GoodGuySwag.com sat down with actor Ryan Gunnarson, star of the faith-based sports movie Slamma Jamma (now available on DVD). We discussed how he finds and maintains his identity in Hollywood. Many come to Hollywood trying to find their identity in the film industry, but Ryan claims having an identity in faith and community is more important than fame, money, or appearance.
Identity Doesn’t Happen Without Community
Ryan is part of the LA Men’s Group and also leads a group of men that meet weekly. A community is necessary for accountability and motivation. Many men believe they can overcome bad habits, addictions, or any shortcoming on their own. In reality, we need a place we can be fully known.
As a man in Los Angeles, it’s so easy to try to put up a front, put up a wall that you’re ok. But the truth is, we are all hurting in some way,” Gunnarson says. “I can’t stress enough the importance of bringing men around you into those places that you normally wouldn’t talk about….It’s so necessary to bring at least one man into your life. Tell them some things you need to get off your chest…”
In short, men must accept they need help and faith to overcome obstacles in our lives. Equally important: we need community (but not just any group of friends). Community is purposeless unless we’re willing to open our lives and share the shame we often keep hidden. True friendship and community cannot happen without trust. Do you trust your life, your secrets, with anyone?
To sum it up, here are three easy steps you can take if you feel stuck in a rut:
- Find your identity in faith
- Find your identity in community
- Be authentic and vulnerable
I’ve received messages from men who just want to know how to find community. It’s not easy. We have a group of men through GoodGuySwag.com who meet via Google Hangouts (comment below if you are interested), but I’d still highly recommend finding a local group of men.
How to Find Community
Ryan says to start with prayer. You can also find networks in your community. Look for upcoming men’s retreats. Three words he lives by in his life: “From Not For.” Instead of living for something like money, fame, or acceptance, learn to live from a place of acceptance. Live from instead of for something. This shift in mentality is important not only in finding community, but as we’ve previously discussed, in relationships.
In 10 Ways to Win a Girl’s Heart, we discuss “Be. Do. Have.”
Identity isn’t attained through a distorted vision of yourself. It doesn’t come through who you date or what you own. Your possessions or the girl you date and marry do not define you….Good things come out of a clear sense of who you are.”