now and how you’re feeling
As men, we are often taught that we need to put on a strong face and ‘man up’.
This outdated way of thinking harms us and prevents us from expressing what is really going on.
It is only through acknowledging how we’re feeling that we can truly move past the things that are holding us back.
You’ll be shocked at the positive response you get from showing up and owning what you’re feeling right now.
7. Create a space of mutual support and brotherhood
We are all struggling with something.
Just as you would wish for someone to be understanding and empathetic with whatever you may be going through, it is important to return that understanding and compassion to the men you meet on tethr.
This is a community of mutual support, respect, and brotherhood. It is by banding together in a spirit of mutual trust, openness, and honesty that we truly become stronger ourselves.
8. Honor the bravery and courage of yourself and your fellow men
It is hard to open up and talk about what’s going on — especially for men.
Some men find it harder to do this than others and we’ve all been conditioned to one degree or another to believe that as men we just need to hold things together.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Real strength comes from admitting you’re not 100% and that you need support. It is important we recognize and honor this in ourselves and other men when they show the courage to share openly.
In this way, we can validate our fellow men for being exactly who they are right now which is truly powerful.
9. Share yourself and your experience fully with other men
It is important we don’t hide here.
tethr is about transparency both with the men we support and with ourselves. It does us no good to hide in plain sight and pretend everything is okay when it really isn’t.
We are a community that honors the willingness to share openly and honestly. There are no extra points earned for putting on a strong face. That’s what got us here in the first place!
Share what is going on with you even if it doesn’t feel great to say.
We guarantee the men you’re speaking with have felt the same and will be able to hold space for what you’re going through.
10. We allow ourselves to fully feel, and make space for our brothers to fully express their feelings
We’ve all heard it before. It’s that saying that lies at the core of an outdated way of being for men. Real men don’t cry.
Well guess what — they do and we need to.
It’s not realistic to expect that just because we are men we don’t have feelings like other people. Crying or any other expression of emotional hurt is perfectly natural and totally welcome here.
Trying to hold these feelings back or pretend they don’t exist only means we are denying ourselves what we truly need.
So do yourself and every other man in this community a favor — honor what you’re feeling, feel it deeply, and let it go only when you’re ready.