Soul of the Work #12: Trust, Mistrust, and Distrust

December 5, 2015

in Recent News, Soul of the Work

by Ed Gurowitz

When I talk with MKP brothers about membership or participation in MKP USA, I often encounter what I would judge to be a mistrust of “organization.” While this might be expressed toward MKP, with a little probing I find it really is a mistrust of organizations in general. I’m using the word “mistrust” rather than “distrust” here on purpose. While both words indicate a lack of trust, distrust is often based on experience or reliable information, while mistrust is often a general sense of unease toward someone or something. For example, you might distrust the advice of someone who has given you bad advice in the past, and you might mistrust advice from a stranger.

In my conversations with MKP men, I find both. Men who have been around MKP a long time, particularly since before the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team studies of 2009 and 2010, exhibit distrust – they have what in their judgment is evidence or experience that justifies the lack of trust. In the case of brothers initiated since 2010, it’s more like mistrust of MKP or organizations in general.

I suggest that in both cases, the lack of trust is rooted in cultural shadows. Much of shadow is based in “me vs. the other,” “us vs. them,” and other victim tropes. Every one of us can point to times, beginning in elementary school or even before, when we felt persecuted, dominated, used, and abused by organizations – schools, clubs, churches – we each have our story, and they’re all valid. Much of this victimization occurred at a time in our lives when we were, arguably powerless or disempowered, and we did what we needed to do to survive, and we took on the beliefs that supported our surviving – that’s the origin of shadow.

Since 2010, MKP USA has made an intentional (and I judge good-faith) effort to clean up the historical reasons for distrust and to counter mistrust with facts and actions designed to demonstrate that it is a different kind of organization – an organization that exists to serve and further the missions of the circles that comprise it, from I Groups through communities, areas, and interest  circles (for example, the NWTA Leader Body, Elder Councils, LKS Councils and the recently formed IGFT Instructor body). MKP Support Services, the national circle of men, paid and unpaid, that support the other circles, exists for that reason – to make sure grassroots efforts are supported and to minimize duplication and re-inventing the wheel.

So I’m inviting us to examine the shadows around our trust, mistrust, and distrust of MKP and to do a clearing – what are the data, what are our judgments, what are our feelings? Then identify and own our projections and ask ourselves how we show up with this judgment or projection? Are we willing to see our relationship with MKP as a projection of some part of ourselves that we hide, repress, or deny, and are we willing to own those projections and withdraw them from MKP and the men who serve us so we can see them more clearly?

And finally, are we willing to heal the relationship? What do we want for ourselves and from MKP? Suppose we could get all that we want – what will we have that we really want? then let’s create that for ourselves.

As one who is active in MKP USA at the local, area, and national level, I’ve had to ask myself these questions and clear myself of my projections. I invite you to do the same and then to create, on a blank canvas, the relationship with MKP USA that will serve you – that’s all we’re there for!

While it’s not immediately obvious, there is a comment section on these posts – I’m very interested in a dialogue with you and hearing what you have to say about them – please comment and pass the post on to your brothers.

Ed G.

Ed G.

Till next time, Aho!
Out with Gratitude,

Ed Gurowitz

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The ManKind Project is a global nonprofit [501 (c)(3)] charitable organization that conducts challenging and highly rewarding programs for men at every stage of life. The ManKind Project supports a global network of peer-facilitated men's groups where men mentor men through the passages of their lives. The ManKind Project empowers men to missions of service, supporting men to make a difference in the lives of men, women, and children around the world. We help men through any transition, men at all levels of success, men facing almost any challenge. Our flagship training, described by many as the most powerful men's training available, is the New Warrior Training Adventure. The ManKind Project (MKP) is not affiliated with any religious practice or political party. We strive to be increasingly inclusive and culturally aware.