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As someone who came into the world shortly after feminism, I have been told pretty much my whole life that it’s all men’s fault, that men are plotting to hold me (and all women) back, and that men are the enemy.

Like all social constructs of reality, for a long time I accepted this widely touted idea as fact. Because that’s just how things are, right?

Or are they?

Actually, almost everything we hold to be true about the world we live in, how it works, and what it all means are ideas that we have been taught, pretty much from birth, are truth when in fact much of it is simply the way people think the world works at that moment.

One of my favorite authors, Don Ruiz, calls this idea “the parasite” and it is all of the thoughts and beliefs implanted into your consciousness by your parents, family, friends, religion, community, and the very society you belong to. Like a computer’s operating system, it runs invisibly in the background, affecting your thoughts, feelings, and life choices without you even realizing it.

Realizing all of these things you have always held as truth are in fact not facts — but simply things you were taught and at the same time taught before you had the ability to examine or question these “truths” consciously or critically, and then they became your life lens and beliefs even though you yourself did not choose them is pretty big.

Ok I will give you a minute to absorb that.

Said another way, almost everything you believe is because you were taught to believe it, not because you choose those beliefs yourself. You likely have all sorts of beliefs you have never even stopped to question or ask if you personally believe them.

Like men are the enemy. Or women (or insert group of people not like you here) are the enemy, for that matter.

Knowing this, you can examine these beliefs based upon what you have observed your whole life. Does it jive as your personal truth?

Are there bad men? Certainly. We’ve all met men (and women) who are not nice people. Or if you haven’t, count yourself very lucky (or you are somehow getting Internet on a deserted island.)

Are there good men? Or women? Yes. We’ve all met them.

One such example is a man from my Rotary group who heard my partner had suddenly departed, leaving me to care for two young children, five acres, and a small farm-based business solo right at the start of high season. Upon learning this, the man and his wife decided since he had just retired from an executive job that involved lots of travel, and that they were now suddenly together 24 x 7, and it was a bit much, that maybe they could lend a hand by agreeing he would come and mow my property once a week to help me out, get him out of the house, and because he swears he likes mowing. It “relaxes” him, he says.

And so mow he has, week after week, all through last season and then as soon as this season began there he was, asking for the gas can. Like clockwork. Week after week after week. He puts on his headset, jams to classic rock, and spends four hours saving me four hours of work I would have to fit into an already jam packed schedule otherwise. We rarely even see each other, he simply comes when he can and mows. Unless they are out of town, and then he apologizes (!) he won’t be there till they get back. He asks for nothing in return. Never has. I do give him and his wife gifts of my farm product, which they seem to enjoy but only very humbly take every fourth time I offer or so.

Is he my enemy? He is a man, after all.

No, no he is not. I could tell you dozens of other stories about other such good men (and the women who love them) and how they are anything but an enemy to me, holding me back, or ruining my life.

So there’s an example of what questioning the beliefs of the parasite can do. You realize they simply aren’t truth after all. And you experience an awakening that allows you to start seeing the world through your own personal truth. Ruiz calls this “the dream.” And we choose “the dream” if we take off the autopilot and create it.

You realize that men are people, like women, and people are good and bad and to lump them all into a single category just because they are different than you and because one or two may fit the pattern here and there — that a rule does not make.

So while this may be a mind-blowing thought for some, men are not the enemy. And believing they are may be causing a lot of your troubles you mistakenly think they (men) are causing.

Wow. Oooooommmmmmm.

So how would you rather “the dream” look? That overwhelmingly men (and all people and all life and even all life and matter and the entire universe) are not your enemy, but instead your ally?

That’s how I read it anyway, but that’s my dream, you have to decide for yourself.

Let those who have ears hear.