While the phrase “mental health” has never been more popular, the sad truth is that men’s mental health is at an all-time low.
We shy away from tough conversations with loved ones, we don’t have a group of other men to vent with, and sometimes we have no clarity over our emotions.
But there is nothing more important as a man than your mental health. Chase Chewning, today’s guest, is the perfect example of this.
Before he started taking his mental health seriously, from the outside looking in, he had it all: Good looks, a great woman, a successful career, peak physical fitness, and the list goes on. Despite this, he felt empty inside because he completely ignored and suppressed his emotions, which took a toll on his mental health.
Today, Chase has a super power: Being vulnerable with other men and helping other men open up to him. Nothing—not his fitness, not his relationship, not his career, or anything else—has filled Chase with more fulfillment, happiness, and healthiness than focusing on his mental health.
Men’s mental health issues are one of the biggest problems facing the world today. And Chase understands, perhaps better than anyone else, the secret to improving your mental health as a man.
In this episode, Chase and I discuss:
- The negative consequences of suppressing your emotions (and how it can tear everything you cherish in life apart)
- How to get comfortable with being vulnerable (and why your vulnerability helps other men open up)
- Why having emotional clarity can unlock a deeper sense of fulfillment in life
- The cold, hard truth about life after leaving the military (and why poor mental health results in 22 veterans a day committing suicide)
Do you have the courage to be vulnerable and take the steps needed to not only improve your mental health, but the mental health of men around the world?
If you do, listen to the episode now.
The Better Man Podcast is an exploration of our health and well-being outside of our physical fitness, exploring and redefining what it means to be better as a man; being the best version of ourselves we can be, while adopting a more comprehensive understanding of our total health and wellness. I hope it inspires you to be better!
Use the RSS link to find the Better Man Podcast on other apps: http://feeds.libsyn.com/404744/rss
Show Highlights with Chase Chewning
- How leaving your mental health unchecked causes physiological manifestations that could result in severe panic attacks that look like a seizure (and how to improve your mental health before it reaches this point) (7:56)
- How to spot the physical signs that you need to work on your mental health (10:47)
- Why being vulnerable instead of suppressing your emotions actually helps you become at ease with them (even if it’s hard to open up) (11:49)
- The “Doing the Opposite” secret for improving every aspect of your mental health instead of sending it down a vicious cycle of decline (21:10)
- How sharing meaningful things with other men—even if they’re negative or unexpected—makes you feel better (24:59)
- Why “video journaling” to yourself unlocks an unprecedented amount of clarity when it comes to your emotions and mental health (32:54)
- How to use every stressor in your life, both big and small, to create unshakable trust in yourself (and why this makes being vulnerable as a man easy) (40:38)
- Why prioritizing hanging out with and opening up to other men is one of the most effective ways to fortify your mental health (47:58)
- How “getting away” from your spouse can cause pent-up resentment (and the trick for bonding with the boys without feeding resentment for your partner) (51:28)
- The insidious way your mind jumps to the worst-case scenario even though it almost never happens (1:00:26)
- The “soft” type of masculinity most guys shy away from (even though it creates stronger connections with the most important people in your life) (1:05:48)
- How to increase the levels of fulfillment, joy, and love in your marriage by practicing “choreplay” (1:08:20)
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Ever Forward Radio: Want to take the next step towards improving men’s mental health? Listen to Chase’s podcast, Ever Forward Radio, wherever you listen to podcasts.
- A day in the life of Chase Chewning: See first-hand what Chase does during his day to fortify his mental health, become more fulfilled in life, and unlock a deeper sense of happiness by following him on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/chase_chewning/
- Related Episodes: Turning Tragedy Into Triumph | Chase Chewning | Better Man Podcast Ep. 020
Dean Pohlman: What’s up, guys? It’s Dean. Welcome to the Better Man podcast. Today I am joined by a repeat guest who came in. I had one of the best conversations we’ve had on the Better Man podcast so far. We got really deep into mental health. We talked about Chase’s former experience in the military coming out of that, having PTSD, how he dealt with it, and all of the transformations that he that he’s gone through, all the things that he’s learned, all the practices that he has implemented and the work that he is now doing with his incredibly popular podcast, every forward Radio.
Dean Pohlman: So Chase, thanks again for coming back on the show.
Chase Chewning: Man Dean, My pleasure. So glad to be here. Last time we got to kick it in person at what I like to call my, my geographical mistress, I feel like I’m always in Austin, So it was great to be with you, man. I’m glad to hear that the message landed with you in the audience.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, and everybody’s here. It’s weird. Every day, ever. I’ll have, like, a conversation with someone, and they’re like, Well, next time you’re down in Austin, let me know. I’m like, I live here. What are you doing here? I got here like, I got here, like, ten years ago before it really started blowing up. Yeah. Like OG ish. I mean, dude, it’s totally different if you’ve been to Austin, like, pre 2012 and then 2013, even pre 2015, and then you go again like now and you’re like, this is like a big city.
Dean Pohlman: This feels more like it doesn’t feel like New York, but it feels like, I don’t know, it feels to me like L.A. It feels like it’s a lot different culture too. You know? You used to be able to show up in sweatpants and you were good, and now you actually have to, like, put on a shirt.
Chase Chewning: So I’m becoming there since probably like 26. My we talked about in our last podcast, my last studio session, I was in San Antonio, Texas, and I never really kind of San Antonio was all right in my opinion. But I always kind of felt a pull. I enjoyed Austin. I visited one time with some friends. They were on like a long weekend and yeah, I was hooked.
Chase Chewning: I was going to Austin a lot back in the day, so going to Austin six through 29 before I separated San Antonio separated the military to come back. Now, you know, what’s that like 15 years later or something like that? Yeah, it’s definitely changed even more, but I still love it. I come back there every so often.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I mean, it beats Midwestern weather, so, you know.
Chase Chewning: Yeah.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I’m here for it. So we had a really good conversation last time and I think if people haven’t listened to that episode already, totally fine. But would you mind just catching us up on, I don’t know, the 2 to 3 minute rundown of chase shootings journey through through mental health and PTSD and what you learn about yourself in the process a lot.
Chase Chewning: That’s to say the least. So really, my mental health journey is one kind of like out of necessity or my hand was really forced and nobody or no one else other than myself force my hand. What I mean by that is after the military, you know, I enrolled in school. I was kind of starting my life all over again, professionally, quite literally, physically.
Chase Chewning: I was rehabilitating from some pretty gnarly injuries. And you know, I was going through, I think, right about the end of my undergrad career and, you know, starting my new life again, my, you know, my new adulting career. And I was starting, you know, in a new relationship that was extremely meaningful to me and was you know, she was the one you know, she’s now my wife and all of these kind of threats.
Dean Pohlman: I don’t know I don’t know if that’s relatively new, but congrats. No, no, no.
Chase Chewning: We’ve been married. Actually, this be seven years, actually. Oh, wow. Okay. We’ve been together for about ten years. I’ll take it. I’ll take it, wise man. And so, yeah, this was circa like 2015. And I, on the surface, on the outside was doing all these right things that I think a lot of us can relate to. I’m I’m pursuing higher education.
Chase Chewning: I’m in a meaningful, committed relationship or I’m very happy in my relationship status, whatever that might be. I’m climbing the corporate ladder. You know, I just moved from Richmond up to, you know, Northern Virginia. I was going into D.C., I was getting promoted, you know, all these things. I was the strongest I had ever been physically. I was even the leanest I had ever been.
Chase Chewning: So a lot of things on the outside looking in were wins. I was checking the boxes. I was like, got the girl, got the job, got the body, got the, you know, social life, got all these things. But the thing about mental health is that it’s not just literally something in our head. It’s something that when it goes unchecked for at least in my experience, a significant period of time, we do begin to unfortunately have these kind of physiological manifestations.
Chase Chewning: And now again, in my experience, I was undiagnosed PTSD at the time and I was just chronically suppressing very, very extreme emotions. And it just it one one day it just one in the form of probably like the most severe panic attack that I’ve ever experienced. You know, And I say severe because, you know, eyes rolling in the back of my head, you know, hyperventilating to the point of my chest, just completely caving in.
Chase Chewning: Luckily, my, you know, then girlfriend now wife was with me at that time. She’s a nurse. So, you know, I was she was kind of very aware of the situation. She actually thought I was going into a seizure. And so and she was just like, what? What the hell happened here, CHASE And what it was that we were watching this movie and there was a death scene that was almost identical to the one that I witnessed with my father.
Chase Chewning: That is the root cause of my PTSD, and I just completely blacked out. I had no idea all of a sudden she was like over top of me trying to resuscitate me. And I all I thought was we were just watching a movie. Now all of a sudden, like, I can’t breathe. I’m laying down on the couch, drenched in sweat, and she’s like, shaking me, trying to wake me up.
Chase Chewning: And that was quite literally my body screaming, finally screaming to get my attention to go chase. None of this other stuff matters because you you have not yet addressed this and this is a way bigger thing than you are making it out to be. And that was the physical and literal and emotional and mental and even spiritual wake up call that I needed because it also rattled my cage in terms of my relationship.
Dean Pohlman: With?
Chase Chewning: My girlfriend. May at that time there, she realized that this was such a significant part of my life that, you know, she wanted me to work on and more specifically needed me to work on because we kind of danced around it before she knew where my head in my heart was at in terms of, you know, my father’s death and, you know, how I’m being able to, you know, commit to healing and working on myself in a lot of other ways.
Chase Chewning: But she’s like, Chase, you know, I need you to work on this. I want you to work on this for you. But more specifically, you know, I want all of you to be healed, or at least on the path to healing if we’re going to be committing our lives to each other, like this is a very extreme thing going on that you’re clearly not working on.
Chase Chewning: And so that was my body waking me up to the necessity of mental health work and honestly, Dean, if I didn’t have her kind of, you know, in a way kind of passed back, that that relationship ultimatum of like, hey, you need to work on this or I don’t know what we’re going to do. It was I was more concerned about losing her and our relationship suffering than I was about taking care of myself.
Chase Chewning: And that was just true to form for my mental health protocol for four years. And, you know, maybe somebody can can relate to that. Sometimes taking care of ourselves, we don’t care about as much. But when it comes to doing it for the sake of someone else, like a partner, like a loved one, like a family member that was more meaningful for me.
Chase Chewning: So that’s what really snapped me too. And I then began to just make mental health work a priority. Getting back into regular therapy, journaling, brain dumping, just honestly not shutting up. You know, I realized, okay, this is turning in. This is turning into something because I’ve been suppressing and I’ve been like holding in this beach ball that has been this traumatic event and it’s finally come up for air.
Chase Chewning: So I began to just talk about it. I was like, if suppressing it has not helped me, what if I just opened up to myself, to people that I love and trust? And, you know, that’s been kind of my my journey ever since, quite literally, because now I don’t shut up. And that’s, you know, I think a big reason, but kind of got me interested in podcasting and everything I’m doing now.
Dean Pohlman: That’s that’s a perfect that’s an ideal career shift. Then if you if you can’t shut up but like that’s that resonates me so much because I think that at least my experience, whether I consciously or subconscious ously learned it, was that my role as a man was to kind of just suck it up and like, do what I needed to do, right?
Dean Pohlman: Suck it up, do your homework, suck it up. Like due to all the do all the things that you’re committed to suck it up. Do you know, be the one who works extra hard And a lot of that, you know, a lot of that has has served me extremely well. You know, like, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t be the athlete that I was.
Dean Pohlman: I wouldn’t be, you know, I wouldn’t have the level of the level of success that I currently have. I wouldn’t be who I am without, you know, the without this kind of internal driver to always just like it’s a fuel source.
Chase Chewning: Absolutely.
Dean Pohlman: Absolutely. But, you know, at some point it gets to this point where I’m doing I’m taking on too many things. I’m taking on too many burdens. And I’m not stopping and saying this is too much for me. Like I don’t like this doesn’t this this doesn’t feel good anymore. Like I can take on more and more and more.
Dean Pohlman: I remember my friend, my friend was getting married and he his friend, the best man. I was at the bachelor weekend. He was asking me about the girl that he was getting married to. And he’s like, Is he going to treat her well? And I was like, What does it matter? Like, he’s he’s she’s going to be fine.
Dean Pohlman: Like he’ll shorter, whole shoulder, all of it. Like, it doesn’t matter. She just is going to be the rock. He’s going to do what needs to be done. It doesn’t matter if he’s happy or like not that he’s not happy, but it doesn’t matter if he’s like, you know, he just needs to do what he’s supposed to do.
Chase Chewning: It doesn’t matter if it’s too much or if it’s too much or too long. Absolutely.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And it was just like, you know, so for me now, I’m very, you know, I don’t know if that’s the same, but it’s similar in the sense that my kind of thing now is I’m trying to reaffirm the importance of like taking care of myself and justify that. And I still have a lot of conversations with people where, you know, like, I’ll give you example, like a couple of weeks ago, I or a few weeks ago, right before my wife gave birth, she was in the hospital and I was like, well.
Chase Chewning: Congrats again, by the way.
Dean Pohlman: Thank you. Thank you. She is sometimes she is awful and sometimes the baby. Sometimes she is awful and sometimes she is. She is great. So, you know, that’s newborn life. But I was you know, she was in that my wife is in the hospital just kind of keeping her just in case the pregnancy developed. And they were you know, they had to induce labor.
Dean Pohlman: But I decided like, well, she’s in the hospital. I’m going to go take care of myself because I know that I’m not going to be getting much sleep. I’m not going to have much time for the next few weeks. So I decided to go for a hike, you know, And initially, like, my wife is like, oh, I’m in the hospital and you’re hiking.
Dean Pohlman: Sounds right. You know, she she wasn’t happy initially. And then I and then I told my and then I had a call with my dad, like as I was hiking, I was like, yeah, you know, I decided I would go out and like, kind of take care of myself. He’s like, Well, if you can justify that somehow, then okay, But you know, it’s like there’s these, you know, we still don’t I don’t know.
Dean Pohlman: You know, you’re maybe you’re listening. You’re like, No, Dean, you shouldn’t have gone on a hike. But like, for me, like, I think it made sense for me to go on a hike to take care of myself in that situation. And I think we need to make more of an effort to normalize this idea of of of taking care of ourselves.
Dean Pohlman: Because ultimately, it makes it it makes us better for all the people around us. Like if I’m an angry if I’m an angry person, like, I could be at home and helping. But are you going to want my help if I’m just like, pissed off about it?
Chase Chewning: Right, Exactly.
Dean Pohlman: So, so that’s why I was I was it’s kind of cool to hear that, you know, that that before we started this call, it’s kind of cool to hear that you’ve had more of these conversations with with other men, not necessarily the main focus, but somehow you got into this topic of mental health with other men and and realizing like, oh, you know what?
Dean Pohlman: I’m actually better at all the things that are important to me when I focus on my mental health. So I wanted to ask you about some of those conversations that you’ve had and and that realization that when we do take care of our mental health, other things get better too.
Chase Chewning: Yeah. I want to say first by kind of like talking about what happens after when I talk about this stuff. And I think this is an important realization that regardless of what we’re talking about here, what we say, how we say it, and to whom we say it. Take note of their impression of how that imprints on them, of how they light up, or how they retract, how they lean in or or how they, you know, kind of turn away how someone physically, verbally, energetically responds to what we say, I think is an a really important indicator of of like it’s getting a good pulse on that conversation.
Chase Chewning: And also if we’re in tune, if we were even in attunement in that conversation with that person, that then is an opportunity is the permission that person is giving us to to share more and to most likely help or just leave a little breadcrumb to a clue that, you know, is a resource for them to to scratch that itch and to stay more curious and, you know, hopefully ultimately find help, find meaning, find, you know, something that fulfills them.
Chase Chewning: And what I mean by that is whenever I’ve had these conversations in person on the podcast or on other shows, it is the conversation we have after that just really blows me away. After we stop recording of I was not expecting that answer or I was so pleasantly shocked to hear you talk about how focusing on your mental health has actually made you healthier, has actually contributed to, you know, more success in business or the right pivot and not even in just with the other person?
Chase Chewning: You know, I’ve been in some situations actually one that comes to mind in a big way excuse me is I was recently a couple of months ago, I was in New York City and I was sitting down with a former guest of ever Ford Radio, Michael Chernow. He has a show called Creatures of Habit. And his entire brand, his theme, his messaging, his content is all around the healthy habits we have in the day.
Chase Chewning: What healthy habits can we create or what habits do we have maybe that we’re aware of or not fully aware of that we want to get rid of or do less of? Mm hmm. And he asked me this question of what’s one habit that you like? I’m kind of paraphrasing here, but basically it was like, what is one habit you have that you have been like trying to get rid of or you you’re glad that you actually have worked on, like letting go of this habit and, you know, to that point, up to that point, we were talking about sleep hygiene, you know, getting out on walks, you know, just a little healthy habits and
Chase Chewning: starting missions in your favor for your general wellness. And I told him, I said I stopped keeping things to myself. I stopped suppressing my emotions, and I started really opening up to the right people. And then it even kind of turned into, you know, specifically with other men. And that just really took him back. There was like a hard pause in the conversation and the whole crew afterwards, the videographer and the audio operator afterwards, both came up to me, both guys, and would just like thanked me for for for bringing this up for for saying for too long I had kept things that were detrimental to my health, that were hard to swallow on my
Chase Chewning: own, that were, you know, deeply, emotionally aggravating, frustrating, traumatizing evening. And they said the same thing, like, that’s me. And so I’m hearing you say this is a breath of fresh air, you know, So. So thank you. I’m so thankful for you kind of sharing that and letting other guys, letting other people hear this. And that’s exactly what I’m talking about.
Chase Chewning: You know, like the example I shared earlier with my wife of, you know, her snapping me to attention and my body snapping me to attention.
Dean Pohlman: Mm.
Chase Chewning: I had to pay attention to this. So I kind of just did the opposite. And doing the opposite in my mental health is really my personal secret sauce for literally over a decade, I ran in the other direction of facing my father’s death. I ran in the other direction of addressing anything that I experienced during his illness, during his death, during my time in the military.
Chase Chewning: And so what did I do to work on that? I made the conscious decision to turn and face it. I ran back towards it and it didn’t mean that I was any less scared. It didn’t mean that I, you know, all of a sudden just lost all fear. It just meant that I finally God’s honest truth, just stop being a coward.
Chase Chewning: And I leaned into courage. And courage does not mean the absence of fear. It is. It is acting in spite of being afraid. And I think that’s exactly what I had to do. And I would be willing to bet for most people, for a lot of people, I think leaning into courage could be the catalyst that you need or maybe even that you want, but you don’t know how to really go after these these hard things.
Chase Chewning: And then so then on top of that, what I did was I just began to open up. And so I was like, okay, if I’ve been running from these things, also caveat that with suppressing things, if I turned and face them and I also opened up about them to myself and to other people, I should say, you know, take inventory of, you know, opening up to the right people because sometimes we do get shut down and sometimes we become more traumatized or we internalize things more by opening up to somebody that doesn’t really reciprocate or can’t hold that emotional container that that that space for us.
Chase Chewning: And we feel made fun of or we feel scared or we feel like we made a fool of ourselves. We don’t feel loved, we don’t feel safe. So it’s kind of taking inventory of of opening up to the right people, I think is very important. And so that’s also what I did. And I did that by, you know, with I did it with and for myself first.
Chase Chewning: And I was saying earlier, you know, journaling brain dumping thoughts and just getting into streams of consciousness, writing it down, speaking it out loud, recording it so that I could first and foremost become aware and familiar with and adjust to thoughts and feelings that I knew that I had but just wasn’t vocalizing. But once you kind of get into that state, there are thoughts and feelings that come out.
Chase Chewning: I was like, Holy shit, I, I wear that. Who did that come from? How did that come out of me? So that was a huge indicator that shows that there’s a lot more to work on here. And I leaned into that and then once I really had something tangible where I could formulate a straight thought as to this hurts me, I think it’s related to this or this is what, you know, this event or this thing is making me how it’s making me feel.
Chase Chewning: Once I could really familiarize with familiar was myself with the action, with the emotion, and kind of convey it into a sentence in words with and for myself first, but then share that with somebody that I really loved, trusted and respected. It was a really next level help. And so that’s what has honestly over the years now has given me the most profound levels of healing, is continuously doing that on public platforms, on my social media, on my podcasts, you know, even just, you know, talking with somebody in real life, I’ve become almost maybe to a fault such an anti small talker that it bothers me.
Chase Chewning: Don’t talk to me about the weather that’s so obvious. Like, you know, that’s just I’m kind of going straight to the point of, you know, like literally like I’m going to share with you something that I have found when I share something first more meaningful than, Oh, wow, it’s raining that immediate is like a barometer weather joke here, I guess is a barometer for that other person opening up as well.
Chase Chewning: So I’m going to get a quick pulse as to I just shared something that, you know, when they asked me, hey, how is your morning? And I tell them it was, you know, honestly, it was really rough. It was really rough. I was just feeling for some reason really down. And that’s really weird for me. And, you know, I just struggled kind of getting into my normal routine this morning.
Chase Chewning: It can be something as simple as that, other than just the general. Yeah. Great. Good. Awesome. And if that gets reciprocated at all and that person then opens up to me about, Yeah, I’ve been there. I feel exactly the same way. Or they ask the question so why is this different for you? Or you know, what did you do to get out of it?
Chase Chewning: Then the channels of communication open up and what we’re actually talking about is, you know, we’re sharing emotional health, we’re sharing mental health experiences. And it’s great because it doesn’t quite look like what a lot of us think it has to look like. A lot of us think that it has to look like breaking down and sobbing and crying and, you know, revisiting painful memories or even just in sexual setting.
Chase Chewning: Exactly. But, you know, we can baby step our way to that scenario, and that might be an appropriate avenue. But first and foremost, it starts with getting clarity of these events and emotions in ourselves, sharing them with people in the right environment, the safe, trusted environment, and then see what gets reciprocated. Sometimes there’s no answer, no solution. But I guarantee you, walking away from that conversation, you’re going to feel a little bit better because you just opened up in a little bit way, a little bit way.
Chase Chewning: It’s not I’m not wording good right now, but, you know, you opened up a little bit and that is going to then give that person permission. And can I share one quick example before you kind of pass it back to you? MAN.
Dean Pohlman: Yes, I have my I have my list of counterpoints. I think I’m ready. I probably lost a few of them, but keep going. I’m sorry.
Chase Chewning: This just this example pops in my mind that I think is so poignant to what I’m talking about. To the point of avoiding small talk. I want meaningful, small talk. We’re going to be conveying words, exchanging words for a short period of time. I would rather it be a little bit more meaningful than the weather personally.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, like exactly the opposite of how we started this podcast talking about.
Chase Chewning: But, you know, here we are and here we are.
Dean Pohlman: We made it. We got here eventually.
Chase Chewning: So I was actually I took an Uber to one of one of my last in-person psychotherapy sessions. I went through several rounds of ketamine, assisted psychotherapy in a clinic here in L.A. last year, and I took an Uber to go there and I got in the car and the driver started talking about the weather and the traffic, as one does.
Chase Chewning: And he then was like, you know, traffic was really crazy. I think she was asking like, you know, where are you going? Maybe, you know, I might know a different way. And I told him specifically where I was going, the clinic. And like then all the information’s in the name. And so he was just very intrigued. And he goes, Oh, may I ask, you know, what?
Chase Chewning: What is that? And so I then told him, What is it? What it is, what they do, why I’m going to specifically work through. I’m in a treatment session for my PTSD and just been really prioritizing my mental health. This man, he was probably mid-late sixties. He almost like stopped the car. He like, turned back to me and looked in in a way that was just like he looked at me as if he knew me.
Chase Chewning: He looked at me as if finally someone looked at him and saw him and knew him. There was just this moment of common ground exchanged. He then began to tell me, You know, I’m now sober for the first time in like over 20 years. He like, show me like, I think he had his like six month chip or something.
Chase Chewning: And he then began to open up to me about how that cost him his marriage and what being addicted to alcohol and these other substances had done to his life. But you know what he’s working on now, The whole rest of the car ride we talked about what he probably was most afraid to talk about. And so that little permission slip of of me opening up about what I’m doing with my life and how I’m working on mental health, especially with another another man, I think.
Chase Chewning: I mean, who knows? I haven’t seen this guy since. Who knows really what happened. But I can just tell you that experience I had in the Uber when he dropped me off, you know, he got the information of the clinic and maybe he might be in pursuit of healing in that way now, or at least got curious about other ways and saw another man, you know, actively in pursuit of serious mental health treatment.
Chase Chewning: But more than that, okay. To talk about it. And so I just want to be okay to talk about it, because the more I talk about it, it it feeds back into me and it helps me immensely. It’s not like better than the whole situation. It’s I’m talking about it because no one else is. It’s truly healing for me.
Chase Chewning: And the more that I voice it out loud, it prompts me for the next thing to work on or the next thing to really focus on keeping. Like anything. The more that we can share what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, why we’re doing it, I think it feeds back into us to want to keep doing it, to keep making it better.
Chase Chewning: But then it opens up channels of communication and even, dare I say, hope for the other person who maybe wants to work on something similar.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I mean, it sounds like you have this amazing gift for being able to connect with people and explain your situations, your struggles in a way that allows them to feel like connected with you and gives them permission to explore their own struggles and voice them aloud. And the thing that I was thinking of, you know, on a personal level, I think the irony of what we do with, you know, because I have this experience with writing, writing my blogs years ago and starting writing blogs years ago and doing social media, and there you have this there’s this ironic situation where we tend to be more intimate and we tend to be more intimate with
Dean Pohlman: our emotions when we’re in like like this situation, like you and me having this conversation here. Whereas like, you know, if I’m hanging up my best friend, we might be talking about something surface level and, you know, not having these conversations here. And so something that I’ve tried doing is, you know, just going to that place with them.
Dean Pohlman: And, you know, it’s on. But, you know, something that I think something that I think I miss is I jump straight to here’s what’s going on with my marriage right now. Instead of like, okay, let’s like let’s talk about some like low to medium intensity things. Absolutely. And like, let’s also do some high intensity things. But like, I think that I think that men you know, you and I discussed this before.
Dean Pohlman: I think that men are so starving for intimacy with other men in a non-sexual way that, like we we crave that so much that we you know, I feel like I don’t need, like, these little doses of, like, connection. I need, like, a gallant, like, I need to like, I like an overload connection.
Chase Chewning: Give me the fire. I’m going to the Times.
Dean Pohlman: Exactly. So, like, I’m going to go there and I even notice the same thing, like trying to have, you know, when I’m. When I’m with my dad. He’s just such a quiet guy, you know, and I’m hanging out with him and we’re just sitting there in silence. And I’m like, I really want to talk about something with you.
Dean Pohlman: But like, I don’t know. I don’t know how I’ve spent 30 years not talking with you, Like, I don’t know how to even begin to have a conversation with you where I talk about like, things that are like that are that are deep. So so first off, I sympathize with that. The other few things that came up as you were talking.
Dean Pohlman: So first off, like we’re probably familiar with the concept of journaling, I’ve talked about journaling a lot. I think it’s amazing. But you talked about recording yourself and then listening back to yourself because that adds a whole depth to.
Chase Chewning: Yeah, yeah.
Dean Pohlman: Because, because you can actually see like the emotion. You can see, you know, I wonder if you even recorded your face while doing it. You can like see the emotion in your face as you’re giving yourself this monologue. And that would be to me, that just seems like it would be an amazing tool to understanding yourself. Like, you know, more so more so than journaling.
Dean Pohlman: I mean, wow, giving clarity to your emotions. It’s so important. And that’s something that you don’t do unless you’re like really trying to do it or you’re doing like a deliberate or a conscious practice to really work on, to really work on exploring yourself. And then the last part of what I was hearing, you are no stranger to doing things that are difficult, right?
Dean Pohlman: I think I think and you know, and I’m no stranger to to working hard to doing difficult workouts. Right. Too, pushing myself in terms of my business. But like, there are things that are hard for us that we that we might not think of as like, oh, like I’m going to be a super brave guy and I’m going to go do you know, I’m going to go explore my emotions and like actually say how I’m feeling.
Dean Pohlman: Like, yes, that isn’t like, you know, to give some Marvel references because my wife and I are currently watching Marvel’s as we were going through the entire Marvel Universe, as we as.
Chase Chewning: We Oh, that’s amazing as well. Like the Internet, write chronological order, you bounce around the movies and stuff.
Dean Pohlman: I hope so. I hope we’re going in the right order. I don’t know. We’re on. We’re on, Captain. No, we’re on Avengers Civil War right now.
Chase Chewning: So. Captain America. Civil War. Yeah.
Dean Pohlman: Captain. Thank you, Captain America.
Chase Chewning: That’s one of my favorites. So got to.
Dean Pohlman: That’s a good one. But we are. Oh, God. I lost. I lost my spot, But, like, wait, what was I say? But the point is, like, we avoided me saying that is.
Chase Chewning: Like leaning into, like, hard things. No changes. Oh, yeah.
Dean Pohlman: So, yeah, so, like, it’s we think of bravery as, like Captain America, right? Like saving the day, like doing something like risking physical harm. But the other form of bravery is like doing something like leaning into an emotion that makes you uncomfortable. Like that’s where there is. There’s not a lot of opportunity for most of us on a daily basis to lean into bravery, to save someone like who’s who, just who just fell off a bridge into a water or like, yeah, you know, like rushing into, you know, a war zone to try and save a child.
Dean Pohlman: But there are opportunities for bravery to express our emotions. And that’s not what we typically see as something that’s that’s masculine or is like the you know, that’s what’s going to make me feel really good about myself. But ultimately, that is the area of opportunity for most typical men. Most traditional men is like getting into those emotions and saying something that is scary.
Dean Pohlman: You’re not sure how people are going to respond. You’re not sure what they’re going to think of you. You know, for me, like I’m always I’m someone who like like if I cried at a movie, my wife would look at me, be like, what is wrong with you right now? Like, what’s happening? And every Pixar movie makes me tear up.
Dean Pohlman: I love movies.
Chase Chewning: They all have their they tug on the heartstrings like crazy, man.
Dean Pohlman: They know what they’re doing. It’s an entertaining movie for kids and it’s like tugging at the heartstrings for adults. But like, there is so much internal resistance to me. Like feeling those emotions and exploring, like actually giving in to those emotions is a form of bravery that I think most men can really benefit from. So that’s that’s what that’s what came up to me as you were, as you were talking.
Dean Pohlman: And I think you had some really awesome points.
Chase Chewning: Thank you. Thank you, Dean. And, you know, really to kind of your last point there when talking about bravery and our experience or lack thereof experience, doing hard things, jumping into uncertain situations, whether that’s, you know, a war zone or a burning building or just uncharted territory in your life, in your job, in your relationship. For me personally, how I think I got a leg up with bravery and courage and what was quite literally imprinted on me for years was those things are easier when I have an unshakable foundation of trust.
Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.
Chase Chewning: What I mean by that is I, i.
Dean Pohlman: I, I feel fearless.
Chase Chewning: I feel like in 99.9, 9% of situations that life can throw my way and I mean that quite literally in any situation. I sure might get stressed, might get frazzled, might get worried, but there is an unshakable level of trust in myself, in my environment, in the tools that I have, and the people that I surround myself with, that allows me to be brave, to be courageous because of my time in the military.
Chase Chewning: I really had no other choice in basic training and in my years of active duty. And, you know, in every scenario, you know, real world or training that I saw my actions really were fueled by two things, which ultimately is still one thing. But the trust that I had in the men and women to the left and right of me, also coupled with the trust in the equipment that we were using, and then, you know, their trust in me and then knowing that I trusted them.
Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.
Chase Chewning: And so, I mean, a really simple example was, you know, we would go into the gas chamber to test all of our, you know, I call it MOPP gear, basically our gas mask. And all of this gas warfare equipment. And you go in, you go in and everything and you’re fine. You know, it’s weird. It’s I’ve never been in a gas chamber before.
Chase Chewning: I’m breathing. Sure, it’s a little bit more stressful. It’s, you know, it’s fine. It’s okay, but I’m not dying. And then what they have you do is they have you take all your mop gear off. They have you remove the gas masks so that you know what that feels like, does not feel good for quite a while. But what that does is give you an unshakable level of trust in having your equipment on you, knowing how to use it, how to apply it.
Chase Chewning: So there’s this trust developed with this thing that I know it’s purpose and its purpose when I treat it and I respect it correctly and I service it and I maintain it and I honor and nurture that relationship just like with the guy or the girl to the left or right of me. You know, they’re going through the same training as me.
Chase Chewning: They have the same weapons qualifications as me. They, you know, have the same skill sets that I do so that it doesn’t really matter if the shit hits the fan or how worried are scared. I get it’s because their responsibility is, you know, they’re never going to leave me behind and they know that about me as well. So it’s this level of trust that I do feel like gave me kind of this leg up that, you know, no matter how many times I’ve been on the range in a gas chamber jumping out of an airplane, you know, shooting or being shot at or, you know, anything like that, I have had that level of trust
Chase Chewning: in other people, them in me. And quite frankly, like, thank God I’m still here. So no matter what, I have been through it to the smallest level, the smallest stressor, to the most extreme death defying life, challenging one, I did not die. I might have walked away with a few bumps and bruises and or in my case, some significant injuries.
Chase Chewning: But, you know, I’m thankfully here alive. Nothing that I went through to date 37 years later has killed me. And I think to quote one of my favorite stoics, this applies to a lot of us, you know, outside of the military in everyday life. Seneca says that we suffer far more in our imaginations than in reality.
Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.
Chase Chewning: And not to discredit anyone, you know, with, you know, anxiety or just, you know, whatever. But if we really get real with ourselves, we are suffering for far too long in our own minds unnecessarily. I believe, then is actually happening in real life how many times I would get on the other side of that, that trying situation and go, oh shit like that.
Chase Chewning: It wasn’t that bad. Like, okay, of course that’s hindsight, but like I’m not dead. I have gone through this experience. I now have this knowledge. I also have this trust with myself, with my equipment, with the tools at my disposal, with the people that I went through this with. That needs to always be a part of the equation and to bring it back to what we were talking about here.
Chase Chewning: I think for a lot of guys, we might have the right tools or we’re developing them. You know, hopefully this conversation is one of them to, you know, to and for ourselves, but also a part of that equation and part of the tools is other guys there. There are so many things in life that, you know, how many times do our wives or, you know, other girls or sisters or moms or whatever, you know, they lean that they’ve got their their girlfriends, they’ve got this group, they’ve got the support group, they’ve got that that that camaraderie.
Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.
Chase Chewning: Guys, unless we’re on the police force in the fire department, you know, in the military or in some kind of like very heightened, stressful experience, a lot of us don’t have that.
Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.
Chase Chewning: That’s no one else’s reason other than, like us not cultivating and curating those relationships, not leaning into, you know, there’s these couple of guys in my life that we do kind of have these conversations. So let me have the courage to lean into that more and maybe open up more or invite them. You know, let’s create a small men’s group.
Chase Chewning: Let’s let’s do something more than just, you know, pound beer and watch the game, which is a great stepping stone into maybe something meaningful. But I’m all for let’s normalize meaningful small talk, let’s normalize meaningful, you know, meaningful get togethers that can be more than just, you know, the typical stuff that a lot of guys do. We think that is bonding.
Chase Chewning: We think that is quality, meaningful time. And I’m not knocking it. It’s just because I’m not really a big sports guy. But like, look, just getting quality time with other guys is a stepping stone, you know? You know, how do you how do you hit a PR in the gym? How do you deadlift, you know, £405? You start with the bar, you know, so you got to work your way up.
Chase Chewning: We need to develop. We need to trust ourselves. We need to trust the process. We need to trust, develop, trust and nurture. Trust, Trust isn’t just a thing that you get and you have it takes maintenance just like every other tool and asset I was talking about in the military. We need to develop and nurture and maintain meaningful relationships and trust with other men so that we get that reciprocated.
Chase Chewning: This is almost like a selfish thing, but you need it. I need it. I need to let you know that I care about you. I need to let you know that you can trust me so that we can kind of gauge and grow together. That I’m also getting that in return. There’s just something so unique about this trust process and and opening up that is so unique to the guy experience that I think a lot of us are missing or not getting regularly enough that feeds into it is a massive part of the the the the recipe the formula for male specifically male mental health that I think if a guy listening right now gets
Chase Chewning: very real and honest with themselves as to maybe doing a lot of these things, but you don’t have this and you’re still kind of feeling short of that threshold, You’re falling short maybe of your own personal goals, your personal measure for success and happiness. I’d be willing to bet that this might be the missing thing.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, the last time that I had a really, you know what I’m thinking of? I didn’t actually. I was in the military for. I did Army ROTC for a year. I was on the way. I was at school. Yeah, I was at Airborne school for I did airborne camp and for all.
Chase Chewning: The way.
Dean Pohlman: I did. And that was that was where I learned, you know, you were talking about the gas masks. But honestly, when I was at airborne school, I was convinced that I could jump out of a plane. And as long as I use the proper technique and my parachute didn’t deploy, I would just roll and I’d be fine like I was.
Dean Pohlman: That’s that was that is a.
Chase Chewning: Level of trust that I’m talking about. That is that you can’t that that’s amazing, man. Like you can’t explain that it’s just it’s a knowing but you had to do that yourself for.
Dean Pohlman: Yourself right There was so there was so little sleep and there were so many times where we practice, you know, the proper, the proper whatever landing. Have you had.
Chase Chewning: Your knees recovered from the airborne shuffle?
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Yeah. I honestly I was, I was luckily fine from that. I think the more what the Yeah. I wasn’t a fan of like you know running long distances and in combat boots that was. Yeah.
Chase Chewning: With like this.
Dean Pohlman: Like I had the standard issue I didn’t like by the good ones. So like I had just like standard issue combat the combat boots that were like, you know, terrible. Yeah, I was young.
Chase Chewning: I made that mistake telling you, you got to level up a pair of boots.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I was young enough that I got away with it, but, you know, I don’t want to talk too much about that because I’m not like I only did, like, one year of ROTC. I got the Airborne, but You.
Chase Chewning: Got that experience. You got that. That was awesome. You did hard things.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And the other experience that I had that for me, the really big experience where I was with other, you know, other men or I guess we could say boys was the my experience with sports, you know, that was like my, that was like the that was probably the last time that I really had like a regular interaction, like on multiple times per week with a group of men.
Dean Pohlman: So when I was in college, you know, I had a few I had a few guy friends from my lacrosse team through Team Israel lacrosse team that I really hung out with. You know, I lived with a couple of the guys. And then when we went out, you know, when we had fun, like it was with those same.
Chase Chewning: Guys, same group. Yeah.
Dean Pohlman: You know, so we’re seeing each other like, you know, seven times a week. And and then I moved to Austin and, you know, I had guy friends here a lot. And what really changed was when I, you know, when I met my now wife and we started hanging out a lot more, there was less and less interaction with groups of men.
Dean Pohlman: You know, I, I thought that, like, I don’t know what I if I had to put my finger on like, what I, I guess it doesn’t matter really what the end result was, I wasn’t hanging out with men as much and I should have prioritized that more. I shouldn’t have thought I shouldn’t have I shouldn’t have avoided doing that because I thought it would make my wife think that I loved her less because I was hanging out with other men.
Dean Pohlman: And I think that’s a huge plus. Yeah And I think that as men partner up or get married, they hang out less and less with groups of men. And then when you have kids, you hang out with groups of men even less So like, you know, this is something that this is something that is and this is something I had.
Dean Pohlman: I had this conversation with Alex Holmes, who is a he’s a British journalist who focuses on on men’s health. He has a book called the book is Escaping Me right Now, But he has a whole book on on men’s mental well-being and talks about all these trends and why men don’t have, you know, optimal levels of mental well-being.
Dean Pohlman: And big thing that he said is like, yeah, after men get married, they tend to like drop off their male relationship. It’s just like totally drop off because they’re spending time with their partners are spending time, which.
Chase Chewning: Totally makes sense. Like an absolutely, there’s going to be a shift. There’s going to be a shift.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And there is there’s going to be a shift. But, you know, I think the I think the the right thing to do or what we should be doing is we should also prioritize, you know, having those having those guide times like, you know, don’t make it like don’t be an asshole, don’t like make guy weekend or Yeah go out and get shitfaced and then you go to the bars and you like you’re a terrible husband, but like, you know, you could do other things.
Dean Pohlman: You can go hiking together. You can like that was, that was a lot of my bachelor party. I took us up to like a I took us up to a Bear Lake, Utah. Like, no, no, like nothing whatsoever. But we were in a cabin. It was just us. It was bro time. It was fantastic, you know?
Chase Chewning: So and then I think they’re you’re hitting on some really great points, man. I want to go back to what you’re saying about not having you know, we don’t prioritize that as much as maybe we get older or, you know, as we get into a long term meaningful, committed relationship or marriage or partnership or whatever a couple of things come to mind for me that have really helped me not lose touch of of that or with that in my marriage and is something that I think is has another underlying issue that potentially holds a lot of detriment to partnerships in marriages and especially yourself as resentment.
Chase Chewning: But first, I think there’s a way there’s a better way to go about it. There’s a better way to go about it of that can support both bro time, meaningful quality guy time, and can support a meaningful relationship or partnership or marriage at the same time, we need to get away from what we believe or has been the model for so long as the standard typical outlet for getting guy time.
Chase Chewning: What I mean by that is it’s viewed, at least in my experience and my perspective of the world, it’s views viewed as we need to go hit the golf course, we need to go to a game, we need to go to a bar, we need to we need to get away from our wives. We need to get away from our relationship.
Chase Chewning: We need to get away. I don’t think that perspective serves us because what are we really saying there? If I need to carve out time to go hang out with you, Dean, and some other guys, because I need to get away from my life, my, my marriage, my relationship, what I’m saying is like, I’m not happy here. If we want to get away from anything, like we need to escape it, why is it really that bad?
Chase Chewning: Like, why is it bad? Why do we feel that need to run away from something that we have chosen? And I think our life partner, our our, our spouse, that is the most important decision we will ever make. So ultimately, what does that saying about our choice, our decision, if that is dean, if that is not the most important person, if that is not the most important choice you have ever made in your life, you’re choosing to get away from that.
Chase Chewning: I would challenge you to revisit the choices you’re making in your life, right? That might be something like going on.
Dean Pohlman: If you’re saying get away, you know that not only is that bad for you because you’re you’re looking at your life as something that you don’t like and you need to get away from. Like, how does that make your spouse feel? Right. Exactly. If that’s what’s going on in your head, how does that make your partner feel when you’re like, guy time?
Dean Pohlman: I need to get away for like a few hours, Like.
Chase Chewning: I need to get some.
Dean Pohlman: Time. So what’s the alternative? Like, how do you what’s, what’s your role?
Chase Chewning: What happens for for us is, is just really it comes down to effective communication. It’s, you know, hey, I don’t present it as, you know, hey, there’s mandatory guys night or hey, we’re going to do whatever whenever wherever it’s you know, usually prompted by, you know, I haven’t seen my I haven’t seen Daryl Colin, Philippe a max. I haven’t seen all these guys in my life.
Chase Chewning: You know, in a little while, babe, I think we’re going to plan a little trip. You know, I’ve been connect with them since the wedding, since our last trip, you know, getting more in tune with exactly how I feel and what is the truth. Instead of just going to surface level, I got to get away. Service level, bro time, guys.
Chase Chewning: And I. It’s just. And I’d be willing to bet especially, you know, if you’re a guy married to a woman, you know, or any partner I should say, really would appreciate more genuine communication. How much more how much better with that conversation go, Dean, if you began to talk to your wife about how you were feeling or why maybe you haven’t seen these guys in a little while, what’s going on in their lives that you’re curious about what’s going on in your life that you want to share with them?
Chase Chewning: And this could just be like an extra sentence or two if we just open up a little bit more to our partners as to the truth, what is going on, the frequency and frequency and meaning behind wanting to get together. I would be willing to bet that conversation would go a lot smoother. We would be met with a lot less potential friction or stress or, you know, resistance to why do you want to go out with them?
Chase Chewning: You always want to do this. You just want only wanting to leave. You’re leaving me here with the baby, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’d be willing to bet a little bit more. Open communication would go a long way, and you’ll find that there’s no need to lie. There’s no need to get away. And you actually can get rewarded for opening up to how you actually feel and why you want to do something.
Chase Chewning: What that does then is me. By communicating, making my communication better makes my, you know, me checking in with me better, but then also prompts me to have an actual intention going in to hanging out with these guys instead of running away from home and just escaping to wherever we can meet up. You know what the closest, you know, has the best happy hour or whatever.
Chase Chewning: I’m actually going into that experience much more clear of why and how I’m feeling. I just told my wife, I told myself it’s been X amount of days, X amount of months, X amount of years since I’ve seen this person. You know why this person is so meaningful to me? Why I want to reconnect with them, what we’re what we’re going to do, that I then go into that experience with an intention.
Chase Chewning: And I think anything we do in life, if we have even just the tiniest bit of intention and awareness as to why we are stepping into it and what we hope to get out of it, you are going to get something out of it. Beyond going into an experience just being present. Not to say that’s not totally true, but if you go into something with This is my intention, odds are you going to walk away fulfilling that intention.
Chase Chewning: And also what I think happens here long term when we go about things and the other way of just escaping and getting away without intention, without proper communication is months, years later, we are just feeding resentment. We are feeding like, do you know how many times the guys asked me to go out and I didn’t? Do you know how many times I wanted to stay out and, you know, you know, just stay out later or do something different or, you know, how many things I turned down because I knew you wouldn’t let me or I you know, you wouldn’t want me to go away from the baby or the move or whatever.
Chase Chewning: That’s not fair to us or to them. What we are doing by denying communication just a minor level of communication and intention setting is we’re feeding resentment. And resentment is something that just boils up and spills over and and just poisons and ruins so many relationships or is just going to cause an unnecessary blow up in my experience that we can get ahead of by doing exactly what I’m talking about now.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I mean, that, that, that hits hard with me. I know Marissa and Marissa and my wife and I, when we first met, when we had a first child, there was a ton of resentment between us that we really had to, you know, we really had to we really had to go in detail. We really had to like, you know, we I’m quite open about this, but I have a I have a behavioral, you know, behavioral cognitive behavioral therapist.
Dean Pohlman: So I see a psychologist once a week myself. And starting probably a couple of years ago, my wife and I started seeing the couple’s counselor, not because like we were like, Oh shit, this marriage is like ending. If we don’t see someone like, Hey, I would like to have a nice marriage, would you like to have like a C plus marriage or do you want to have like an A-plus marriage?
Chase Chewning: Great for you guys.
Dean Pohlman: And that’s where like, you know, to me, that was what couples counseling would help with. But during those conversations, we, you know, we uncovered just how much resentment we had that we were that we were hiding that where you’re hiding. And this goes back to what you and I were talking about earlier in suppressing emotions, because I suppress my you know, I suppress emotion because I don’t want to bring up things that potentially could potentially make my partner upset.
Dean Pohlman: But in so doing, I am building up resentment for myself. So by not expressing that, I’m making things worse. And it took me a while to and I’m still it’s still something that I struggle with on a weekly basis. But I have to look at, you know, my discontent or like my, you know, my frustrations, not as something to cover up because I don’t want to make somebody upset, but instead is something that I need to express because if I don’t, I am, you know, building up this resentment, which is going to to make, you know, make my partner upset.
Dean Pohlman: And the and the I think what really holds, you know, what’s really tough is, is getting to the point or having the courage to be able to say those things and and meet that initial response, which is like, oh, no, it’s like it’s it’s just what I thought it was going to be. She’s upset, but if you keep going, if you keep having that difficult conversation, eventually you’ll get to the point where, oh, this is like the real emotion that’s behind it.
Dean Pohlman: This is like what’s really happening. It’s not that you want to get away. It’s that you need you need this other thing or, you know, so.
Chase Chewning: You know, judgment. That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I mean, but that’s but that’s really hard to do. Takes a lot of courage and it’s something that, like, it doesn’t get easier, you know, at least we kind of have done this enough times where we do have the, you know, we you know that we’ve done this in the past and hopefully, you know, that I think the initial fear for me was like, if I have this conversation, she is going to divorce me like this is to it’s going to like go to yeah, we.
Chase Chewning: We jumped to like the worst case scenario, right.
Dean Pohlman: Which is totally.
Chase Chewning: Whether we’ve been there before and you know, we’ve been burned by relationships before, you know, maybe, maybe someone did divorces or break breakup with us before. But you know what? You have to look at it as, yeah, that would have ended if you sharing what was truly on your mind, truly on your heart and presented in a non hurtful way, a respectful form of communication if that resulted in that other person leaving.
Chase Chewning: Of course that’s no fun. That’s going to hurt. But I’m going to tell you right now that person was going to leave. It’s just a matter of time. Here is your opportunity to deepen and to nurture. First and foremost, the relationship, saying you. But you know, anyone listening here with the same concept deepen and nurture the relationship of relationship with trust you have with yourself first, because what you’re doing right there is you’re teaching yourself that I can trust my emotions.
Chase Chewning: I can trust this instinct, I can trust this thing inside of me enough to to share out loud with myself, but also with this person that I have made this ultimate choice with to share my life with. And if that is not the container for expressing those emotions and those feelings, then I don’t know what is honesty. You know, there’s a totally different unique aspect.
Chase Chewning: I think we can take this and model it and put it, you know, in this concept of of guys relationships as well. I mean, look, if you’ve got your guys, your bro is your homies. If you’ve got, you know, this group of gentlemen that, you know, if you can’t share some stuff like this with, then you know, honestly, there’s no other container that you know, really I think is going to be as meaningful as that.
Chase Chewning: And you would really be surprised you’re going to walk away. And just like I was saying earlier, like I did it, I said it. I shared it. And you know what? I didn’t die. My you know, my guys didn’t leave me. My wife didn’t leave me. My partner didn’t leave me. It takes this level of personal trust first for us to be able to continuously apply courage and to learn that we’re going to be safe and okay with ourselves and with these partners as well.
Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm. And, you know, I found that the more that I have these conversations that I’m so afraid of, those are the opportunities that make your relationship stronger. Like, I actually I even do this now, but I. I don’t think I seek out conflict deliberately, but I shy away from or I, I sense when I’m shying away from a conversation good.
Chase Chewning: Somebody you don’t know my.
Dean Pohlman: Life and I’m like, I’m shying away from this like I’m there’s something that’s like, hold me back. Like I’m spending energy not having this difficult conversations.
Chase Chewning: Coach Man huge.
Dean Pohlman: Question, really. If I have this conversation not only in my freeing up like mental and emotional energy, but I’m also it’s this is also an opportunity for me to have a deep relationship with this person that I am struggling with. And this isn’t just with my wife. This is also with like my team members. Like if I have if I’m having like a tiff with my web developer and I’m like, I know that I’m like, why am I not talking with them directly right now?
Dean Pohlman: I’m going to call him because like, we need to work through this or like, I notice that like my, my SEO hasn’t had like a really isn’t is behaving a certain way. I’m like, I recognize this pattern. He’s not sharing something with me. I need to call him and get him to tell him what’s on my mind so that we can work through this.
Chase Chewning: So we need more need more friends like humanity. That’s a huge realization. I mean, and what you’re doing, this is what I love about self work, self-development. All the stuff we’ve been talking about here is that the more often we do it with ourselves and for ourselves, it not only makes ourselves I want to say better, but we get closer and closer and closer to the version of ourselves that I think we all truly innately know is in there.
Chase Chewning: We’re just shedding the layers that no longer serve us, and we’re learning how to step into our truth and speak our truth because we now know how what it felt, what it feels like. But then you also get this other side of it that you pick up on in other people. You pick up on these mannerisms and feelings and quirks and facial expressions and tonality and even verbiage and language, you know, spoken or in text or email, whatever that I’m sure you’re talking about here, that you can really peel through the veil and go, It is not about this thing, it is something else.
Chase Chewning: It’s something behind it. This this emotion, this lack of trust or safety they are feeling that is causing them to speak and act in a way. And I know this because I’ve been there. I recognize this because the more that I recognize things in myself that I’m working on and shedding, the better and more often I can work or I can recognize and share these things with other people.
Chase Chewning: And I’m sure, man, that’s got to make your communication then with your SEO and your developer actually efficient and fruitful instead of just to, you know, if it’s another guy, you know, just being machismo and just like throwing egos around and one party trying to be right over the other, that’s not going to serve serve either one. And so, I mean, I think that that is a level of masculinity that a lot of guys probably don’t recognize or respect enough to to practice enough because we might, you know, think it’s too soft, it’s too gentle.
Chase Chewning: You know, I’m you know, my masculinity is maybe being challenged by, you know, my or acting in a way or thinking he they whatever. I can get away with this. No, I promise you. Like, there is a necessity in this initial softness of masculinity that is very firm and is very present and is very rock solid. It doesn’t have to look like or feel like anything else.
Chase Chewning: Maybe we think it needs to look like or feel like it needs to look like and feel like us. And what does masculinity feel like in us and how can we accurately and efficiently share that information so that we can be present as our full male masculine selves so that it does the same thing for another guy? You know, guys, humans mirror other humans.
Chase Chewning: And so if this man, you know, is acting in a way and standing firm, but, you know, but being very particular with his language and as being rock solid and his values and what he needs and wants but has a gentleness and now he is saying it, that man, that is an incredible model for all of us other guys out there.
Dean Pohlman: Mm. Yeah. You know, a big reason why I kind of started this podcast was I think we needed to start thinking about masculinity in a different way, like not just the, not just like the hard aspects of masculinity, like grit, determination and hard work, like stoicism, but also like the, the other aspects of masculinity. And not just because it will make us, not just because it will make us not only will it make us more effective men, but it will also help us be healthier, happier, more fulfilled.
Dean Pohlman: You know, I think there’s this idea that we can we can reach our levels of happiness that we want by doing, you know, subconsciously, by doing the things that we’ve, again, subconsciously learned, which is, you know, get the partner that you get the amazing partner, get the awesome job, make a lot of money, and you’re all, you know, get the perfect body and then you’ll be set right and you know, and then people get there and we’re like, Oh, you know what?
Dean Pohlman: This doesn’t feel like. This doesn’t feel as good as I thought it would. Yeah.
Chase Chewning: So it’s really I don’t know, I this analogy of a sponge part of my mind, but what you’re just talking about kind of prompted this picture. You know, we really are kind of like the two sided sponge, you know, like, have you washing your dishes and, you know, you need that that hard, abrasive Brillo.
Dean Pohlman: Men don’t wash dishes.
Chase Chewning: I’m telling you, if you want your marriage to go better, you wash them damn dishes. Oh, I.
Dean Pohlman: Wash lots of dishes. I’m the best. Yeah.
Chase Chewning: I had this guest on recently. He blew my mind with this thing called chore play. Think of all the chores. You know, non typical foreplay. It’s all chore play, you know, you helping out the dishes. This is chore play. I love that concept. But, you know, we we do need it. Both need to exist. Both do exist. It’s just a matter of which side which version needs to be used right now.
Chase Chewning: Do we need to be hard, rough, tough, abrasive exteriors? Because that is what the job demands or knowing that it’s okay to just, you know, flip over to our other side and just, you know, relax a little bit and, you know, we can still get the job done. Absolutely. But we can go about it maybe in a softer way, in a more delicate way.
Chase Chewning: Maybe it might take a little bit longer. But you know what? We’re going for the long haul here. We’re playing the long game. We’re not trying to just scrub something down to its core as fast as possible. Both sides do exist. Masculinity is not just rough, tough, hard all the time. It is this knowing that we have the ability to lean into both sides of that all versions, and we can still get it done.
Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm. So something I wanted to ask, ask you and something that I had. I asked my last guest, you know, you being in military, the last guest we had is a doctor. What’s something that, you know, people don’t understand about people who are either active or passed service men or women that would help us have better empathy with them or that you as a, you know, former, you know.
Chase Chewning: Former army. Yeah.
Dean Pohlman: What would what’s something that we would would be helpful for the general population to know that they probably don’t recognize.
Chase Chewning: Man what a powerful question. I have so many things going through my mind right now. A couple of things maybe I to say a couple of quick things. We tend for the most part to do better with very specific instructions. You know, we’re used to getting orders. We’re used to a chain of command. We’re used to. Yes, sir.
Chase Chewning: No, sir, Yes, ma’am, No, ma’am. You know, clear expectations, clear rules of engagement, if you will, and also very clear markers for success. You know, this is what success looks like. This is what, you know, we’re willing to to sacrifice or this is, you know, what? You know, anything kind of look like to get along the way to that success.
Chase Chewning: And my wife, sometimes she’ll flat out say, like Sergeant Chewning, like, listen, pay attention. You know, it’s kind of like dial me in. Probably sometimes we just need it Just hey, instead of just big picture stuff, I hope you would pick up on this and I hope you would do this. It’s. I need this done by this time at this place, you know, And it needs to look like this when hear that information, I get it.
Chase Chewning: I’m like, okay, cool. I can lock in. And like, I got it.
Dean Pohlman: I just saw this. I saw this gift last week or a couple of weeks ago that said, if your wife says something like, Hey, whenever you get a chance, can you do this? She actually means if you don’t do this within the next 5 seconds, you’re in trouble. I’m like that, is accurate. Yeah. Good.
Chase Chewning: Q Good cue as well. And you know, another thing I want to say, I’m trying to prioritize all the things fall into my head, but I’ll say for the most part in my experience, and I served oh three to oh nine but I think really anybody that has served honestly in the past years we have had.
Dean Pohlman: A.
Chase Chewning: Lot of expectations fall short. We have been through a lot, some more than others. We have been through some experiences and such a unique time in American history and such a unique time in world history that has, I think, made a lot of us feel some kind of way in terms of not to get super political or dogmatic, but like, what are we fighting for?
Chase Chewning: Why did why did I serve my country? Or this isn’t the mission that I signed up for. This isn’t the country I signed up for or, you know, I’ve been, you know, scorned. You know, I gave so much, you know, what’s the phrase? All gave some, some gave all. And I think that is, you know, always going to be true for the military, whether you’re at war and peace.
Chase Chewning: But you just basically I’m trying to say is we’ve been through a lot. And for a lot of us in those experiences, whether you’re in for a few years or for like 20 and retire, we need and want. A lot of us just have a hard time asking for it. We need and want help. We need and want to, not have this harsh view of the world or this harsh view on reality.
Chase Chewning: We need and want really the next mission and a lot of a struggle with asking for that. A lot of us struggle with asking for help around that. A lot of us struggle with a transition from military life to civilian life again. And it’s because of a lot of these experiences that we’ve had and more specifically, you know, being shuttled around and especially when it comes to our health like the medical system, you know, the service levels, great, We get free health care.
Chase Chewning: But basically, I can’t tell you how many times I get passed off from one primary care provider to another. And I got to retell my entire life story or they haven’t looked at a record or, you know, we just get subpar treatment or whatever and that that.
Dean Pohlman: It.
Chase Chewning: Grows in us a certain level of distrust with a lot of people and feeling like you’re not going to stick around, you don’t really care about me. So we were latching on to wanting to continue and serve in a certain way and have purpose and meaning in life. But a lot of times the experiences we’ve had don’t allow that to happen because, you know, we’ve been passed off, we’ve been shuttled around and we don’t have that team of brothers and sisters.
Chase Chewning: Hmm I think the biggest throughline we’ve had this entire conversation, I’m just going to say brotherhood here for what we’re talking about, but I’ve had some incredible relationships, lifelong friendships now with with women I’ve served with. But, you know, guys like once we don’t have that anymore. It really does take a number on us. It really does affect us in a way I don’t think a lot of us fully realize.
Chase Chewning: And so that’s ultimately what we’re after. And detach from the military aspect here. I think I’ll make the argument that that’s really what we’re all after. We’re all after having meaning in life. We’re all acting. We’re all after having purpose and mission. We’re all after having meaningful relationships and human connection all along the way. It’s just we come packaged in a different way because for years we were taught one thing.
Chase Chewning: We lived a certain way, and then all of a sudden, quite literally overnight, that’s gone. That’s totally different. And so it’s a struggle and a lot of us are struggling, really jarring. Yet I think the number one problem affecting service members now is the transition from active duty, from serving in the military, going back to civilian life. Because when you think about it, you know, I enlisted, right?
Chase Chewning: So I went to boot camp for a couple of months. You know, all the officers, they go through certain forms of training, you know, usually over a couple of years, a couple, you know, weekend here, a week there kind of thing. But, you know, we spend a long time, I’m going to say, know, enlist for my experience. I spent months, months transitioning from civilian way of thinking and living to military way of thinking and living.
Chase Chewning: I was quite literally it was drilled into me for months and months and months, and then to get out, they probably spent about maybe three days of just like sign up for this course out process there, make sure you know how to build a resumé, get your, you know, medical records so you can get health care. That’s about it.
Chase Chewning: There’s no like downshifting from military way of thinking back civilian way of thinking and acting and talking and verbiage and, you know, even experience the way that it is from civilian into military. And that is a huge detriment. I, I got out in 2009. I talk to people now transitioning out now that they’re they have the same problems, the same points.
Chase Chewning: Their struggles were my struggles back then and like, it’s been so long, we’re still dealing with these issues. So I know I probably went all over there with question because there are just so many places to go with that question. But ultimately we want meaning, we want purpose, we want direction, we want to serve, but we want to know that we have trusted people around us along the way.
Chase Chewning: We want to know that we’re we’re doing something supporting a mission. But we have people who have our backs along the way because that ultimately is a huge issue with the transition stuff as well, is that we just we lose that brotherhood, that sisterhood, that camaraderie, you know, this sensation and knowing of trust that, hey, I have people to the left and right of me that if it hits the fan in any capacity, they’ve got my back no matter what.
Chase Chewning: I’m not getting left behind. And we just don’t have that. We don’t have that in the civilian world.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. No, I appreciate you sharing that with me. That’s a yeah, that sounds like it’s that sounds like it’s difficult. I don’t know what else to say. And it.
Chase Chewning: Is. And it’s some unfortunately it’s too difficult for a lot of people too of my I call them brothers two of my closest closest relationships and friends ever to brothers that I served with that was just too much for them to bear. And, you know, once they got out, they unfortunately hit the statistic and, you know, of the unfortunate count of service members that we lose to suicide.
Chase Chewning: And they both took their own lives. And it’s just quite literally the last conversations I had with them were around. I have no meaning. I have no purpose like civilian life. Like, what am I doing? It’s just I’m not supported. I can’t go on. And then, you know, they feel like that burden is too much to bear and they took their own lives.
Chase Chewning: And I know they’re not alone. Unfortunately, this is something that happens every damn day.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, it’s 20 a day, right?
Chase Chewning: To 22.
Dean Pohlman: 22 day. Wow.
Chase Chewning: That’s 20 to 22 suicides a day. By you. And there’s.
Dean Pohlman: A there’s.
Chase Chewning: How many veterans?
Dean Pohlman: There’s like two or 3 million. There’s like two, 2 million people in the army or, or across all armed forces. Like, what’s the total number of active.
Chase Chewning: Oh, I’m not sure right now. I can tell you right now we can do a quick fact check, I guess. But we got.
Dean Pohlman: To Google this current number of active servicemen and us. Okay. There’s 500,000 people in the U.S. That’s just the Army, though. So you out of the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines and.
Chase Chewning: Yeah, that’s just each branch.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So there’s over I mean that’s just think that’s like, you know, one mil I don’t know. Let’s just say it’s 2 million out of 300 million people. That’s whatever one in 150 people or whatever it is, it’s a lot of people go into too many.
Chase Chewning: It’s too many. And in my opinion, the the root cause of someone who chooses to take their own life, I don’t know if I ever fully understand, but I would argue that I think majority is is there was mental health is a poor mental health state. And I do believe for a lot of military members and a lot of men in the military, that reasoning is what I just shared, that brotherhood is gone, that that trust is gone, that that meaning and purpose is gone, that next mission is gone.
Chase Chewning: And when you go year after year after year, some people, you know, 15, 20 years of that being your truth and knowing that level of trust is there to just quite literally the next day you sign out and as a gone.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: That’s a it’s a mind fuck man and it’s a very harsh that I I’m very grateful for the situation in which that I went through that I transitioned out of the military like I, I suffered some really gnarly injuries, career ending injuries that ultimately my last about a year and a half we talked about this a lot in the last episode, but the last year and a half of my military career, of my six years, I was a patient and I was in a very special medical hold unit just getting surgeries and rehabilitating.
Chase Chewning: But I had about 15 months basically, to kind of come to terms with not only is my life totally different now, but my career is over.
Dean Pohlman: And.
Chase Chewning: I was already deemed non deployable, which means you’re just going to heal and we’re going to kick you out. So I knew the end was coming, so I had about a 15 month transition of just kind of wrapping my head around that before I actually got to like the three days I was sharing of what they actually do to transition you out.
Chase Chewning: That is, you know, not everybody gets. And so I kind of felt like I had a unique situation. And what I went through definitely really sucked. But, you know, I’m very grateful that I was able to wrap my head around that sooner. A lot of other people, because I do believe that helped my transition in a big way so that when I did sign out for the last time and I left base for the last time and I drove back home that I was already partially assimilated back to civilian life and way of thinking and living and acting that that has really serves me.
Chase Chewning: Because when I talk to other service members that do have that day, one day I’m in, one day I’m out kind of thing, we’re radically different, radically different. And so for that, I’m very grateful.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, Well, thanks for sharing that with me and helping us better understand the same things that you know, you and your your fellow brothers have been going through and sisters have been going through. So on that note, I think that was just this was an awesome conversation. I think we’ve gone through a lot of you know, we shared a lot of common experiences that I think a lot of men are having.
Dean Pohlman: But we also talked about a lot of ways and practices we could to work on those things. So hopefully this, you know, if you’re listening, I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can implement some of these changes in your own life. Hopefully it gives you the bravery to express your emotions, starting first with understanding your own emotions and then being able to articulate to those people intelligent, emotionally, intelligently to people that you trust and ultimately hopefully being able to create stronger connections as a result of that.
Dean Pohlman: Chase What’s what’s what some of the best ways for people to to follow you you know ever forward radio all that stuff.
Chase Chewning: Yeah yeah ever. Ford Radio is my podcast that’s what I do now. I’ve been doing it for a little over six years. So if anything you’ve liked what I’ve been talking about here today from me, I do solo episodes now on the show as well, but primarily it’s interviews with people that are bringing just like leading information and curiosities around physical, mental, emotional, spiritual well-being.
Chase Chewning: All the ways that I do my my brand, it’s called ever forward. It’s this phrase from my late father. And I say, Help us live a life ever forward. And it’s being aware of all these pieces of our pie, not just the physical self, but everything else internally as well. So every forward radio is available anywhere and everywhere You listen or watch podcasts and then Instagram primarily Chase, underscore tuning is where, you know, every day I’m sharing experiences and thoughts just like this.
Chase Chewning: I of say, Instagram is where I, I flesh out all the feelings and emotions and practices and things that I’m going through in my life that I want to share. And then the podcast is where I dive deeper in a longer format, whether you know, solo or with with an expert or a thought leader or a community leader or somebody like that.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, you’re one of those guys. Sometimes I your Instagram story and there’s so many small lines that I’m like, I don’t even know how many stories are here because the lines are so small that like, I don’t know if there’s 50 or 250.
Chase Chewning: I get a little carried away sometimes. Like I said, I like, I like to talk, I like to share. But I’ll say this every thing I put out has an intention behind it. I’m sharing something to show, to show, and to share a very specific piece of information, a resource, a clinical study, a product or service or whatever, or is just literally just me experiencing life.
Chase Chewning: And if you pay attention, even for just 24 hours, you’re going to see why and how everything I share and do stacks up and what it’s doing to support me moving forward in life and being aware of and nurturing relationships and being aware of and nurturing, you know, my physical health, mental health, spiritual health, all of that. It all matters.
Chase Chewning: You know, the human experience is the most, most multifaceted thing I think we can ever look at on planet Earth and to say that we can compartmentalize any of it and that any of it does not contribute to the same level I think is a big shortcoming. So I am a unique human being. You’re a unique human being.
Chase Chewning: Everything you do or don’t do, say or don’t say, eat or Tony or whatever contributes to how you look how you feel, how you show up for yourself and for the world.
Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm. Well, there you got it. You’ve got the the 24 hour chase tuning Instagram challenge role through.
Chase Chewning: Come on by.
Dean Pohlman: Done. Yeah. Experience the full range of human experience as told by Chase tuning guys. Thank you.
Chase Chewning: Coming soon to a theater near you.
Dean Pohlman: That would be a long movie guys thanks for joining me for the better of our podcast too. And again, Chase, as always, thanks so much for joining on and being vulnerable. My pleasure. And sharing, sharing all your thoughts, guys. I hope this inspires you to be a better man and I’ll see you on the next episode.[END]
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