Practicing Solidarity. If you’re like most of us, you will find it easier to imagine solidarity with those with whom you share obvious similarities. Do you avoid imagining solidarity with certain groups of people? Those instantly justifying thoughts that go through your mind are a clue to the groups that you defend yourself against. Solidarity is both a perspective and an experience. If you are used to being in a privileged place in society, you won’t find solidarity by serving meals at soup kitchen. In fact, you may end up simply pitying the “poor souls” who march by. If you stick with it over time, this might change. But quicker results can come from making yourself dependent on people very different from you. So instead, if your roots are in Christian Europe, consider visiting a Muslim mosque—all the better if the language is different. Let yourself feel the dis-ease, the vulnerability and the visibility. That kind of experience can help you find a stance of solidarity with the marginalized around us.
Facing Pain. Think of the people that you spend the most time with: your closest friends and family. Do you have any means by which to create opportunities to hear each other’s pain so that you can be a healing presence to each other? Or is it all too natural to avoid bringing such things up with each other? Know that if nothing painful has come up in the last few months or even years, it’s not because there hasn’t been anything painful. How can you create openness to “be there for each other”—to provide a “safe emergency” that will enable deep healing in the most natural context. Trying out the sharing of “highs and lows” as mentioned earlier could be a starting place.
Inviting Accountability. Many men are familiar with accountability when it comes to asking a friend or mentor to support them as they give up an addiction like pornography or alcohol. But few of us invite accountability when we want support for making significant lifestyle changes. One way to live more intentionally without preaching to your friends is to ask for support from friends in a change that you want to make. For example, let’s say you want to go car-free. You could ask friends if they would support this decision by “renting” their car to you on those few occasions when you need one (while making it clear that you are not hinting that they should offer you rides all the time). In this way you are seeking support and modelling change at the same time.